I don't think I ever blogged about how I was diagnosed. Not a lot of people know the entire story, so I'll attempt to make this brief yet detailed.
May 2006. I'm finishing my finals and about to leave high school forever. While taking my AP Psychology final, I felt pain and swelling at the base of my neck. It was so uncomfortable taking the test. The odd thing was, I felt fine otherwise. I talked to my mom that night, and she thought it was just a swollen lymph node or something. She didn't seem concerned, so I felt okay about it. My sister took me to my pediatrician, and he knew what the problem was right away. "Oh, she has Hashimoto's Thyroiditis." I said, "I have what?" I was so confused; I didn't even know what that meant, let alone how to spell either word. He explained what it was to me, and reassured me that all I would need was antibiotics to help the swelling and the pain. As he was writing the prescription, my sister suddenly asked him if he would write a script for me to get a neck ultrasound, just to check my thyroid out. He nodded and wrote the script for us.
Skip to that weekend. I had the ultrasound done, and the technician was a sweet woman. She reassured me that everything would be fine, and I really wasn't worried. So, I laid down and she began the ultrasound. When she stopped at the left side of my neck, I didn't think much of it. However, when she talked to my family and told us she found something, I was a little nervous, but really didn't know what it could possibly be.
The following week, I was taken to a surgeon at a local hospital. He told me that he would do a fine needle biopsy on the singular nodule in my thyroid. He really was a nice man; he reassured me that it was probably nothing, and not to worry. He only needed to do one biopsy, thank goodness. The next step was the fun part: waiting.
That week felt so long yet so short all at the same time. It was excruciating. The day of my result was the absolute worst. My sister took me to work with her to help take my mind off of it. She gave me work to do and just kept me busy. At one point she and I had a small talk about it as the clock crept closer to my appointment. She said, "Dori, whatever the results are, we will deal with them. Everything will turn out fine. Don't worry." To be honest, it was really hard to listen to her with my stomach doing all sorts of flips and flops. I really didn't know what was in store for me, good results or not.
Truthfully, I don't remember the drive back home, but I am pretty sure Janina and I were just having some small talk and now and then we would discuss how I was feeling and all that jazz. When we were in the elevator, Janina asked me, "Do you want to know the three signs that tell you a doctor has bad news?" I shrugged and said, "Sure." She told me that the doctor would a) avoid looking you in the eye, b) have a solemn look on his face, and c) the first word out of his mouth will be, "Well..." I shrugged and said, "OK," and wished to God that he wouldn't do any of those things.
I sat with my mom, dad, sister, brother, and nephews in the waiting room. I was so relieved that my two nephews and brother couldn't come in; I didn't want them to see me when I got the news. We piled into the patient room and I just kept busying myself with my SuDoku book, as usual. I used it as a crutch and as a shield the entire day. Weakness was an emotion I did not openly reveal.
My heart skipped five beats when a knock sounded at the door. The doctor walked in, spotted me, and immediately looked away from me at every other person in the room. Strike one. I then noticed that he had no lines on his face; it just looked so solemn and serious. Strike two. Tears started to trickle down my cheeks as my dad, jokingly, said, "So, what's the word, Doc?" He looked at my dad with a small smile and said, "Well..." Right then, I lost it. I looked down at my SuDoku book, and just let the tears fall.
As always, my friends, I wish you all love, happiness, and -- most importantly -- good health.