New here...this is my journey (yes it's very very long and has pictures)
Hello everyone, I am new to this group. I found it through a general search for cancer. I am 26 years old and a thyroid cancer survivor. I would like to share my journey through a few pictures, if that's cool with everyone else :)
My journey began about this time last year. I went for my normal annual exam. She did a head to toe, and when she felt my neck, asked me if I had noticed this lump (I hadn't) and she said "Well, I don't want to freak out or anything but you know how I feel about better safe than sorry" and made a note of it. Exam went on, got finished, and she ordered a neck ultrasound.
I went to the ultrasound, the technician told me nothing the entire time. About a week later, I got a call asking if I could make a general appointment within the next week, so I did. Went back to my regular doc (who is my gyno's sister, lol) and she told me they wanted to do a biopsy. The lump in question was on my thyroid, and a FNA is generally the next step when they don't know what it really is. This was about 2 weeks before Christmas.
I go in for my FNA, it really wasn't that bad. This was 2 days before Christmas.
Less than a week later, my doc calls me and says "Can you come in today?". It was almost 4:00pm and I knew something wasn't good. This was the day before my husband's birthday.
We got there, and my son (who was not quite 2) was being a little pooper so my husband took him to the truck to entertain him. My doc called me back, and told me it was cancer. I didn't have my cell phone with me so she used hers to call my husband, he came in with our son, and she told him too. Of course, I cried. When we got home, I called my mom and told her. My husband was PCSing soon so I chose to use our flight miles to fly home and start everything at home. My mom didn't cry, she just kept repeating "Okay. That's okay. Okay. That's okay." My husband called his parents to update them as well, and his dad cried.
I flew home 2 days later, I was so frazzled I forgot my suitcase, so we went to Oklahoma with no clothes, only our carry on. I ended up borrowing clothes from a lady my mom works with, which was very nice until I could buy my own and my husband drove to OK to give me my and my son's clothes.
Long story short, it was a real pisser to get Tricare to change regions. When they finally did, I went to my family doctor, who was also a long-time family doctor. I told him I was only there to get a referral, because I had thyroid cancer. The nurse, who I had known a long time, got a little teary and walked out, but came back in dry-eyed. That was January 14, 2011
Eventually I went to a surgeon, and had a total thyroidectomy. They found a total of 12 nodules, 8 of which were cancerous. They found the cancerous nodules on both sides, not just the right (the side the lump was on). The surgery went fine...I wanted to go home THAT NIGHT but we were snowed in, and they also didn't let me, lol. That was Feb 3,2011. I did not have a good overall treatment experience. I felt like the hospital did not have their stuff in order and because I was so unstable at that point, I felt like they weren't treating me seriously. I remember crying to my husband in IHOP because I felt like my cancer wasn't serious, and I wasn't important enough for them to help without giving me trouble. That night he called the hospital and spoke with 5 different people in different departments. It went much smoother after that.
I had the radioactive iodine twice. Once in march, once in april. I had to rent a hotel room and stay for 2 nights because I was told to stay away from my baby, which broke my heart. The first treatment I got, I wasn't able to hug and kiss my baby goodbye before he and my husband went to texas to visit family. This really hurt.
This is me and my baby about 2 months before my gyno exam where she found the lump on my neck. I was feeling pretty okay, I was tired a lot but I had also been alone for a year while my husband was on deployment and just figured I would never catch up on sleep!!!
Fast forward to the beginning of December, a week or so before I got the FNA. Obviously I'm not feeling so frisky anymore. I cut 16" of my beautiful hair off because it was so heavy and hot. I also lost about 10-15 lbs at this point.
This is me and my 2 godchildren, shortly after I started to rebuild a NORMAL family life here in NC with my husband (NOT living with my parents like I had been for 4 months). At this point, I had lost a total of 20-25 lbs, my hair was very thin and I had almost no appetite or energy. (Yes this is a horrible, ugly picture of me, I usually don't post pictures of myself) this is April 2011
This is me now (well, recent enough). I have gained all 25 lbs back, and my hair is no longer thinned out to the extent that it was, anyway. I would be lying if I said I have my energy back, but my dose has been adjusted 3 times now, so I hope it eventually gets to where it needs to be.
My TSH levels are at 150+. The normal amount is .3 - 3.0, so theres work that needs to be done and I have been told the synthetic hormones might not work and I will have to go organic (crushed pig thyroid???) but I am confident my life is on the right track of where it needs to be going. My husband has been as understanding as he could possibly be. Some days I am a completely psychotic breakdown waiting to explode and other days I can't get out of bed until the afternoon, and then go to bed a few hours later. We have had problems in our marriage because of this, and it makes me sad but at this point it has improved 110% because he finally understands I CAN'T HELP IT sometimes!! Hopefully my hormones won't be out of wack for much longer.
If you made it this far....thank you for reading my story. I hope to bring encouragement and support to anyone who thinks they may be in the same situation, or IS in the same situation. Cancer is not the end of the world, although it damn sure feels like it sometimes.