College Was Supposed to be the Happiest Time of my Life
First of all, I’d like to express how deeply I hate you. Even though you’re no longer with me, I still hate you with a fiery, burning passion that only Hell can match.
It began with just feeling tired all the time, which I dismissed because I was involved in several things in high school. Then my hair, once thick and soft, became coarse and thinner. Then the choking started. Sophomore year of college, I went to a doctor and told him everything that had been going on – along with the fact that my mother had a partial thyroidectomy – and asked for a blood test to check my TSH, T3 and T4 levels. He dismissed the idea that something was wrong and attributed my symptoms to stress, lack of sleep, and too much caffeine. (Nevermind the fact that I don’t drink soda, drink about 2 cups of coffee a day, and actually try to get to bed at a decent time for early morning classes.) He ordered a test for TSH, which, of course, came back normal. In August, I went to my primary doctor and told her the same thing. She was reluctant to do much, but ordered an ultrasound and a barium swallow test (gross). The ultrasound showed a small mass on your right side.
I had a biopsy in November (painful doesn’t even begin to describe that), the week of Thanksgiving. I didn’t expect to hear anything for a couple weeks, but the following Monday brought the news. My hospital has this bad habit of always calling the wrong number, so my parents found out before I did. They called me to tell me. I called the office. The nurse said, “It’s small, but it is cancer.” I called my parents back. I called my fiance. I cried. And all of this happened before 10:30.
Fast forward to January. You were taken out, along with some lymph nodes. Two of those had cancer, too. I laid on the couch for a week, unable to do anything but sleep and cry. And no, dear nurse, you cannot just flip drain tubes over your shoulder to shower…you can barely sit up with those stupid things. I threw up when they were taken out. The next few weeks were dark. I don’t remember much, but I would just lay in bed and cry for no reason.
I’m 21. I graduate college next year. I’m getting married sometime after that. You took the joy that I was supposed to have during my college years and replaced it with fear and worry. You took part of my voice. You left a scar that I have to look at every day for the rest of my life. You took my light, and it has taken me a long time to get it back. Now you’re threatening to take it again. My RAI is in 11 days, followed by a scan to find out if there is more cancer.
So thanks a lot, Thyroid. The next 70 or so years will be spent taking pills, getting blood work, and living in periods of darkness and fear.
All my loathing,
Tags: college students with thyroid cancer, diagnosis of thyroid cancer, doctors misdiagnosing thyroid patients, doctors mistreating thyroid patients, Thyroid patient letters, thyroid patient support, thyroid's impact on a person's well being, young adults struggling with thyroid issues