Tracey Finck via Crowdrise
October 11, 2011
I do not think I was ever ready for this...
My journey started in September 2010 when my husband was advised he had to have his thyroid removed. In preparation for his surgery, I began to research thyroids. During my research, I came across an article which said if you have panic attacks in the morning, you may be hypothyroid and if you have them later in the day, you may be hyperthyroid. Hmm. I was experiencing panic attacks in the morning; I just assumed it was due to stress. After all, in the course of a year, my father had passed away, we moved into a new home, my work was stressful, and we have a young son. I decided to talk to my doctor about it. After all, it was just a blood test...
I found out quickly that I had a hypoactive thyroid and was sent for a sonogram.Much to my surprise, I too had a nodule on the lower right wing of my thyroid lobe. Some concern, but everything I read about thyroid cancer said it was actually pretty rare for someone my age without a family history or exposure. I was ordered for a fine needle aspiration where I was told that it was indeterminate for cancer. I was then sent for a second fine needle aspiration which said based on the cells, I had a less than 10% chance for it being cancer.
Now is probably the time to tell you that I tend to be a bit aggressive medically. I firmly believe that you are responsible for taking your health into your own hands. I consulted with a surgeon at Johns Hopkins University. She asked me several times - was I certain I wanted to have my thyroid removed? I literally told her, "This will be my 9th surgery. It isn't my first time at this particular rodeo and I will be worse off if you leave it in from panic and worry."
April 26, 2011, my thyroid was removed. The surgery went so well that I was actually sent home the same day. April 27, my surgeon's office called to check on me. And then they called on April 28. My throat still felt like I had someone rubbing sandpaper on it so my husband did the talking. He answered a few questions about how I was doing and then turned white. "What do you mean, Tracey has cancer?" At that point, the blood drained from my mother's face and I sat in shock. They told my husband that my cancer was encapsulated within my nodule so it was "inconsequential". Excuse me? The words "cancer" and "inconsequential" should never be used together.
What I was diagnosed with was Stage 1 Papillary Thyroid Cancer. My primary care physician said to me it is a good thing that I took my own medical well-being into my own hands because although Papillary Cancer is slower growing than the others, it is the quickest to move into the lymph nodes.
I have been one of the fortunate ones. I have not needed to have radiation to remove the remainder of any thyroid cells. Instead, I am still being treated with high doses of Synthroid to supress any further thyroid cell growth. I have been tested once since my diagnosis and there has been no sign of the cancer returning. Thank God.
I 2 Y - I'm Too Young For This! Cancer Foundation Inc wrote -
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