I don’t often upchuck what’s happening currently in my personal life on here. After all, I realize most of you come here looking for ways to do what you love, just on a smaller budget. But in an effort to keep my voice authentic, I felt it only fitting to share a little bit about this unknown chapter in my life as it pertains to my thyroid health.
If you don’t know me, then you may not know that I’ve never been what you consider a ‘healthy’ person from a doctor’s perspective. Growing up, I dealt with a number of issues, many of which were only compounded by my exceedingly heavy schedule and overachieving nature (yes, I was this way even as a small child!). It only seemed natural that when you train hard for tennis matches, showchoir competitions and academic tests all at the same time, your body is eventually going to give. During my teenage years, this usually manifested as severe bronchitis, mono, or the like.
After my junior year at Emory University, my body shut down.
In fact, the doctor treating me, without knowing exactly what was causing my ailment, shared with my family that it might be fatal….not the brightest individual we’ve ever dealt with when it comes to compassion.
Anyway, after two years of extreme suffering and glaring mis-diagnoses, I was eventually diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. After receiving treatment at the Cheney Clinic in North Carolina and putting it into practice for three months, my health (& life) completely turned around…to the point where I competed in the Miss North Carolina USA pageant at that point!
I’ve remained relatively symptom free since then, albeit it’s safe to say my immune system is not as strong as most. I was cautioned that I might not ever be able to conceive children, much less carry them to full term; yet here I am with two, beautiful, healthy children!
I am truly blessed.
That’s not to say those pregnancies & deliveries didn’t take a toll on my health. Both were very difficult and it was when I became pregnant with my first child that I was put on thyroid medication for the first time. I was diagnosed with HypoThyroidism, which really didn’t come as a surprise. While my TSH levels had always returned as normal from lab work, I had always been cautioned that CFS patients often receive false negatives on those tests.
Thus started my thyroid journey. As someone who hated to be on any sort of ongoing medication, I desperately searched for ways to get off. However, instead of improving, I’ve had to continually increase my dose over the years: with my 2nd pregnancy, again three years ago and now just last month…with a dose that is over 4 times my initial prescription.
It was two months ago when I can remember feeling “off”. I can’t pinpoint any one thing that was wrong, but I suddenly gained about 10 pounds though my routine didn’t change drastically. I couldn’t trust my body (or my brain) in the ways I normally could, so I decided it was time to go get my levels checked again.
It was this new ENT that sent me for an ultrasound of my thyroid, which I didn’t take to be a good sign. I then found out on June 2 (my husband’s birthday), that they discovered a large nodule on the left side of my thyroid that would require a biopsy. Because of my grandmother’s death, we had to push that procedure back to the end of June.
I finally got a call last Wednesday night after business hours from the doctor’s assistant asking if he could speak with me.
Again, not a good sign.
He got on the phone and proceeded to tell me the results of my biopsy….or rather, the non-results. He confessed he’s only seen this one other time in the past five years and was sorry to say they couldn’t give me a definite answer. While he predicted the lump was only a result of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (a condition he believes I have and that I still don’t really understand as of yet), the cells ‘resembled’ lymphoma. I could either have the lump removed or undergo a second biopsy, of which he recommended the latter.
Having not especially enjoyed the first biopsy, especially since I wasn’t given any anesthesia as they poked four needles into my throat and dug around, I wasn’t thrilled about the thought of repeating that process. Even if I elected to just take the lump out without another biopsy, I knew we wouldn’t be addressing the root issue that caused the mass in the first place. If the lump stayed in, even if we determined it wasn’t lymphoma, it would have to be monitored every three months for the next year.
Still not the news I was looking for.
So here I am, not knowing what the next step is, yet staying optimistic for what the future holds. Regardless of what happens with this nodule, I know I’ll be needing to make some lifestyle choices so that it doesn’t happen again.
For now, I’m gathering as much information as I can and looking for good advice from trusted sources. I know this is just the beginning of the journey, and that I have to act fast, but I’m ready to fight.
I have a lot worth fighting for