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    Posted June 11, 2014 by
    Greenville, Texas
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Living with a chronic illness

    Check Symptoms-Not Just Labs!

    I am 45 years old and up until a few months ago I thought I was healthy. Sure, there were many days I felt tired, but I am the mother of 5 children ages 11-24 and a grandmother of one precious little boy. I also work with special ed children at an elementary school and drive a school bus part time. I have put in many 11-12 hour days. Who wouldn't be tired! I have struggled with IBS since I was a child but learned I could keep that under control through diet. As long as I can remember I've had low blood pressure, low body temperature and I have felt cold. I guess you just get used to it. After all that was "normal" for me. I've always been careful to get regular health checkups and my health quotient has always been in the 90's. When I got married I weighed 110 pounds but with each baby I held on to 10 of those pounds so in 2011 not knowing how badly I needed too, I decided to eliminate gluten and sugar from my diet and within in a year I dropped 40 pounds! I should note I have also had 8 miscarriages. I have miscarried 1-2 times betweens all of my babies. One baby had an extra chromosome but the doctors never could figure out why I was prone to miscarry. None of the test they ran ever came back "abnormal." Fast forward to September 2013. I was sitting at my computer and reached up to rest my hand on my throat. With my right thumb, I felt a bump and it alarmed me. I had never noticed it or felt it before. I made an appointment with my doctor. She too could feel it but assured me it was probably nothing to worry about. Many women have nodules on their thyroid. She sent me to have a sonogram which revealed a 2.3 centimeter nodule on my thyroid. The next step was meeting with an ENT. He too assured me it was nothing to worry about, but just to be safe he ordered a biopsy called an FNA with an endocrinologist. The endo took my health history, felt of the nodule and said, "This will be nothing to worry about it." When I went to the follow up appointment with my normally bubbly ENT I noticed his demeanor had changed. He came in with a serious look on his face. I immediately knew something was wrong. He explained I had Hurtle Cells in my thyroid. He said, "I can't tell you, you have cancer so we have to look at genetics. The genetics are pointing to cancer. I was in shock and until I researched Hurthle cells I didn't realize how serious it was. Hurthle cancer cells are rare but very aggressive. If they go beyond the thyroid (and there was already a 30 percent chance they had) they metastasize to the lungs or bone and there is no treatment or cure. To put it simply it could be 5 years, if you are lucky you might have 10 but you are going to die from it. My doctor gave me the option of taking half the thyroid out, but with smaller nodules on the left side I opted to have it all out. This past January 2014 I had a total thyroidectomy. My thyroid was so diseased it took the doctor hours to get it out. He said it was "sticky" and I'm very lucky I don't have vocal cord damage. It took 2 weeks for the pathology report to reveal the Hurthle cells were indeed contained within my thyroid! I praise God for that! My ENT diagnosed me with Hoshimoto disease. How it went under the radar for so long is beyond me but it can happen when doctors only look at surface labs and not look at symptoms. No one in my family has thyroid disease but I'm carefully watching my 4 girls for it. In fact, I have requested they do thyroid testing and not just the TSH. I hope my story can help someone before it's too late. If I had known years ago that I had an autoimmune disease I might have been able through diet to save my thyroid. I am on Synthroid and Armor and will be on it for the rest of my life. I'm grateful for medicine and each day I'm given with my precious family.
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