Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I'm a survivor!

I got the "all clear" from my oncologist last week! I'm so happy. It's been 16 years since I was first diagnosed with thyroid cancer. It all started at the beginning of my senior year in high school. I was singing a lot and getting ready to audition for college. I kept having sore throats and noticed a knot the size of a big gumball on my neck. This is one of my senior pictures, you can see the lump in the bottom right part of my neck. This picture was taken 3 months before I noticed any symptoms.

Hey, it was 1993, that style was cool back then! Anyway, we lived in southwestern Kansas at the time. After 10 days of tests and visiting 4 different doctors, I was finally diagnosed with metastatic papillary carcinoma. My first surgery was on September 26, 1992 (does that date sound familiar to anyone?) The weekend I had the surgery, over 100 people came to the hospital to see me. And the hospital was 6 hours away from my hometown! I spent a week in the hospital healing and having more tests done. Before I left to go back home, I had one radiation treatment, which consisted of taking a pill. My goal at the time, was to get home b/c I was nominated for homecoming queen and I didn't want to miss it. I didn't end up winning. 3 months later, I went down to Houston, MD Anderson Cancer Center. I went there every 6 months for the next 4 years. In 1996, an ultrasound showed the cancer had come back. I had another surgery, this time followed by radiation that kept me in the hospital and in seclusion. I hated that. I've been on a yearly check-up schedule since then. I have ultrasounds and more thorough tests every 2 years, when I'm not pregnant or nursing. Had a scare back in 2004, but everything turned out negative.

I'm ready to be done with this chapter in my life. My right side of my neck and face is numb. I have a 9 inch scar on my neck and I'll take medicine for the rest of my life. At one point, I thought this disease had taken away any chance of having a baby. I've had the opportunity to witness and be with 2 other girls who've gone through similar surgeries, one a friend-the other a 10 year old student of mine. I've had good doctors, great doctors, and 1 horrible doctor. My family has been phenominal. The churches I've been a part of during these times have been great. My relationship with Christ has grown through this experience. I know he has plans for me. I see it in my little girls' eyes. My boyfriend turned husband has been wonderful, he is an encourager, motivator and optimist. I don't know what I'd do without him. I know the best time of my life is still ahead.

The Lord will keep you from all harm- He will watch over your life; The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Psalm 121:7,8

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