Pearls of Tumors Draped Inside My Neck
I miss you sometimes. When I finger my scar and realize you are not around anymore, I get a bit sad. After all that has happened these many years, I can remember how my personal hell started.
Well, let me tell you how it all went for me. It started in 1997. Two years out of high school. My mom discovered a strange lump in my neck. I was thinking it was nothing until I looked myself. I didn’t want to go to the doctor but decided to go ahead and go because I used to have a neighbor who had a huge (very huge) lump in his neck and he never had it checked out until too late.
Well, the doctor took a look and tested me by making me drink water and he felt my neck. He told my parents it looks like a tumor and I would need tests. It made me angry and I stormed out of the office but it was killing me while I was outside (also killing me inside) and I started getting terribly upset. When I got home, I went into my room and cried thinking it was cancer. I eventually calmed down. In the next few weeks, I had to go through several tests, sonograms, taking the iodine pill so they can see the size of the thing. Then I went through the terrible biopsy when they shoved three needles into my neck. I didn’t know what to expect and I was there in the room alone with the doctor. I was in hell.
The results did show that the tumor was benign but I had to go through surgery. They told me if I left it in there, it could turn malignant.
That was my very first surgery ever. I thought it would be my last though. The doctor said there was no chance of it coming back. I don’t know if he just said it to make me feel better or he actually thought it would never come back.
A few years later, it came back but there were several more tumors surrounding my thyroid. The nurse who did my sonogram just bluntly said “Oh, your thyroid is so messed up. It has all those lumps.” Since that doctor moved away when I was discovered with more, I had to get to know a new surgeon. He confirmed it was true when he felt my neck and said there were indeed more tumors. More sonograms followed but now I was starting to take levothyroxine. It was working at first until I started feeling the tumors grow.
The new doctor didn’t want to do a surgery so he recommended me to an endocrinologist. Since then, I have been trying to control my tumors with a certain dosage of levothyroxine. All through this pain, I have met someone online when I was discovered with more tumors. (around 2002) He was my support when they told me I had more tumors and I had to raise or lower my medication. Everything was looking fine until 2008.
My boyfriend is from Britain and he came to visit me in Texas for vacation. But during that time, I felt something very wrong. I was tired when I didn’t do anything, had false energy some days, heart beat went faster, irritable on certain days, ate and ate. After my honey left, I went for my usual sonogram and blood tests. When I saw the doctor he told me two more tumors grew and my thyroid no longer worked.
Everything froze in place when he said I needed surgery. It didn’t hit me at first until I started to cry and wouldn’t stop. When I got home, I went into my room and cried even though he reassured me my tumors were benign and surgery will make me feel better. My sweetie just left for home and my world fell apart when the doctor told me the news. I called my sweetie when I was sure he was home and told him. He wanted to come back but I wouldn’t let him. He just got back to work and I didn’t want him in trouble. I told him I loved him and when the time comes, just be home on that day.
The next few months, I had to prepare myself. I had to meet the surgeon and get time off work. On October 16 2008, just before I went into the hospital, I called him and told him I was scared but that I loved him very much. He told me he loved me and will be waiting for my mom to call. I went to the hospital with my parents, was prepped for surgery, and needed something to calm me down because my blood pressure was going up and my heart thudded in my chest. Before they wheeled me in, I sent a text to my sweetie telling him I loved him. He told me he loved me and the only thing I remember was saying bye to my parents and looking at the doctors in the masks and gowns.
When I woke up, I had several bandages on my neck, didn’t want to wake up, wanted to sleep, but the nurses were trying to make me take a medication. I felt horribly sick and got sick literally and fell out of my chair coughing and feeling worse. I threw the medicine cup at those nurses and my mom had to help me back in my chair. The doctor came in and checked to see if I was alright. He gave me good news. He removed my thyroid and all of the tumors are gone. I was to go home that same day to recover more.
When my parents took me home and I went to my bed, the only thing I remember was my mom calling my boyfriend telling him surgery went well and I am now asleep. After a few weeks, the surgeon checked me and said that I should be much better now and the stitches will soon dissolve.
What I hate though is when morons start staring at your neck when it looks like Jack the Ripper slit your throat. I covered my stitches with a scarf and eventually they dissolved.
When I next saw my endocrinologist, he was very pleased that my results are more positive and the symptoms I used to have disappeared. This October, it will be two years since the surgery and I feel lucky. After all that has happened, I still feel haunted but I have my darling and my mom. I use my story to help people and to reassure them that even if things look bleak, they are not alone and can always count on others who have been through similar experiences.