The thyroid and me


I was 26/27 years old when I found a lump on my neck. It was quite bulging so I decided to check it with my doctor. Since he is a General Practitioner, he could not detect what was the lump about and to be safe, he handed me a referral letter to follow up with the hospital. 

I did some tests, blood, urine etc. The doctors at the hospital kept asking me whether it was painful, or did I feel uneasy around the lump area. They came to a conclusion that I had thyroid problem and told me to remove it immediately. What was more upsetting was that the lump is quite huge, according to the X-Ray report and even though they had stuck a needle into the lump to extract the sample, they could not determine whether it was cancer or not. There was 50% chance that it could be cancer. That was why they need to remove the lump so that they could see it clearly under the microscope and do further testing to be certain.

I was horrified. I mean, I had just graduated and was doing fine lecturing at the university. The news came as a complete shock to me. "What if it is really cancer? Is death approaching me?" I kept asking myself.

I did not know what was the cause of it. I did ask the doctors why did I had that thyroid problem. They too, could not ascertain the real reason why I encountered such problem although they quoted stress and depression as factors that could contribute to it being developed. What are the odds that I was also going through depression episodes during that time. I am not sure of the relations but I was certain that my stress, must had to some extent, contributed to my thyroid problem.

The doctors scheduled for an operation. I was placed into a twin sharing room. I was lucky that I was at that time a government servant, so the expenses were all paid for by the government. My room mate, was an aunty who was hospitalized because of her diabetic. I remember the pep talk that we had. She asked about my condition and when I told her about my thyroid, she said, "Oh really? You know, the person who was here before you had the same problem. She died in the operation theatre". Was that supposed to be comforting? You tell me! 😅

When I was pushed into the operation room, all I could do was pray. Ironic isn't it? That you remember Your Creator more when you are so near to death. The thought that they would be pushing a corpse on a trolley out of the operation theatre did occur to me, thanks to the story from my room mate. I shivered more when I thought of this. 

The medical assistant injected me with something and I dozed off, only to feel little slaps on my face after that. "Wake up! Wake up!" I heard a woman instructed me to open my eyes. I did. However, since my head was still spinning, I puked. The last thing I heard before I was unconscious again was that same woman asking for help from the nurses to wipe away my stomach content. Yikes!

I was wheeled out of the operation theatre heading to the normal ward. All praises to the Greatest, the operation was a success. On the same day, a doctor came and told me that there was no complication during the operation and they managed to remove the lump and had already sent it to the lab for results. I would be notified about the result after one month.

A few days later I was discharged from the hospital but my heart was still jumping every now and then. How could I be normal when I was still kept in the dark about the medical result that could change my life forever. 

I still remember the day I went to get the result. I arrived so early in the morning to just kill some time before I was supposed to listen to the bombshells from the doctors. When my name was called, I walked quickly to the doctor's room. I remember a smile. There was no signs of panic on the doctor's face so I thought, this must be good news! I was right. All praises to the Almighty. The lump they removed was not cancer. Consequently he reminded me that I am now left with only one thyroid to function and if that is not functioning accordingly, they have to remove that too and I have to take medication daily for the rest of my life. But for now, I am a free woman!

There was no significant after effect of the operation. Except that I am having palpitation all the time even when I am resting. Every time I go to the clinic because of flu or fever, the doctors would be worried at first because my heartbeat would go very, very fast but when I explain that I have thyroid, they would just nod. 

The other thing that I noticed since the operation is that my memory can not hold for long. Especially when I am saying something. For instance, my intention was to say, "I want to eat rice". I had formed the sentence in my mind but I can only manage to say "I want to" because the words after that would vanish and I can not remember what I originally wanted to say anymore. This actually worries me because I am a lecturer and I rely on my memory to deliver my lecture. I thank Allah for the blessing He gave me. He took some but He replaces with many. I am blessed with good oratory skills so that actually helps a lot. If I am ever in a situation where I lost my words, my brain would somehow quickly form new sentences and the audience did not even notice that I actually had problems with my original sentence.

Students came to me asking how to be confident like me, how to be brave when presenting something, in front of people. They told me that they could not do what I do because they are shy, have no confidence and sometimes do not know what to say. I answer them by asking, "Have you ever caught me staring at the ceiling sometimes while giving lecture?" I know majority of them had no idea that I am actually struggling to keep the sentences in my mind from vanishing. That was why I stare at the ceiling sometimes in the middle of a lecture, hoping that the vanished words would come back to me.

This thyroid problem I had, actually taught me a lot about life. It taught me to remove giving up from my dictionary and to fight for what you want even when luck is not by your side. I do not see words vanishing from my mind as a hindrance for me to be a good lecturer. In fact, I treat it as a battle that I should win, every time. The more this issue is trying to put me down, the more I will rise and give it a smack. And let me tell you this, the vanished words only taught me to be more creative with my oratory skills because when put under duress, my brain works triple as hard to find new sentences to deliver. So, what did I tell you earlier in this post? Never accept defeat without giving it a good fight!

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