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Thursday, March 3, 2011

My Troublesome Thyroid

I am scheduled to have a total thyroidectomy at the end of this month and have spent endless hours searching for information and answers so that I might make an informed decision.  I want to be sure that I am doing the right thing.  I have found first hand accounts that have inspired me and even more that have scared me.  I have been trying to find a realistic picture of this process but I have to admit that I have spent some time dwelling on the negative experiences of others.  I want to stay positive and move forward through this experience and since I haven't been able to find many whole stories I thought that I would start this blog.  I am new to blogging, so please bear with me, as I find my voice.  I plan to start with a few blogs to give a history until now, and then I will continue with a real time account as I continue on this journey. 

I'm not quite sure when I first noted the lump in the front of my throat, but I do know that I spent some time ignoring it.  I knew that it was there and that it was likely my thyroid but I didn't talk to my doctor about it.  I thought that it must be nothing.  I had a family to look after, as well as a demanding full time job.  There would be times when I would imagine that I had symptoms of either hypo or hyperthyroidism so I did go to the doctor for blood tests to rule these out, but the doctors never noted the mild swelling in my throat.  (At least they never mentioned it to me).  My test results always came back normal and so I convinced myself that the mass must be nothing...even while part of me knew that thyroid cancer doesn't result in symptoms of hypo or hyperthyroidism.  I thought that if I wasn't sick it was fine. 

Then I started to have difficulty when I lifted my arms above my head or leaned over to far.  I would start to choke and cough.  I just avoided these positions and continued to ignore my thyroid until I developed a terrible flu.  I had severe respiratory symptoms that kept me in bed for days.  I am an asthmatic and so respiratory illnesses always seem to hit me harder.  I had difficulty breathing but it wasn't related to the asthma.  It was more like a choking than the chest tightening symptoms caused by asthma.  Finally I went to my doctor and said "my thyroid is enlarged".  She agreed and sent me for an ultrasound, and a consult with an endocrinologist; and that was the beginning of the journey with my thyroid. 

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