9.20.2013

real talk


I wrote this yesterday and didn't know whether to post it or not, but ...what the heck.

As I type this, I'm supposed to be preparing to be wheeled back into the operating room.  I've never shared anything about any health issues on the blog (and I do say "health issues" very lightly), but this blog is all about sharing, so I figured I'd just start typing and see what comes out.

Back in December, I visited an ENT because I just could not get rid of a chest cold and thought it could be a bigger problem than allergies or a sinus infection.  Well, that chest congestion I was experiencing turned out to be acid reflux.  I was prescribed some medicine and out the door I went.

I went back to the doctor for a followup appointment a few weeks later.  My doctor felt around my ears and throat -just basic protocol.  But this time, he felt a mass on my thyroid and recommended that I immediately get it looked at by an Otolaryngologist.  So I did ...and after bloodwork, a couple ultrasounds, and a very uncomfortable set of fine needle aspirations, I was told they are about 95% sure it's benign.  My doctor recommended that I eventually have surgery to remove half of my thyroid (they can't take off only the nodule itself), just to be sure, but there wasn't a huge rush.

Since that day, I haven't been able to escape the 5% chance that I have thyroid cancer from my mind.  But this was three months before our wedding.  Personally, I just couldn't undergo surgery that close to the wedding and have a big scar on my neck in all of my wedding photos.  I knew I could wait until the big day was behind us, reevaluate my thyroid nodule, and make a decision during a less intense time of my life.

Six months passed and, as instructed, I had another ultrasound to check out my nodule.  It hadn't grown significantly, but the blood flow through it had increased and it had more solid components, both of which are big warning signs.  Before I knew it, I had a call from my doctor saying I needed to come back into his office to talk about having the surgery to remove it.  You see, the things that doctor's don't like to see in a nodule...well, I have all of them in mine.  It's hyper-vascular (lots of blood flow running through it), it's not liquid (mine is part solid making it "complex"), and it's greater than 1cm (mine is over 3cm). I was told that I could receive robotic surgery to remove it, which would only cause a scar under my arm instead of across my neck.  

Now let's fast forward to today.  11:23am on Thursday, October 19th.  Just seven minutes before my surgery was supposed to start.  But instead, I'm thinking about what I'm going to eat for lunch and what time I'm going to hit the gym today.  My surgery was cancelled pretty late in the game yesterday because of a hold the FDA put on the type of surgery I was set to have.  There was no way my doctor could operate.

My doctor was one of the first five doctors in the US to receive training for this type of procedure using the Da Vinci Robot.  He's extremely skilled and I trust him very much.  However, other doctors across the country, who hadn't received proper training, have been using the Da Vinci Robot to perform thyroidectomies and have had some catastrophic results.  So, the FDA gave them a big slap on the wrist and stopped the use of this robot for thyroid surgery everywhere in the United States.  My surgeon found this out less than 24 hours before my surgery was to take place and I was notified immediately.  The nurse told me that I was the first patient they haven't been able to operate on robotically. 

When things like this happen -sudden changes in our plans that are disappointing- it's sometimes hard to remember that this is in fact God's plan for us. I believe that there must be a reason I was not supposed to undergo surgery with the Da Vinci Robot today. My other option is to have traditional surgery, but this would place the scar on my neck, which let's be real... would be ok.  I can deal with the scar.  But I did have it built up in my head that I would be able to receive robotic surgery, which would just cause a tiny scar under my arm instead. So you can imagine my disappointment, but then again, my relief that this happened because it must be for a reason. Psalm 112:7 tells us "He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD."

Another reason I'm writing this is to bring awareness to the subject. My doctor told me that it's amazing how many people have thyroid nodules, but aren't aware of it.  I don't know how long I've had this thyroid nodule and really, I don't know when I would have found out about it had I not seen my ENT for chest congestion. I can see my nodule when I tilt my head back, but it isn't something that had ever caught my eyes in the past.

You may have heard of Tarek from the HGTV show, Flip or Flop. He recently battled thyroid cancer (read about it here). His nodule was discovered by a nurse who happened to be watching the show and recognized it on his throat. She knew what to look for because of her profession and immediately called his agent to notify him. That nodule ended up being thyroid cancer.  I don't know if mine is cancerous... most chances are that it's not.  But, I'm thankful for the congestion I had, which is the sole reason my nodule was discovered.  There was a great reason for that chest cold and likewise, there's a reason I'm not in surgery right now as planned.  I'm completely trusting in the plans God has for having it removed, even if that means having the traditional thyroidectomy with the scar on my neck.

Proverbs 3:5-6 -- Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. 



44 comments:

  1. Bless your heart. What an emotional thing to be going through. The surgery was most definitely canceled for a reason, you just may not know why. Trust God. Stay strong friend, I am sending prayers your way. and so brave of you to share this story, it will help many people be aware of thyroid cancer.

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  2. Thank you so much for sharing this Megan. I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and this is another example of that. Sending lots of prayers your way. xx

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  3. Powerful. Thank you so much for sharing. God is intimate, personal, awesome and on time. I look forward to this testimony!

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  4. Praying for you Megan! Thank you for sharing your story and your faith!

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  5. You are so brave for sharing your story! I'm not the most religious person but I do strongly believe things happen for a reason and for whatever the reason may be your surgery was cancelled. I can on a tiny scale relate to what you're going through. I got married last December and 2 months before my wedding my Dr. Found a lump in my breast and wanted me to get it checked out ASAP. She figured it was nothing but wanted to be safe. I was 25 by the way so I was freaking out! I'm a nurse so I always expect the worst and knew I didn't want to find out I had breast cancer right before my wedding so I never got the mammogram. I practically forgot about and went to see her a few months later and she still felt it. This time I knew I needed to get the mammogram and I did. I only needed an ultrasound luckily and it was just a cyst. You have opened my eyes to checking my thyroid. Something I never thought about before! I wish you the best of luck with everything! And think about Brooke Burke and with a scar or no scar she's still just as beautiful!

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  6. saying prayers for you, Megan! I have 3 friends (one being a coworker) who in the last 3 years have all undergone this exact same thing. All of them have had traditional surgery, and 2 went through a series of radiation pills. I am shocked at how common this is, and also at how little people know about it (myself included). By putting this out there you are reaching thousands of people and bringing attention to something that could very possibly affect them directly. I hope everything goes ok for you- and that they lift the ban, because I know how dissapointed you must be to not have the Da Vinci surgery. The good news is, you are in Charleston- where some of the best doctors in the country practice! Faith will get you through rough times, and I have full trust in the Lord that he is watching over you carefully. xoxo- Whitney

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  7. I really admire you for sharing your story here on your blog. I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and will be keeping you in my thoughts!
    xo

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  8. sending lots and lots of prayers your way, my love. thank you so much for being brave enough to share this with us!

    when I had my melanoma, I truly couldn't believe something like that could happen to me! thyroids are something you hear so little about, but so many people struggle with them. thankfully, you have a prayer army (in life and from this blog) behind you. YOU WILL GET THROUGH THIS. He doesn't give you more than you can handle.

    please keep us posted. lots of love + prayers! xoxo {av}

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  9. Prayers are with you in the path ahead. Sharing this was extremely brave but brings huge amounts of awareness.

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  10. I never comment, but I wanted to today:) you are most definitely right that the Lord's timing seems clear for you. I had a similar situation 3 years ago, 5 days before my brothers wedding. I had a growth in my pelvic wall and the surgeon said there was a 10% chance it was cancerous. I actually had my kids in the room ( 8 and 5 at the time) and I burst into tears at the shock I suppose.....it ended up being benign and I have a tiny scar that has faded to almost nothing. I am sure yours will be nothing as well but I truly understand how you are feeling. That was the longest few days I have endured waiting for biopsy. Prayers for you during this time! I also know that with a gorgeous face like yours, no one will ever notice a tiny scar :)

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  11. I never comment, but I wanted to today:) you are most definitely right that the Lord's timing seems clear for you. I had a similar situation 3 years ago, 5 days before my brothers wedding. I had a growth in my pelvic wall and the surgeon said there was a 10% chance it was cancerous. I actually had my kids in the room ( 8 and 5 at the time) and I burst into tears at the shock I suppose.....it ended up being benign and I have a tiny scar that has faded to almost nothing. I am sure yours will be nothing as well but I truly understand how you are feeling. That was the longest few days I have endured waiting for biopsy. Prayers for you during this time! I also know that with a gorgeous face like yours, no one will ever notice a tiny scar :)

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  12. This was so brave of you to share and I know God will continue to order your steps; blessing all the doctors who continue to care for you. Sending prayers your way from NC!

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  13. Thank you for sharing and I will be in prayer for you!

    My husband and I are continuing to trust the Lord for His timing and, though we are healthy and not facing any surgeries, are in a waiting pattern. He lost his job at MUSC at the end of May (he is a PhD scientist, did research, and his grant ended)and is now a stay at home daddy to our 10 month old and 2 year old daughters. His unemployment ends in 5.5 weeks and it's iffy if the government emergency funding will be in place for us. I work full-time but don't make enough money to support our family of four; plus, we don't have any family in Charleston to help watch our girls.

    However, Jesus is always faithful and on time. He has made my love for Him grow more and more through this trial and I know He has a perfect will and He shows me how HUGE He is.

    I read this in my devotions this morning and hope it's a comfort to you, too:

    II Corinthians 4:17-18, "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

    Blessings and peace.

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  14. Thank for sharing this and I love your honesty in this. Prayers are with you. XOXO.

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  15. I'll be keeping you in my prayers today Megan!

    My mother had a thyroid nodule removed at my age and I was just diagnosed with hypothyroidism this summer (no nodule though). My mother has a tiny scar on her neck and I usually don't even notice it but when I do I'm reminded about what a strong woman she is. That scar is just a little trophy of one of the many things she's conquered in her life. The same will be true for you - you are strong, beautiful, graceful, and intelligent. And one day your children will catch a glimpse of your scar and know this too.

    I hope your recovery is fast and easy!

    -Scotti

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  16. Sending a prayer your way. It is truly how many stories there are like this (my sister in law is living a similar one with lung cancer). Please keep us posted.

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  17. My prayers are with you Megan!

    xox

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  18. What an ordeal to have to go through! Things might not be going the way that you planned for them to go but it is all part of His plan. Keep the faith!

    And as my four year old would tell you - scars make you tough!

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  19. Bless your heart! So courageous of you to share you story. I had my thyroid removed 5 years ago because of a cancerous tumor on my left nodule. It was scary to go through and hard for others to understand exactly how I was feeling. I think you writing about it is a great way to deal with all of the emotions. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask. :)

    Be strong! xo

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  20. Thank you for sharing. I'm been reading your blog for months and really love it. I can relate to your story so much, I was in a car accident a few years ago and I was just finally sent to see a physical therapist who asked me if I ever had my thyroid looked at, which I never had. I went and had a fine needle aspiration, and in June at 24 years old I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer had my thyroidectomy the same month, In a few weeks I’ll have my radiation treatment, and then hopefully all will be well. I hate to tell people that I have cancer, because even though it is cancer, I’m not going to have half of the side effects of people who have other kinds of cancer, so I consider myself to be blessed!
    I did so much research and saw these awful scars and I was really scared that my scar would noticeable, but it’s funny it’s not really noticeable at all. It’s a little scar right on my throat and it’s really not that noticeable at all. At first I was pretty self-conscious of it, but it’s not a big deal. I’m going to be honest a week after your thyroidectomy is sort of difficult, but a week after you should feel like your old self. It’s crazy because every time I tell someone that I have thyroid cancer, that person knows of someone with it, especially young women. It’s so important for everyone, but especially younger women to get their thyroids checked out, and I was really glad to read your entry today telling your readers how important it is, so thank you.

    I wish you nothing but the best & my prayers are with you. Remember tough times don’t last, but tough people do!

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  21. Thank you for sharing. I'm been reading your blog for months and really love it. I can relate to your story so much, I was in a car accident a few years ago and I was just finally sent to see a physical therapist who asked me if I ever had my thyroid looked at, which I never had. I went and had a fine needle aspiration, and in June at 24 years old I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer had my thyroidectomy the same month, In a few weeks I’ll have my radiation treatment, and then hopefully all will be well. I hate to tell people that I have cancer, because even though it is cancer, I’m not going to have half of the side effects of people who have other kinds of cancer, so I consider myself to be blessed!
    I did so much research and saw these awful scars and I was really scared that my scar would noticeable, but it’s funny it’s not really noticeable at all. It’s a little scar right on my throat and it’s really not that noticeable at all. At first I was pretty self-conscious of it, but it’s not a big deal. I’m going to be honest a week after your thyroidectomy is sort of difficult, but a week after you should feel like your old self. It’s crazy because every time I tell someone that I have thyroid cancer, that person knows of someone with it, especially young women. It’s so important for everyone, but especially younger women to get their thyroids checked out, and I was really glad to read your entry today telling your readers how important it is, so thank you.

    I wish you nothing but the best & my prayers are with you. Remember tough times don’t last, but tough people do!

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  22. Megan, no matter what happens I wish you the best. You are handling this better than a lot of people would. I'm glad you shared so we can all pray for you. I comment once in a while but read your blog everyday for inspiration. I am pulling for you in AZ!

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  23. My husband played baseball with Tarek all while growing up and they are still friends. So sad you're going through this also, but glad you have such great doctors! Is this the same thing Brooke Burns had? If so, her neck scar is so tiny :)

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  24. I think it is wonderful you are sharing this- more prayers will be sent your way and I will be sure to add this to my list!

    My Mother had the exact same thing when she was our age and had hers removed. (So she is sure that I get my thyroid checked) I know she was terrified when it was happening but is grateful that she is healthy now! Her scar is barely noticeable (you wouldn't know it unless really looking for it!) and she has been clear since the day it was removed!

    I just know you will come out of this healthier than when you entered!!!

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  25. Thinking of you. What a scary ordeal to go through - just make sure to reschedule no matter what!

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  26. Thank you so much for being brave enough to share such a personal post! I can not imagine what you are going through but you and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers! Stay strong and keep trusting in God, he always has a plan! Have a wonderful weekend too, try and relax and have a little "you" time!

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  27. You may consider Afirma testing to r/o cancer; then, if nodule is benign , proceed with PEI therapy!

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  28. Wow, Megan! I'm so thankful you shared this. It's very personal but it brings attention to timing... God's timing is perfect. You will never know what might have happened if you underwent the surgery yesterday... and you don't need to because you trust in God and that speaks volumes about your character. Stay strong girly. Praying for you!

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  29. Praying for you! I'm a nurse- and while I don't think I'm an expert I do know there are other options. I don't know if your doctor is able to perform this technique for thyroidectomies, but it is possible for them to make the incision behind your ears. This would eliminate the scar being on your neck. While your health is far more important than a scar, I just thought I would let you know so you can possibly discuss it with your doctor. Wishing you nothing but the best!

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  30. You know I am here for you and always happy to chat more about the procedure or after-math. I'm proud of you for sharing your story and will continue to pray for your good health!

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  31. Megan,
    I was so amazed to read this! I have experienced almost EXACTLY this scenario. I too battled the feeling of wondering if there was some small chance I had cancer even after fine needle aspirations found no sign of malignancy in my 4 cm nodule. Unlike you, I have opted to wait and continue monitoring my nodule via ultrasound yearly to check for growth etc. My nodule is also vascular and solid, so I know how it feels to have all the "bad" attributes and wonder. I do not know all the details obviously, but I would encourage you to continue looking at this as a blessing in disguise. Perhaps surgery wasn't what God has planned for you. I will say a prayer for you as I can truly commiserate with how you are feeling having been there!! All my best! Feel free to contact me if you had any questions...

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  32. Praying for you! The Lord has his reasoning & timing for everything...He will get you through this! Thanks for sharing & being honest & real. God bless!!

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  33. Megan, you are in my prayers. I can't imagine the worry that has been heavy on your heart and mind and then the disappointment of having surgery cancelled at the last minute. I know scars aren't "pretty" and I have quite a few myself from surgeries and procedures as a result of being born premature. I have a huge scar that runs from under my arm pit half way across my back underneath my shoulder blade in addition to numerous others (a neck scar too). Of course I'd rather not have them, but they remind me that I was (and still am) a tough cookie! Wishing you good health and peace of mind! xo

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  34. Praying for you sweet girl! Stay strong!

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  35. I don't usually comment but had to respond to such a heartfelt post.

    This seems like a very stressful experience to be going through but you are handling it with so much grace and faith. I wish you all the best.

    And thank you also for bringing awareness to your readers about getting their thyroids checked.

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  36. I had my entire thyroid removed in 2006 and the scar is not noticeable at all. When I tell people I had the surgery they are surprised and say they never noticed the scar. Praying for you. Thyroid problems are nothing to mess with!

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  37. i got chills reading this. i am praying for the right answer and for healing!

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  38. praying for you in this time. I am writing the verse from Psalm 112 around my house. Love it!

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  39. Thank you so much for sharing. Sending prayers your way.
    xx krystin

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  40. Hi Megan,
    I stumbled upon your blog (one of my friend's follows you!) and couldn't help but comment. My husband found a lump at the base of his neck (which ended up being a nodule) 9 months into our marriage and after a biopsy we learned it was cancerous. I think the most terrifying part is hearing the word 'cancer' and then every terrible thought runs through your brain. Thankfully it did not spread into his lymph nodes and after a round of radioactive iodine along with yearly scans and a daily Synthroid, he's good to go.

    Thyroid cancer is the most treatable and although you may have a beauty mark on your neck from your scar, you will live a long and healthy life! I hope your surgery and recovery go well. The Good Lord and His timing are on your side.

    Best,
    Chase

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  41. You are so brave to share your story and really you might have just helped somebody else as well. That is so powerful. I know how it feels to have a scar. I had a benign tumor that left me with a 4 inch scar on my leg. If you have to have the regular surgery, maybe you have have a plastic surgeon do the closure? Praying for you!
    marcy

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  42. Hi Megan, I had the traditional surgery 10-years ago and I had a lump the size of a lemon in my thyroid. It was so stressful and I was nervous about the scar as well. However with a couple lazer treatments, you can hardly see it. I regulate my thyroid with medicine and have scans every year. There are moments I wonder 'what if I just held off on no having the surgery so I don't have to deal with this for the rest of my life?' However I went to several doctors and they recommended surgical removal so I have to trust in their expertise. I still have a small lump (I named to Sweet Pea) but the doctors said the the nature of it isn't concerning so there's not need to removing the remaing half of my thyroid. The point of my rambling - ten years later, I still remember waking up after surgery and seeing the relief in my husband's and Mom's eyes that I was going to be ok.

    Best of wishes to you

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  43. I just found this story through your 2013 recap! I can't believe I missed this post. I went to an endocrinologist last may to have my thyroid biopsied. My primary care physician found my thyroid was enlarged at a check up. After they did an ultrasound on my thyroid they wanted to biopsy it because it was abnormally large and didn't have distinct lines around it. After getting poked with about 5 needles, I had to wait until the following Monday to get the results. I was a nervous wreck!! Luckily the biopsy came back benign!!!! Such a relief. I went back in November for another ultrasound and it's continuing to grow. I go back next spring where they will look at measurements again and decide on surgery. Thanks for sharing your story!!! Although I don't wish this on anyone, it's nice to hear someone else's story with a similar situation that I can relate to!!

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