January 5, 2011 I spent 7 plus hours under the knife at Johns Hopkins Hospital to remove Stage 3 thyroid cancer throughout my neck. My hubby can give you a play by play as how that day went through his lens. How he waited all day to hear I was done and instead received lots of medical updates- hour after hour. He also can tell you he was one of the first to arrive in the JHH waiting room and the last one to leave that day. As for me, I remember very little except being asked upon my waking to recall anything I said from the morning before they dosed me with heavy duty anesthesia. My answer: “I am STILL a cancer warrior goddess?”. The nurses and doctors laughed and looked relieved. I laughed with a very froggy throat, too. Apparently, my talking was a sign that my vocal chords were still working, albeit very raspy. “Top-Doc” wasn’t too sure that would be the case – so my declaration – was considered the evidence of medical success.
Related: Warning signs of thyroid cancer: click here
Ten years later and countless tests, trips back to Hopkins for follow-up exams, and blogs later, I remain vigilant with my health and a bit of a crusader for thyroid wellness of others. I also recognize that I have had my own challenges after ten years. My voice still gets raspy and there have been times when I simply couldn’t talk for days, weeks or months. (Once again proving that knowing sign language is a skill we all should have!) Plus, a good head cold can put me down for the count for a week or more. I don’t have the immune system of most folks and that makes Covid 19 really really sucky! And, losing the weight I have gained is my biggest challenge.
Yet, I do have an immense sense of gratitude for the medical professionals who have cared for me since my diagnosis late 2010. I also want to reiterate my “mantra” – be your best advocate. I had ZERO of the usual red flags for thyroid cancer except for weight gain. Rapid weight gain! I was told it was menopause. It wasn’t. So, if you feel something is “amiss” – then you are more than likely correct and should keep seeking answers until you feel better or more at ease.
No blogger should post without taking time out to stop and thank their audience. That includes me. I want to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to all of YOU. For more than a decade many of you have read this blog, commented and shared. You helped to educate others and also yourselves. I appreciate you. I pray for your health and hope that all of us have better days ahead.
If you are new to my blog and wonder what the heck I am talking about?… Well … here are links to get you started to learn about my journey and perhaps find some nuggets of help for you, too. If you are a recurring reader – again thank you and enjoy the re-runs below.
January is Check the Neck Month!
Dear New Thyroid Cancer Patient
My Year of Learning How to Kick Cancer to the Door
TWO YEARS LATER… My journey with Thyroid Cancer
My annual reminder that I survived cancer
Lucky 7 – Life after a thyroid cancer diagnosis
9 Years – Post Thyroid Cancer Diagnosis
ASL video on my cancer experience
This blog is dedicated to all the wonderful healthcare professionals who have helped me during my cancer journey and have supported and cared for the the health needs of others.
Also, dedicated to my friends who have experienced “lumps” in their roads and have survived with grit and grace. You are my inspiration.