As the doctor palpated my throat she said, “I think I feel something.” All I felt was numb. Two thoughts crossed my mind; my father’s death from cancer at age 47 and my sister‘s thyroid cancer diagnosis before she was age 50, as we were discussing my family history prior to this examination. It was recommended that I have a thyroid ultrasound done ASAP. When I went home, I looked at myself in the mirror. Feeling my own throat, I didn’t even know anything was here. I hadn’t had any problems swallowing or breathing and my blood work for thyroid functioning had always been normal.
Being the compliant patient that I was, I followed the doctor’s orders and arrived at radiology for the ultrasound. Soon afterwards, I received the dreaded phone call. My doctor stated, “It has come back positive with a 4cm nodule on the right thyroid gland and you will need to see a specialist.” Within a week, I was in an ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) doctor’s office hearing the words surgery, cancer and radiation. My head was spinning with information and fear. The message I heard loud and clear was that these doctors believed I had cancer just like my sister and my father. Being told that thyroid cancer was a “good cancer” did not ease my fears.
The doctor recommended surgery to remove the nodule and right thyroid gland. I immediately spoke up and requested a needle biopsy, remembering that my sister had one before her surgery. The doctor refused my request saying, “I don’t want to put you through that uncomfortableness. Due to the size of it, it needs to come out regardless.” I was told that during the surgery, the nodule would be examined to determine whether it was cancerous or not. If it was, then he would remove the other half of my thyroid right there on the spot. I was not satisfied. I was not confident about not knowing if I would awaken to a cancer diagnosis and no thyroid at all.
At this point, I was in shock and went along with the plans set by others. I hesitantly scheduled the surgery for October and used the time prior to surgery to educate myself about the thyroid. I read books and studied online information, changed my eating habits and ordered vitamins based on the research I did concerning thyroid health. I focused on what I could control and took action wherever I could. I remembered that someone I once met who was very spiritual had thyroid cancer. I called her and she spoke with me about her experience and offered her support. She began to pray for me, as many of my friends and family did.
I continued to receive my usual alternative healings such as Reiki and naturopathy. I added in a couple of holographic re-patterning sessions to heal past patterns that contributed to this condition. I meditated, did visualizations imagining a healthy thyroid and recited positive statements, known as affirmations. I did everything and anything. This diagnosis helped me to have a laser focus on myself and my health like nothing ever did before. Although I kept myself busy, daily life became about waiting and not knowing. I found that the more relaxed I could be the better I coped.
Despite all of these healing techniques, I felt confused and hopeless about going into surgery. I remembered my request for the needle biopsy test and that I did not have it done. I decided I wanted and needed that test done. Whether it made sense to the doctor, my family or anyone else, I needed to know if the nodule was benign or cancerous before making a final commitment to go into surgery. Some steps were skipped and I needed to go back and do them with another doctor since this doctor refused to do it because I needed all the facts. After all this is said and done, I am the one to be living in this body, with the consequences of my healthcare decisions. No matter what the result, I didn’t want any second guessing on my part after the fact. Honoring myself, I called up another specialist and had a second opinion.
Within a week I had an appointment and this second doctor stated, “I wouldn’t do a surgery without a biopsy. If it was benign and did not obstruct any structures in the throat, we could take a watch and see approach.” That day he inserted a scope through my nose to see into my throat, down into my windpipe and determined that there were no obstructions. The following week, I had the needle biopsy test with an ultrasound. The doctor stated, “The nodule has not grown any larger.” The result from the needle biopsy followed a week later. I was told that it was indeterminate, meaning the sample of cells was adequate, although a definitive diagnosis of benign or cancer could not be made. It was also declared as suspicious for cancer.
Although I felt disappointed with the results, I was proud of myself. I decided with confidence to have the surgery as scheduled three weeks later. I did not want to take a chance with a suspicion of cancer involved. When I signed in for surgery, the woman at the front desk said, “We are going to take good care of you.” I began to cry because emotionally, it was exactly what I needed to hear. I knew that I already had taken care of myself and now I needed to trust and surrender to the process.
The nodule was benign. Astonished by the result, I asked the doctor days later when I had my stitches removed if I could have a copy of the report. There in black and white confirmed to me that my situation was different from my sister and my father. After two to three weeks, my thyroid blood levels were tested and were found to be well functioning, without the need for medication.
I was extremely happy and relieved with the result and how I handled my decision. I knew this entire experience went much deeper than removing or not removing a thyroid gland. This was about listening to my inner wisdom and healing my sense of self- expression. I needed to stand up for my beliefs and follow through with them for myself. I knew if I did not have that biopsy, I would have questioned myself for the rest of my life, whether surgery was necessary at that time or not. I learned not only to listen to the feelings and messages from within myself, but also to voice them and act upon them. I empowered myself to make an informed decision without any doubts. I have no regrets because I did what was right for me and my health.