Two weeks ago my husband forwarded me an article about Brooke Burke, one of the hosts of Dancing with the Stars (my guilty pleasure), being diagnosed with thyroid cancer. It reminded me that I hadn’t had my own thyroid checked in a while.
My thyroid issues started in my early 20s when I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and put on a replacement hormone – synthroid. A few years later I ended up having some difficulties swallowing and went to see the doctor. After an ultrasound that found one large nodule and one small nodule on my thyroid I was sent for a biopsy (which subsequently turned up negative). Regular checks continued and a few years later, after having our second daughter, I found out that the larger of the two nodules had grown. At that point another biopsy came back inconclusive. The specialist I was seeing at the time explained that there are a number of reasons a biopsy can be inconclusive and gave me a few options. I decided to put myself on the surgical list. That was 2009.
I got the call that my name had come to the top of the list in 2010 just after I found out I was pregnant with our son. Surgery was not an option because of my pregnancy so I respectfully declined and life went on. He was born seven months later, I spent an amazing (and busy) mat leave with the kids and then I went back to work.
Truth be told, until my husband sent me the article about Brooke Burke I had actually completely forgotten (or just not thought) about my thyroid nodule since I declined the surgery. I was at the doctor for something else two weeks ago and asked the resident if we should be following up on anything since my inconclusive biopsy. She opened the old report and said, “oh it wasn’t inconclusive, there were abnormal cells there.”
Needless to say, her words hit me like a ton of bricks. Could I have been walking around for more than two years with thyroid cancer? How come I didn’t follow up on this sooner? Why didn’t I even remember the diagnosis properly? She asked me if I’d be interested in surgery now and after I said yes, she said they’d send me for blood work, another ultrasound and back to the specialist.
I’d been told that the ultrasound appointment could take awhile so I became increasingly nervous when I got the call that it was going to happen within a week. I was even more nervous during the ultrasound when the technician spent a really long time on the right side of my neck and then went to get old ultrasound pictures for comparison. I left that appointment feeling terrible – like something was really wrong and how could I have been so neglectful/ dumb/ busy to not remember to take care of myself.
Luckily for me the story ends well. In an unexpected twist of fate, the large nodule has actually disappeared (which explains the ultrasound tech taking so long and doing comparisons).
The moral of the story? Take care of yourselves parents. We spend a lot of time making sure our kids are healthy and taking them for regular check-ups and it’s very easy to forget about ourselves. My experiences, and others I’ve heard, would say that we’re responsible for our own health. I learned my lesson. Nobody is going to chase us down to make sure everything is okay. It’s up to us. Get regular check-ups. Be on top of it. Take the time.
In the eyes of your kids, there is nothing in the world that is more important than a healthy you.
Deanna is a Mom of three, wife, marketer and blogger – lover of travel, morning coffee, family time, belly laughs, good friends and uninterrupted showers! Follow her on twitter @DeannaCMiller
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