Would someone please tell my broken body that enough is enough, yo? (and yes, the “yo” is a completely necessary part of that question. You’re welcome.) For those who have been following me here, on Facebook or Instagram, you know that I’ve been dealing with having my si joint fused in May and my autoimmune bladder disease has come out of a several-year remission. Well, apparently that wasn’t enough fun, so just for giggles, my body throws in a thyroid tumor to boot.
I really do think I handle these things relatively well. I’m not sure if it’s just a personality trait or if growing up in a military family where we moved all the time has mentally prepared me to handle “big events.” Doesn’t matter…I have been blessed with the ability to shoulder these things. Other things? Meh…not so much.
So I was seeing a naturopath in an attempt to holistically heal my bladder. The holi-nurse-lady did an exam on my neck and said my thyroid was slightly enlarged. Okay, crazy lady. She gave me papers to have a thyroid ultrasound and bloodwork done, which I promptly put at the bottom of my paperwork junk pile and deliberately forgot about. I had too much on my plate to be chasing down pipe dreams. Little did I know how stupid that was.
Weeks later, I went to get my follow-up CT scan for my si joint fusion and I thought…eh! Might as well do that thyroid ultrasound while I’m in the same building and I don’t have a co-pay for either so it’ll just be an extra 20 minutes to get that done for free. I didn’t even ask the futile “do you see anything weird?” question to the technician because I just wasn’t overly concerned about it.
So when results came back, I was blindsided. They found a 3cm nodule (aka “tumor”) on the right side of my thyroid with both cystic and solid components. Recommended biopsy to rule out malignancy. Wait…what? No.
This goes to show that when you think you have it all under control, you really don’t. And that’s okay, I adjusted my expectations accordingly. But I was straight up mad with the big guy upstairs for quite awhile after I found out and made sure that He knew it!
So I named him Bob. My husband thinks it’s stupid that I talk about Bob like he’s a person, but I don’t care. I think it’s funny and if it helps me get through this mess, then his name is Bob and I’ll even make Bob a little birth certificate and death certificate and bury the little sucker in the backyard with a funeral, casket, tuxedo, and the whole she-bang.
I was scheduled for a FNA (fine needle aspiration) biopsy the next week which was very uncomfortable but do-able. It came back benign with follicular Hurthle cell change. My holistic peeps pretty much dismissed it but hold on a second, people! This thing is huge and you put a little, teeny tiny needle into the middle of a huge tumor and say it’s ok? No. Not to mention I was starting to have trouble swallowing and laying down at night. So I asked to see a specialist. She gave me the name of an Ear, Nose, and Throat surgeon.
So, this dude was very friendly. The whole office was friendly! He recommended I have a “hemi” – remove the right side of my thyroid with the nodule and then do a full biopsy. Really, the only true way to know if it’s cancer or not is to fillet that bad boy open and biopsy the whole thing. Fun, right? Fine. The problem with all of this is I just watched my friend at work go through Stage 4 Thyroid Cancer and it was a bit scary. Not to mention my Mom died from cancer (Lymphoma) before she hit 40, so you know…fear. Whatevs. Let’s do this thing. Bob is going to die. I scheduled the surgery.
Strangely, my thyroid was and continues to behave normally and my thyroid hormones are all normal. Great! No Hashimotos, no hypo or hyperthyroidism. Just a growth. I wanted to get a second opinion because that’s what I do, so I made an appointment with Crystal Jacovino at USF Endrocinology. Of course, they couldn’t get me in until February 2017, to which I said I could be dead by then but by all means, let’s make the appointment! Ironically, I received a call that they had to cancel that appointment and if I couldn’t make it the next day at 2pm, then they weren’t taking any new patients. Well, crap, really? So I went.
I really think that’s a God thing.
Why? Well, they did some genetic testing and another biopsy, all of which returned normal. But Bob still had to come out. So I was recommended to see Dr. Douglas Reintgen, the Director of Cancer Initiatives for USF and voted #1 Cancer Doctor for Women in Good Housekeeping. Rated bad bedside manner, great surgeon. Fine…I don’t need to be friends, I need you to kill Bob, not me.
I did a little more research. This is SO important! If you’re in Florida, always check to see if your doctor has previous/current malpractice suits by doing a search. Once I did, I was appalled to find my super-friendly ENT had six malpractice suits and nearly killed someone doing a similar surgery. Dr. Reintgen had none. The decision was made!
Fast forward to this past Wednesday. Surgery was seriously easier than I expected. Recovery took a little bit to get the pain under control, but other than that, it seriously wasn’t bad. If you’re having this surgery done, don’t let the Youtube videos scare you. Find a good surgeon and you’ll do great. And my voice is completely normal, much to the dismay of my husband. Hah! I stayed overnight in the hospital to monitor my calcium levels and make sure I didn’t bleed out (Bob was leaning on my carotid artery). Really was a relaxing, somewhat fun, and quiet experience…I know that’s weird, right? I think it’s all in your mindset going in. We can get all freaked out about surgery or take advantage of each moment as an opportunity to laugh and spread Love. I met some really amazing people and had an hour-long discussion with the Chaplain about paleo, Jesus, and relationships. Hello, Divine Appointment.
The pain has been tolerable with pain meds and my biggest concern is going back to work in a week with my FrankenWrinkle. I have my follow-up on Thursday at which time we’ll review whether Bob is Buttcrack Bob or a true Benign Bob. Buttcrack Bob would mean another surgery to remove the other half of my thyroid and then discuss how to treat for cancer. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
I’m glad it’s over. Well…I pray it’s over. I want to get back to my yoga (I’m doing yoga, ya’ll!! How’s that for si joint recovery?) and my continued battle to conquer my bladder disease. Apparently these things don’t know who they’re messing with.
Bob is dead. I murdered him. Next?
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