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A Whisper. A Word Cancer

Post Published: 11 July 2011
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Category: Dear Thyroid Letters
This post currently has 7 responses. Leave a comment

Dear Thyroid:

On November 5th 2010 (almost 8months now), I went in for a partial thyroidectomy, and came out with a complete thyroidectomy and with my surgeon’s words on my ear “Karla you did wonderful but we had to take it all out, because it was Cancer”. I was pretty sedated when he told me and made the mistake of breaking it to my parents in that condition…

This is my story of my missing bow:

Ever since I can remember, when I would go for regular check-ups, my pediatricians would always imply something about my thyroid. I would get my thyroid levels checked and everything always came back normal. But I was always on the chunky side, so that was always one of the main topics of discussion. After I graduated high school, I started seeing a new doctor. From the very beginning, she didn’t like the small lump on my neck, and immediately sent me to get a biopsy. Unfortunately, I never got those results. I let it slide for quite a while.

With each yearly check-up, the biopsy came up and she continued to send me for biopsies. I had about 3 biopsies that came  back unclear, but noted that I had an existing nodule/goiter. Being the procrastinator that I am, I let my nodule/goiter slide. Until July of last year 2010 when I had a severe bronchitis that lasted about 3 weeks, followed by a visit to the ER for anxiety/dehydration/depression.  (I was also diagnosed with high blood pressure and was placed on medication.) After all that, I was a complete wreck. I was depressed all the time. I did a follow up with my regular doctor.

She gave me bronchitis medication and also told me that I had lost nearly 12 pounds in 3 weeks due to my bronchitis. During the check-up, she went straight for my neck and saw a much bigger lump then she recalled; it wasn’t that visible to me. She sent me to an ENT. He sent me for yet another biopsy, which hurt really badly. When my results came back, he told me that Hurtle cells were present and he wanted me to meet with a surgeon immediately. After hearing that, I left his office filled with anxiety and tears. I met with my surgeon, Dr. Kerner. my guardian. He explained the whole procedure and that he was sure that it wouldn’t be cancer; due to my age and non existing family history of thyroid disease. Two-weeks went by. My surgery was scheduled on Friday November 5th 2010.

I was completely scared, + the rainy weather didn’t help at all. I didn’t think I would make it, because my family has had issues with anesthesia. The wait seemed like hours and my nerves got the best of me. I have thin veins, therefore the nurses tried both my arms, wrists, even the top of my hands, which hurt really badly,  for about 10x’s until finally the anesthesiologist came to my rescue. He was able to locate my vein on the 2nd try and start the IV. I said my, “see you later’s” to my parents and was transported via hospital bed to the surgery room. The bright lights, blue nurses and cold room sent me into a panic attack. When they wrapped me up, being claustrophobic. it didn’t help. They were very friendly and got me talking. Then, I was completely knocked out until my surgery was over. 

My 3-day recovery in the hospital was emotionally draining. I didn’t have any severe pain, just the loss of my voice, a severe sore throat and lack of movement. No appetite, oh yeah, and a little pouch over my chest draining my blood. It all seemed like a dream. I was so glad to be back home. While in my bed for the very first hour, it finally hit me, I had cancer at the age of 23. I just began to cry. I couldn’t really sit up straight. I felt completely sorry for myself. After each visit to the doctor or to the hospital for my full body scans and the radiation pill, I became very depressed. I started to do hand drawn nail art to calm myself down. Sometimes it would work. Sometimes it didn’t. I would make my mother sleep with me day after day because I was scared to be on my own.

Now that it’s been almost 8 months since my surgery, I’m still having quite a lot of issues, like anxiety, depression,  heart palpitations and insomnia. All of it still scares me, to think of what I’ve gone through. I  began a blog dedicated to my thyroid that has helped me a lot. I know that I need a lot of mental and emotional support. What I’ve been through still scares me. I began a blog dedicated to my thyroid that has helped me a lot. I know that i need a lot of mental, emotional and physical help and support to help surpass all this. I feel like the shock is over. I’m stuck with the trauma of it all. My family, friends and loved one’s have helped me so much and continue lending a hand to my recuperation.

I was very glad, and delighted to find such a cute blog dedicated to thyroid issues. It will help me re evaluate myself and learn things that I didn’t know about.

Thank you so much for allowing me to share my story, and i hope it helps girls my age that are going through what I’m going through know that their not alone.

-Karla-

(Bio) I’m 24-years-old student. Self taught hand-drawn nail artist. Thyroid BlogTwitter.

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7 Responses to “A Whisper. A Word Cancer

  1. Melissa Travis says:

    What a beautiful, painful post. Thank you so much for sharing. You are not alone. But your story is uniquely yours. Sharing it with the world is a way of healing all of us. We must speak up and speak out in order to be true.

    We are on your side. I am on your side.
    much love!
    Melissa

  2. okiekats says:

    Hey Karla,

    I was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer at the age of 18 in my second week of college after a golf ball size tumor was found in my college physical. I have now been cancer free for over 29 years!

    A cancer diagnosis is always very scarey but today there are so many new treatments and support groups.Hoping for a full and speedy recovery for you!

    Katie

  3. quin browne says:

    My discovery I had cancer was also from my surgeon, who sat on the side of my bed as I struggled to wake up:

    “That was the biggest muthafuckin’ malignant tumor I’ve ever seen on a thyroid! (pats my leg) If you are in pain, let the nurses know.”

    Later, when I my calcium bottomed out, they told me he’d taken the parathyroid, too.

    Cancer is scary…the only word scarier is love. My cousins and I all had thyroid cancer, and, we are all bumping along the highway of dealing with life without the little gland that can.

    Be brave, weep when you have to, know your chances are so good to carry on and live a great life.

    Wishing you well… take care.

  4. michelle says:

    Thanks for sharing your story Karla! I had my diagnosis exactly a year before yours, I was 38, and I can relate to everything you describe. Even down to being afraid to say goodbye to my mother in pre-op. I also am claustrophobic and thought I would just lose it when they put the leg massagers on in pre-op. I’m still battling the weight (I’ve lost most of it) and heart palpitations. I also had recurrent bronchitis and pneumonia in the 2 years pre-diagnosis. There must be some sort of immune/inflammation link.

    Good luck to you on your journey and thank you for sharing so openly!

  5. Karla, thank you so much for sharing your story with us. Reading it was healing for me, and I hope that writing it was healing for you. We’re here for you; I’m here for you.

    xo,
    Joanna

  6. Karla, I am so glad that you took a moment to share your thoughts and feelings with us regarding your thyroid journey. Thank you for sharing and it does help each of us to know we are not alone. Some here have been going through their thyroid issues for decades and others are just starting theirs. It truly helps everyone to journal, share and have the support from people who truly know what it’s like to be where you are and what you are experiencing. We are all here for you!

  7. Becca says:

    Be well Karla. Love yourself.

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