Surgery - kdiamond

Procedure or Surgery Associated with Papillary Carcinoma, Thyroid Cancer. Posted on May 13, 2020 View this journey (3 Experiences)

I was told the growth was large enough to warrant the total removal of my thyroid and that this was the first step of treatment. I did a lot of reading and watched a lot of videos about the procedure and always ended up crying, feeling bad for myself. All of this happened during my winter break. I had just started graduate school, and was debating whether I should go back for another semester with the news that I had thyroid cancer only a week before classes resumed. I also thought about money. I had no means to pay the medical bills I had already accumulated, even with insurance, and had a lot more coming! I had to be in school to get paid under my research assistantship contract since there was no chance of getting a new job when I would be recovering from surgery and radiation. I decided I would go back to school and work as I needed the money, and I needed a distraction. I spent all day crying and feeling sorry for myself for about a week after the diagnosis, and I finally decided to tell my graduate advisor what happened, and that I still wanted to be an active student. He agreed to keep me on the project, no questions asked.
I went back to my college town and my home with my boyfriend to make arrangements with my professors in preparation for surgery and to help myself settle into my new reality. Next thing I know, I’m back on a plane to my hometown for surgery.
Right before the surgery, the surgeon told me they found suspicious lymph nodes. He said he would remove them and would have to make a larger incision than we discussed. Right before I was put under, I was scared my incision would be in the shape of a “L” and I felt sorry for myself again.I felt superficial for worrying about my scar at that moment. When I woke up, the first thing I did was cried before the medication pulled me back into unconsciousness. I remember being moved to my room for the night since my calcium levels were low. I don’t remember much from the hospital. Lots of sleeping, people moving in and out, lots of medication, lots of painful trips to the rest room. Only my family visited since I didn’t tell anyone about my diagnosis. I asked those who knew to not tell others since I needed time to absorb it myself and didnt want to deal with other people. I’m glad my family was there.
I went home after 2 nights at the hospital. I slept a lot at my parents house and my younger sister brought her new kitten to lift my spirits. He liked tonsleep on my neck and pur. I felt like he was a little furry angel.

It was on SuperBowl Sunday when the pain began. The numb drowsiness I felt for about a week was wearing off as I stopped taking the prewcribed main medication.. I had headaches, fever, chills, sweats, loss of appetite, dizziness, nauesea, fatigue, weakness, blurry vision. I started taking the pain medication again to relieve these symptoms.
I was talking to my boyfriend after crying from the horrible symptoms. I was home alone and didn’t know what to do. He asked to chat with video, and when he saw me he told me to stop taking the pain medication. He asked me what I was taking. I didn’t know since I was just taking whatever the nurses gave me in my stupor at the hospital. I grabbed the bottle and showed him. He told me they were opioid pain drugs and that I was exhibiting symptoms of withdrawal. I believed him. I told my family about this, and they didn’t think such addiction could happen so quickly. I think it’s important to spread the word about how addictive opioids are.
I finally felt better after the worst of the symptoms broke a day or so after I completely stopped taking the oxycodon.

A side note: I debated where I should get treatment. My hometown where my parents,sisters, and childhood friends were, or my college town where my boyfriend and new life was. Just due to doctor referrals, I ended up doing everything in my hometown which made it a mess as I had to go back a forth so much. I didn’t know local airlines offered deals for cancer patients receiving treatment then, but that would’ve helped immensely. There is also tension between my family and boyfriend, and they didn’t make an effort to overcome these tensions for my sake during my surgery. My boyfriend wasn’t there, but my family was.

Went as Expected: Agree
Minimal Recovery: Neutral/NA
Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree

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