Life, Lately.

December 2018 // By Natalie Jean 

Alright gang. Its time to chat! I have been a bit awol on the blog, and for understandable reason. Mid-November I had surgery to remove half of my thyroid and the cancerous nodules/cells that were growing on it. Thankfully, only half needed to be removed which means I won't need to be on any medication or anything like that which is great. For some that isn't a big deal, but at the age of 25 having to take a pill everyday would have been super annoying (especially because I am the type of person who forgets to take her vitamins every few days).

Recently I had my follow up appointment where they checked out my incision and gave me more info about my surgery and condition as well as removed my sutures. Just because it was a really a unique experience, I want to tell you all about the process/day of my surgery and what it took to get where I am today. It might shed some light on things and answer questions you guys might have, especially after reading this last post.

Over the weekend I had a really great conversation with my mother-in-law about all the thoughts, feelings, and fears that come along with a cancer diagnosis. My father-in-law passed away in 2017 after a 5 year battle with lung cancer and my mother-in-law had ocular melanoma (an insanely RARE form of cancer) so basically "cancer" is not a new topic for our family. I didn't even plan on talking with her about it; things just started to spill out. We were saying how even though my surgery seems to have taken care of everything, I don't know if and when I'll ever not have thoughts looming in the back of my mind worrying if it will come back.

I mean, I consider myself to be a fairly healthy person. I'm not a smoker or a heavy drinker. I try to make sure the products I use on my body are made with quality ingredients, even more so now! Its just weird. Its always been something that you think happens to other people. Never something you want to happen to anyone, but just something you hear about your sister's friend's cousin getting. So when it becomes your reality, things sort of shift.

Your perspective, your mood, your intentions, and your goals. They all shift. Because life is a little different now. Time seems different too. It moves fast and slow all at once and you have a MILLION more thoughts swirling around in your head. The time from diagnosis to treatment is a time that felt foggy and confusing and totally unreal.

So let me just share a Reader's Digest version of my cancer journey. The discovery was totally a God-thing. I woke up one morning in June and had severe pain in my neck, my chest was tight, I had shortness of breath and my arms hurt. So option a- a really bad panic attack that woke me from my sleep or option b- a heart attack. Stupidly I googled if 25 year olds could even have heart attacks, and yes...yes they can.

I woke Mark up and said "I think I'm having a heart attack... maybe. Idk." Super chill, ya know? Turns out it wasn't, and after the heart racing stopped I just noticed this dull pain for about 3 days. I went to urgent care, some questions were asked, scans and tests done, and from there I was sent to a specialist.

After a few biopsies, ultra sounds, and scheduling and Rescheduling (so annoying) of my surgery, we finally made some progress. I had a heme-thyroidectomy and what's crazy is that my surgeon said he could feel  the cancerous growth on the organ. Weird.

BUT its all removed! They got it all and I'm cancer free! Praise God :) Every 6 months I need to get an ultra sound to make sure that things are looking good and this past week I had a meeting with an endocrinologist and got some blood work. Waiting to hear back on that, but everything looks to be doing well.

Thank you all so much for all your prayers, kinds words, and gifts! I am floored that so many of you guys reached out. Such a blessing! One thing that I noticed after my surgery is my emotions have been a little out of whack so I started seeing a mental health professional (therapist) and its been really nice. I didn't realize how nice it would be to have someone on the outside of things to talk with.

If you've dealt with thyroid issues or had surgery I wold love to hear your take or how you've been addressing it! Comment below. Also, be sure to follow along on Instagram to get updates as they happen.


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