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    User: RachaelC@StF

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    User: CancerNews

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    Procedure or Surgery (Surgery): Modified radical neck dissection bilateral. 2 surgeons, 4+ hrs, 20 lymph nodes removed, one artery nicked, two units of blood lost, parents terrified, 10 inch u shaped scar on neck.

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    Oh No (Cancer has spread/Metastasized): Spent 10 days on a low iodine diet and was all ready for my radioactive iodine abalation treatment. Used thy roger so didnt have to go off my thyroid medicine. Had the diagnostic scan so they could determine the dose for treatment. Expected to hear the dose and how long I would need to be secluded. Instead eight lymph node lit up. They were too involved to address with rai. I would need another surgery, and this one would leave a much bigger scar.

    I was floored. It wasn't a possibility I had really considered. I am traditionally a prepare for the worst pessimist, but I had taken a much different approach with the cancer diagnosis. Glad I did, think it helped with the recovery from the first surgery and no prep or worry would have helped me.

    Mine was an odd case, only one of the lymph nodes in the box around the thyroid itself was involved and it had not gotten hard or shown other obvious signs. Instead the cancer invaded lymph nodes up each side of my neck.

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    Procedure or Surgery (Surgery): Total thyroidectomy. The recovery room was a temporary nightmare, but recovery went well overall. Some hoarseness for several weeks that has resolved itself. The pitch of my voice changed, permanently I wonder, but not so much that others really notice. My annoyingly high pitch sneezed has been brought down a couple of notches, likely saving eardrums of those all around me for years to come! It was an adjustment, getting used to my new laugh, but it no longer sounds fake to me.

    Lack of a thyroid has proved a bigger adjustment than I was prepared for. I thought I would return to normal. I got a lot of encouraging words before the surgery about returning to that mystical place...all well intentioned and likely needed at the time. Cancer changes normal. That is just the way it is. I will get back to something very close I am sure, but wont be satisfied if I hold on to wanting the old.

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    Oh No (Diagnosed): Hadn't been feeling well, seemed to get and keep every bug going around, but put off going to the md. Woke up one am with difficulty swallowing and felt a lump at the base of my neck. Assumed it was just a swollen lymph node but took it as a sign to get to the doc.

    She was more concerned by other issues (which turned ou to just be viruses), but sent me for an ultrasound, with an I'm sure it is nothing but let's get it checked out.

    Ultrasound showed multiple nodes in both lobes of the thyroid. Even though they cant confirm with just ultrasound, looked like textbook pics of papillary thyroid cancer. Fine needle biopsy confirmed.

    It found it easy to be positive, with such an excellent long term prognosis, and knowledge that usually one operation, one radioactive ablation and done.

    Hardest part was knowing I would need to rely on my family for a while. I am a fiercely independent single woman.