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Moms need checkups too!

Every new year my husband and I always talk about what the previous year will be remembered for or marked by. Like there’s the year he had his heart attack, the year we moved from Florida to CT, the years marked by fertility drugs and IVF, the year we got our first pet,…etc. Sometimes years are remembered for predominantly medical reasons like the year of the heart attack which was the same year our littlest basically had her own room at the children’s ER for multiple reasons from stitches to Lyme disease. 2018 seems as though it will be remembered as my medical year. I think us moms tend to put our own health on the back burner in various ways sometimes. With 3 kids I sort of feel like I’m always at the doctors or dentists office! My biggest slack off was not having a women’s wellness check since I had my youngest 6 years earlier 😣..well when 2018 began one of my resolutions was to change that!

A few months into the year and I still hadn’t gotten the ball rolling, so my husband took it upon himself to inquire about doctors and make me an appt. He’s pushy like that 🙄 It all began with an OB visit and one bad Pap smear, which then led to a second along with a biopsy and thank goodness all was fine. Next up was my first ever mammogram which also was abnormal followed by a second, then an ultrasound which once again thankfully turned out ok. But at my initial OB visit sitting across the room from the doctor she asked me how my thyroid was…I assumed fine. But why was she asking? She said it looked a bit swollen and wanted me to get it checked out, then one thing led to another!

I made an appt with my primary doctor who of course scolded me a bit for being way overdue for a physical, she then referred me to an Endocrinologist. From there it was a 6 month period of multiple biopsies, bloodwork, ultrasounds, genetic testing and various doctors & appointments. Each step told us that there was a cyst like lump attached to my thyroid that was fairly large and noticeable. Blood work and all other tests showed that the thyroid wasn’t an issue but the tests on the cyst continued to be inconclusive. It was frustrating, scary and we were just ready to figure things out and move on.

Eventually the decision was made that the lump would be removed to be safe and would either be taking part or all of my thyroid with it. I’m not much of a sharer and I certainly don’t speak up very often, so thankfully my husband was always full of questions. He immediately began researching and schooled himself on the procedures & possible results all throughout this process. Me not so much! One google search and pictures of women who looked like their throats had been slit in a back alley and I was done 🙈 Which is the reason I felt it was important to share this on social media. Apparently thyroid issues are way more common than I would’ve expected. Statistics show 1 in 8 women will develop a thyroid issue in their lifetime! For me I didn’t have any obvious thyroid issues. I wasn’t overweight or underweight, I wasn’t excessively tired and my blood work was all normal but luckily someone noticed the lump in my throat.

We decided to schedule surgery during the winter break which was perfect for keeping my mind off of it. So 3 days after Christmas my husband took me to the hospital before the crack of dawn. The hospital and staff were awesome and a few hours later I woke up without a lump and minus the right lobe of my thyroid. Thankfully it proved to be benign and I was able to keep half of the thyroid. It’s been 3 weeks since the procedure, so this week I will be going in for blood work to see if I’ll need to be on any thyroid medication. My surgeon was amazing and my scar will be noticeable but minimal. Fortunately it’s scarf season! But seriously I DO NOT look like any of the scary pictures I first saw when I Googled.

A few days with my throat being sore inside & out, and about 2 weeks without exercising but all in all it wasn’t that bad. At my follow up visit the doctor said the ‘tumor’ was the size of a small egg and it was difficult to conceal the scar because I apparently have a skinny giraffe neck 🤷🏼‍♀️🤣. That was the first time along this whole journey that anyone said ‘tumor’ and I’m so thankful for it. I would have been way more scared & anxious all along the way had they used that term.

I’m ready to put 2018 behind me and would love to not have to visit another doctors office again! But despite my feelings at the moment, I do plan to be better about routine medical care. To be honest if I hadn’t had that first OB appt. the lump could’ve remained there for years! So it’s good I followed through and made that appt. for myself 😝🤣

~Elena 💖

Here’s my neck from a few days after surgery to today ↙️↘️