A 23 year old female presenting with a tumor sized lump around the thyroid area – ultrasounds under supervision to be performed to establish the mass.
Not your usual day to day doctors visit.
November 2016 –
I came down with one of those crazy ‘feeling like you’ve been hit by a bus’ kind of Flu’s where I parked myself in bed for a good week and slept it off. It soon became a severe sinus infection that was treated with antibiotics and still wouldn’t budge so had to be treated for a second coarse! She was ‘the’ bitch of sinus infections. It was soon after this had cleared up when I was in the morning tea room at my work and a colleague said to me ‘Whats that lump on your throat’
And racing into the bathroom to check out what the fuss was about I discovered the mass, you couldn’t miss it! It literally rose within hours and doubled in size between the initial discovery and returning home from work. So as you do – I Dr Googled it & to my surprise it doesn’t pop up ‘your going to die’ most of the articles were suggesting the lump can be caused by an infection of the glands i.e. a sinus infection or flu. So I had my diagnoses! And decided to let it settle for awhile until my body had fully fought the infection that kicked my arse.
January 2017 –
To be completely honest, I was aware that this lump was still in the original position and the original size – 3months later! And I believe I sub-consciously pushed it to the back of my mind with ‘oh yeah ill get that checked’ ‘its a bitch trying to get a drs appointment’ ‘ill wait until I need to see the GP for something else’
Emotional and Heartbreaking Background History – My dear mum was diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer in 2004 where she fought her little heart out with intense chemo and radiation which was 4 hours away from our home for months, with 11 and 13 year old children at home. The hardest time of our lives – well, that’s what we thought during that period. She kicked Cancers Arse and she returned home to us.
Mum was in remission for 10 YEARS! What an inspiring and courageous women.
After her cancer returning throughout her bones as a secondary stage 4 she was given a short term life expectancy and made ‘comfortable’. And she fought that too, even harder! For 3 years I watched my mum suffer through the chemo drugs that strip your soul and all of the strength you have left, the radiation through her neck that burnt her taste buds and the surgerys to repair the brittle bone that she had left with 2 hip replacements to help her walk.
We lost our dear mum in August 2014 at home surrounded by her kids and sisters.
……. I subconsciously tried to ‘forget’ this lump of mine was there …….
February 2017 –
I made that DRs appointment and was sent with a referral to have the ‘mass’ ultrasound. These ultrasound technicians are quite the secretive aren’t they, especially when the referral states ‘A 23 year old female presenting with a tumor sized lump around the thyroid area – ultrasounds under supervision to be performed to establish the mass’
After receiving the unknown results of the ultrasound as a ‘Thyroid Goiter’ we were sent to a local specialist that operates at our local hospital so we trusted in this center and put our faith in getting the best care we could from this specialist. Upon reading my ultrasound and results he looked at me and said ‘Im going to put a needle in your throat and attempt to drain the mass, if we get green liquid then its benign (No Cancer Cells) and if we don’t then its most likely malignant (Cancer Cells) So I had lots of questions, obviously! That were quickly shrugged off, before he positioned himself in front of me without any ultrasound guidance and he stuck the needle into my throat – No Pain Medication, No Numbing, Nothing.
He drew 5ml of dark green fluid, so he turned around and threw it in the bin – your fine, your right to go home!
We were in a bit of shock, what just happened and we left the center with more questions then when we walked in.
Within 1 hour the lump on my throat had doubled in size, it was growing.
I made another appointment to return to the specialist and have this looked at again, something wasn’t right! So we returned and he then referred me to have an ultrasound where they would attempt to drain the mass under the machine where they could see where they were sticking the needle and what was draining – what should have been performed in the first instance.
The Draining Under Ultrasound was performed at a private hospital where they had the correct staff and qualified technician doing the procedure and with much discomfort they drained the entirety of the ‘mass’ – so we thought.
I finished up at the appointment at 3pm and returned home, by 5pm I was in agony! The lump had grown back and was more painful then ever before. By 7pm that night I had put my son to bed and just cried and cried, and cried. I went out to my husband and said – we have to go to the hospital I feel like I cant breathe.
The mass had come back and was so swollen that it was coming across my whole throat and I was struggling to breath or turn my head.
I was admitted into hospital for observation with markings across my throat to see if it was growing. After another ultrasound and a return visit from the ‘specialist’ that calls himself a professional, we had the results. Because of the trauma of the mass being stabbed with a needle and not knowing where he was stabbing it, it had torn the outer layer and it was hemorrhaging into my throat.
By the stage the ultrasound was taken in the hospital the bleeding had stopped and form a hard mass, which was the extra sized lump situated across my throat.
After the trauma of the past couple of months I believed that I was not receiving the care that was required and I requested to be transferred to another facility that could better equip to this kind of medical procedure.
I was placed in the capable hands of a Throat Specialist in a larger hospital that was a 2hour drive from my home, but I was ultimately in the hands of a professional so we were going to do whatever it took.
After 3 appointments to access the throat and results and multiple blood tests and history checks we decided on surgery to remove the entire left side of my thyroid that the ‘mass’ was attached to and leave the remaining right side, if in the case of the mass being obvious to the surgeon as a cancerous malignant tumor they had my consent to remove the right side as well.
Preparing for Surgery Day – I had a camera placed down my nose and into the back of my throat to film my vocal cords – all while im awake looking at the tv watching the saliva drip from the sides of my throat. Yep, not pleasant.
After the process that we went through to get to surgery day, I am completely glad its over and ready for the final cut. Please let this be okay
I signed consent forms that I was aware of the possibility that my vocal cords will be severely damaged during the surgery and my not return at all. To potentially save my life I could end up with no voice. These were some of the darkest days I have been through with sheer fear that I was not going to be okay after this and what I was about to enter was unknown.
Surgery Day –
Disclaimer – WARNING Raw Graphic Images of the Incision Coming Up.
I was wheeled away from my husband and 2year old son that was screaming out for his mum not knowing what was going on or why I was leaving him and I was taken down the bright white hallways into theater where they prepped me. The nurse that was allocated to inserting my canula was clearly on his first day because he pushed it through my hand and slipped, blood started pissing out everywhere all over my bed and my gown and my arm. Just what i wanted to experience right before my throat was about to be slit open. Please put me to sleep already or im about to pass out from shock.
Recovery Period – If only I could have slept through this too.
I was on NIL BY MOUTH for 14hours total, and after a gut full of medication and morphine by the time I was aloud to eat at 10pm I was vomiting my stomach lining up which was not the best feeling for a freshly cut throat. I had to then have my wound check every 2hours to ensure it didn’t start swelling/and internal bleed from the stitches being ripped when vomiting.
2 days later and we were heading home.
My recovery from surgery was over all really great, I had 2 weeks of bed rest including no driving or picking my son up which was extremely hard on me and a lot of mum guilt but we got through it. And the results came in as a Benign Tumor and was fully removed not leaving any, including removing my entire left side of the thyroid.
I have been extremely blessed and lucky enough that my body picked itself back up, and the right side of my thyroid is doing its full job picking up the slack of the other side and I don’t need any hormone replacements, I know that others haven’t been so lucky.
It has now been 7 months since my surgery and I count my lucky stars for the outcome that we were given this time around – that angel up in heaven is blessing me 10times over each day.
I thank god for her keeping me safe.