I have always paid close attention to my health. Despite having many friends who haven’t seen their doctors in years, I have been diligent about my annual exams. A “rather safe than sorry” sort of person, my yearly trip to my doctor could very well have saved my life.
I was feeling great when I went for my annual physical. I was active, exercised several days a week, and had no health concerns. But, during the exam, my PCP felt a nodule or “lump” on my thyroid in the middle of my neck. Something I had never felt before. She advised me to get an ultrasound. I did, and then met with an endocrinologist who said we could biopsy the lump or wait. I didn’t wait. A few days after the biopsy, I got the call that nobody wants to receive. “You have cancer.”
Shocked. Scared. Angry. Upset. I cried the hardest I had in a while. I questioned why this was happening to me. After a day of pure devastation, I regrouped and ultimately came to understand this was all a blessing. What if I hadn’t gone to my PCP? Had the ultrasound? Went to get biopsied? Who knows what could have happened down the road?
I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer— both the nodule on my thyroid and some lymph nodes in the right side of my neck. Come to find out, because my cancer was caught early, it was perfectly treatable through surgery.
I’m sharing my story to hopefully help others. I urge you, no matter what your age, to go to your annual physical and do self-exams to watch for changes in your body. Now, I keep notes on my phone if I experience any health changes and when I go for my annual exam, I am sure to make next year’s appointment before I leave.