It seems crazy to think about now, but my cancer journey only started a little more than 2 months ago. Let me lay the groundwork for you.
Life was good. I know that’s how most of these stories start, but it’s true. I wasn’t just “Facebook happy.” I was really, in daily life, happy. Work was great. My family was busy, joyful and living life. And I was thrilled to be training for my first full marathon.
It was Super Bowl 50 weekend, Panthers vs. Broncos. I’d ran the Super Run 10k and achieved a personal best, shaving a full 4 minutes off my time. I felt on top of my game when it came to my health, and on my way there with my fitness.
So I treated myself to a full-on Super Bowl buffet binge; nachos, pigs-in-a-blanket, beer. You know how it goes. When the acid reflux kicked in around half time, my throat started to feel really tight. But that wasn’t stopping me. After all, I wasn’t painfully full yet. In my family, we are not done eating until we are unable to move or writhing in pain. We’re overachievers that way.
From there though, everything I ate or drank felt like it was taking a detour on the way to my stomach. My nacho chips moved like the sails of a cheesy, jalapeño boat navigating around a buoy in my throat. Not painful at first, but SO odd.
By the next morning at work, it became more and more difficult to swallow around the marble. So I made an appointment with my doc that day. He felt the lump on the right side of my throat with his hands.
“It feels like a thyroid nodule,” he told me. “They are very common. In fact 60% of people have them by the time they are 60 years old. Only about 1% are malignant.”
I was relieved. My doctor said he would still like to order an ultrasound of the lump, just because they are a little more rare in someone my age, just a sweet lil’ baby at 33. (I pretended not to be flattered at the equivalent of ‘being carded” by a man who has seen me naked.) And, so…it began.
A few days later I went in for an ultrasound. A little sticky goo on my neck and the tech got started. (No dinner or anything first, which I thought was messed up, but I rolled with it.) She moved the wand around slowly, pausing to take pictures and reminding me to stay still when she took video. All seemed standard, until I asked her if I could take a peek. She looked unsettled.
“You want to see it?!” she asked me.
“Yeah!” I said. “Just curious what it looks like. I’ve never seen a thyroid before.”
“Oh,” she said, turning OFF her monitor. “You wouldn’t be able to tell what anything was anyways.”
She dropped the mic, and walked out of the room. “Way to be sketchy as hell!” I thought.
The results were supposed to take 3-5 working days to come back. My primary care doc called me just 3 HOURS later. “The results of your ultrasound are already back.”
(Insert dramatic cliffhanger music here.)
Oh, and the Broncos beat the Panthers 24-10, Lady Gaga sang the national anthem, and Beyoncé did the half-time show…again.
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