I never expected to have to deal with a cancer “scare”. I mean, that’s not something that happens to me right? Right? Apparently, I’m wrong. It’s not that I’m not realistic about my health. I’m a little sun baby and responsibly, I get my spots checked every year but of course, it all comes back clean every time. I sunscreen it up and I do my routine “girly” check-ups. I thought I had it all covered.
So who would have expected that a mere month ago, my mum would notice a lump on my neck that would lead to us having to discuss the “C” word?
It all happened very quickly, and aside from mentioning that I needed some cheering up, I kept this ordeal off the web because until now, I wasn’t really ready to talk about it. But since I tweeted about my surgery on Wednesday, I’ve received so many well wishes which reminds me how amazingly supportive this internet community can be (creepy paedophiles aside) and it really does give me “boost” (Maria will get this joke) to have your support.
To expand a little more on the dribs and drabs I’ve tweeted, in January while we were in Hong Kong, my mum noticed one side of my neck was “puffier” than the other. It seems really strange that I didn’t notice it myself but hey, mothers do seem to know best after all. Upon returning to Sydney, I consulted a GP, who sent me for some ultrasounds and blood tests to check my thyroid levels. The bloods came back normal, the ultrasounds showed a large solid lump (4cm x 3.5cm… so like, a little egg). I underwent biopsies, which is all kinds of un-fun, to determine the make up of the lump.
At this point, I was still feeling completely positive, having been told by a number of people that they all knew someone who had lumps grow in their thyroid, all of which were benign. Of course, I expected mine to be too.
So when I saw the doctor and she told me that in fact, mine weren’t benign, I was so shocked I actually laughed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying “I have cancer” so please don’t bestow that level of concern on me. While not malignant, my lump was showing signs of malignancy, containing mutated cells which had a 10-15% chance of becoming cancerous.
10-15% chance? That is high enough for me, thank you very much.
And so on Wednesday 29 February, I was at the Mater Hospital in North Sydney (which is a very nice hospital, I might add) having a left-hemithyroidectomy to remove the whole left thyroid gland in which the lump had taken up residence. The surgery went fine, I am sore and doped up on some killer pain meds, and healing myself (physically and emotionally) with my favourite comfort food, pork and daikon soup.
For those of you who knew me a year ago, you know I need this surgery like I need a hole in my head, right? Eerily, exactly a year ago on 28 February 2011, I was admitted into hospital for a right-hemicolectomy (38cms of my large intestines were removed) and I am still recovering from that damn surgery!
Now I have two awesome scars. So don’t mess with me, bitches.
And thank you all again for all your support. I really do appreciate it.
Update 12 March: Last week I received my pathology results. All clear, no more “c” word and YAY!
|Pork & daikon soup (easiest recipe ever)|
|500 grams pork ribs, chopped into chunks (get the bone and fat as they add to the flavour)
1 large daikon, peeled and chopped into chunks
|Makes… a pot.|