My name is Genae and i was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer at the age of 21 and this is the glorious journey i've traveled.
I was having terrible stomach pains and would vomit every time i ate, i started to use portion control and the vomit stopped being a big problem. but i stopped pooping and started throwing up again. after months of this i went to a doctor, and got a bunch of tests run, all the blood, urine and stool they could get from me and an egd later, they found out it wasn't an ulcer nor was it acid reflux. more urine and 4 blood tests later, the only thing that was abnormal was my blood calcium was high. it was high for being high and that was the the cause of the stomach pain, constipation and tons of other things. i was then referred to endocrinology.
I was seeing 2 doctors and one was convinced there was something wrong with me and the other thought it was a genetic disorder. then why the sudden problems if it was genetic? so i convinced the one that thought there was something wrong to look at some scans and low and behold there appeared to be a tumor on one of my parathyroid and so i met a surgeon. he wanted to be safe so 2 more 24 hour urines later and some more blood work, we decided a short surgery would fix all my problems. boy was i relieved.
i got the surgery and felt better, but then i was informed of a small lymph node that appeared abnormal and was biopsied. we all thought nothing of it, send it off and just find out. well 5 days later on september 30, 2008 i received an alarming message from my surgeon, a man who has his own nurse that does all the phone calls for him, to call him as soon as i could. he was busy and i got his nurse to call me back, such a sweet woman, i think if anyone had've given such news i'd have freaked out. she told that the biopsy on the node came back positive for papillary thyroid cancer and explain everything to me and made sure i understood. i think i cried for a few hours, sore and drugged out of mine still recovering from my last surgery. i have cancer?
i then called my family and they were all sure i should see a better doctor, but i saw the best the man took all steps to make sure i wanted the surgery, a surgery that potentially saved my life. i went for the post-op appointment and we discussed my options and the seriousness of the spread, and he was clear that he saw no tumor on the front side of my thyroid but that doesn't mean they weren't there. so plan a date before christmas and go back under the knife. i was scared, i was in the fall semester of my last year in college, i was in a great relationship, and everything was looking so good for me. but what now? people kept telling me to take off a semester and i refused so i continued and planned the time off work and how i could finish school on time.
December 16, 2008 i went into surgery and came out 4 hours later with no thyroid and half a parathyroid left. i was relieved it had gone so well, groggy and nauseated i was glad it was over. but i was soon reminded that was only just the beginning. i decided to not go on any synthroid so i could do the radiation as soon as possible, so i spent christmas asleep and relishing in food as my low iodine diet started the day after. i was tired a lot and the trips to the doctor on the bus in chicago winter without my body regulating cold was a completely different type of torture. i lost almost 20 pounds and wanted to die by the time it was radiation day.
during the weight my newly grown out hair began to fall out in clumps in the shower, my pretty long nails broke off at the slightest touch, my natural tan was a washed out grey, and i bled for about 3 weeks heavier then i have before. i considered adult diapers i was bleeding so much. but i kept on a smile and told myself it would be ok. when i went to the hospital on jan 22, 2009 the room was scary, everything covered covered in plastic and mats, the floor covered in what looked like project poster boards, and even the inside of the toilet coated with plastic. what hell had i died and gone too. but i was only there for about 26 hours. i wanted real food so bad and if i ever see another lemon head i might scream. i was in so much pain and just wanted someone to hold me, but it was home for me to be alone since no one could be around me for another 2 days.
everything got better once i started my synthroid and could eat again. i was ready for my last semester in college as an undergrad and i had something to prove. i get my next body scan in about 2 weeks and i'm hoping for the best. it's been hard telling people i'm 22 with cancer and go to the doctor's a lot. it's hard to date and meet new people to be involved with romantically. and personally it sucks just as much being on the low iodine diet the 2nd time as it did the first and i doubt it will ever get easier for me to give up steak in large portions and cheese cause i love cheese. but i have my life and some of my health and that's better then none. i have the greatest friends anyone could ask for because the ones that didn't care weeded themselves out. i graduated and i still smile even though i may have to be hypo once or twice a year. life goes on