'My Sore Throat Turned Out To Be A Rare Form Of Cancer'
6 Dec 2017 23:34
Six months into my pregnancy, I felt a lump on the side of my neck, about three inches below my ear. I couldn't really see the lump, so I thought it just was a swollen lymph gland from a sinus infection, which I occasionally get, and I didn’t pay attention to it. I didn’t even mention it to my doctor. Then, a few weeks after my son's birth, I came down with a sore throat that wouldn't go away. After two weeks, I thought I might have strep throat, which is the last thing I wanted with a newborn in the house. I told my husband I needed to go to our family practitioner, so I could get antibiotics to clear it up. Two minutes into the examination, our family practitioner saw the lump and felt it. “That's not good,” he said. I was a little taken aback. “What do you mean, it's fine! Should I be worried?” “Don't worry until there's something to worry about," he answered and told me I needed to go have a scan. “I'll do that,” I said, but I didn't think anything of it. I had the scan two days later, and four days after that, I was back at the doctor’s for the results. As soon as I walked into his office, he gave me a funny look and said, “You've got thyroid cancer." Never in a million years did I think the lump would result in a thyroid-cancer diagnosis. I didn’t even know a person could have thyroid cancer. I just heard “cancer,” and I thought I was going to die. I was terrified—I had a new baby and he needed me. (Get the latest health, weight loss, fitness, and sex intel delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for our "Daily Dose" newsletter.) The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the neck that produces hormones that affect a person's metabolism and every organ in the body. Roughly 57,00 people receive a thyroid cancer diagnosis each year, according to the American Cancer Society. Three out of four of those people are women. After my diagnosis, everything happened super-fast. Two days later, I saw a surgeon, who explained that there were different types of thyroid cancer. One was papillary cancer, the most common type, and easiest to treat. The other is called medullary thyroid cancer, which accounts for 4 percent of thyroid cancers, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Medullary thyroid cancer can be difficult to find, so it's more likely to spread to the lymph nodes, lungs, and liver. Judging by the size of my lump, which was the size of a baseball, the surgeon thought I might have medullary thyroid cancer. It turned out he was right. Four days later, I was in the operating room. Going in, I thought the doctor was going to make a small incision, take out my thyroid, and everything would be fine. Instead, the surgeon cut open my neck practically from ear to ear after he discovered ...
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