What a year. The last few years, last few months. I can hardly put into words what I’ve gone through and the challenge of it all. I hope this helps explain where I’ve been and what has been going on.
For a long time now I’ve known that I was sick and something was wrong. I could feel it inside. A deep knowing feel that was something was really wrong. I spoke about it a bit on social media and tried to open that door into my life. I have shared very little because it had not felt right yet. In the last couple of months, I’ve finally gotten answers and it has been a lot to process. Honestly, I’m still processing and trying to understand. Most people think I seem calm, but really I’m still surprised by it all and when I’m overwhelmed and confused about something I process it very inwardly. My calmness does not mean I’m not scared or concerned about my health and future. I do know that I’m doing the best I can and getting the help that I need. That is all I can do.
Let me back up and tell my story. This all started about 2-2.5 years ago. I started noticing that my personality was different. My demeanor and attitude were not as peaceful and calm or levelheaded as I am. I just thought it was related to stress and that doing self-growth work would fix it. As this went on it got worse. Nothing I seemed to do internally was helping me. No matter how hard I tried I felt like a rollercoaster.
With my interest in health and wellness being so prominent I naturally started to dabble more with optimizing my diet and trying some supplements. No matter how healthy I seemingly was, I wasn’t getting better.
A year ago I developed a rash on my legs and I really ignored it for a while. I started using more shea butter and made a special eczema oil blend- in hopes that it would help. It didn’t make a difference and my rash was spreading. So then I was like, what is this? It’s not just eczema. Do I have celiac? Do I have a virus? Do I have a GI infection? Accompanied by personality struggles, extreme fatigue, brain fog, forgetfulness, low energy, etc., it could have been anything. I was in graduate school for nutrition and constantly learning about health. It drove me crazy because I felt like such a hypocrite and it was making me freak about everything. I couldn’t rationalize what I actually had wrong with me.
Next in my journey, my face exploded in hormonal acne. It happened overnight and was impossible to control. My skin had never looked this bad and was worse than any acne I ever had as a teenager. We have all been there and know how it feels to have your skin strip your soul. I was so frustrated and my confidence just plummeted. In a matter of a couple of days, my nice skin looked sick, dirty, and gross. I was so irritated at my body for doing this to me.
At this point, I was doing everything I came across and knew of with no prevail. Everything from gluten-free to eliminating alcohol to quitting coffee to trying skincare products.
I spent a few months battling this more and trying to figure out what I had going on. In the meantime, I knew I had to see a doctor but was overwhelmed with where to start. I knew I needed more than a family practice doctor. I needed someone innovative, who would hear my story and be able to understand where I was at. I had really strong feelings that something serious was wrong and would need the right help to find it. I looked healthy, so most people assumed I didn’t really have anything wrong. I understand that because it baffled me just as much.
Then, my prayers were answered and life started to fall where I needed it to. My husband got a job in California, so we were moving. We would have good insurance and every specialist I needed within a few miles. It was God sent and the greatest gift. I have so much gratitude for the answers I have gotten because of our move to California. Had we not moved I don’t know where I would be right now.
This all started at a regular women’s health appointment, the doctor noticed that I had a lump on my thyroid. She said that in order to do any other work on balancing my hormones or treating me for anything else we needed to check on the nodule.
Thyroid nodules n are growths on the thyroid. They appear without much reason as to why, just as moles appear on our skin. There is not a complete understanding of what causes them. However, just as we get suspicious moles removed and checked for cancer you need to have a thyroid nodule checked more in-depth.
The next step in this process was to get an ultrasound of my thyroid. The results of an ultrasound usually revealed the majority to be benign and others to show signs of cancer. Of course, I was hoping it would be benign and not be a big deal. However, I couldn’t get out of my head “why did I get this?” I live a really healthy lifestyle. It didn’t feel right.
In the meantime of waiting for my thyroid results, I met with an amazing integrative doctor who ran a ton of lab tests for me so that we could determine what was causing my body to freak out at me so much. She diagnosed me with psoriasis (the rash that wouldn’t go away). Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition. Lab results also revealed that I have mold poisoning and elevated mercury levels. The mold levels in my body were just about off the charts. Generally, if a person has a mold exposure their body can detox it. However, depending on the level of exposure and how well their detox system is working, the body may not be able to get rid of it. Mold in the body causes many symptoms, contributes to the development of other diseases, and puts you at a greater risk. Mercury has similar effects, however, my levels are not as high. Regardless, both are of concern, contribute to my health issues and need to be resolved.
My Mold, Mercury, Psoriasis Protocol
- No alcohol
- Eat a vegan diet with exceptions of collagen and bone broth
- Mostly Ayurvedic
- Eat all cooked foods for 1 month. Slowly introduce a few raw things after 1 month. As of today, 2 months later- I am still eating pretty much everything cooked.
- Eat 2 meals per day. Approximately 2/3 of my calories are for breakfast and then 1/3 for dinner.
- Fast at least 13 hours between dinner and breakfast the next day.
- Get plenty of sleep, as needed
- No extreme exercise
- A drawer full of supplements that I take every day
This protocol has been going really well and I’ve been seeing improvement, which is fantastic! I will keep doing it until I or the doctor feel that changes need to be made again.
Back to My Thyroid Ultrasound
My ultrasound results came back suspicious. This was again similar to a mole, where they are looking for abnormalities in the growth pattern. The coloring, size, and shape of my nodule were outside normal patterns. From here the endocrinologist said I needed to see an ENT to have it examined further.
At this point, I was starting to feel pretty nervous and not confident in the prognosis. I kept landing in the unlikely percent. I’m very fortunate that I don’t have to go far to get the best medical care. Alex and I have worked together to make sure I am going to see the best doctor, each step of the way.
My ENT looked at the nodule and did his own scans as well. He determined that a biopsy was necessary to be certain of what type of nodule I was dealing with. The biopsy would reveal if the nodule was benign, suspicious, or malignant. A biopsy is the last step to determining cancer before taking surgical or other treatment measures.
The results of my nodule have come back highly suspicious. According to the ENT, this means there is a 90% chance of the nodule being malignant. Giving me a 5-10% chance that it is benign. The report of highly suspicious meant that there is a small chance of it not being cancer, however, it is such a small percentage that we can’t take any chances on it. The doctor was clear that you can’t take that to mean much. After getting a second opinion it was clear that I have a tumor on my thyroid and will need to have it removed.
Cancer. Tumor. I have cancer. So many terms I did not expect to be me.
These have been solemn and scary diagnoses’ to hear. It has also been confusing because I feel as though my healthy body has betrayed me. As I said, I am calm. But honestly what choice do I have? I have already cried, been fearful, and walked around like a zombie for days. There is no more that I can do except move forward with my surgery and continue with my healing protocol. I am doing what I can and need to accept that I have a cancerous tumor.
I’ve heard that when you have cancer, you know. I feel this way. I said I feel like something is in my body and can’t get out. Whenever someone would talk about cancer I got this deep all-knowing feeling. I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb. At any time someone could call me out of a room or crowd and say “YOU, YOU HAVE IT. YOU HAVE CANCER.” It sounds crazy and eerie. But having been through it…I believe it.
What is the Treatment?
My options were to have my whole thyroid removed along with the tumor or to have only the right side of my thyroid removed with the tumor. I am fortunate that my disease is in very early stages and is slow-growing. It also has not spread to my lymph nodes or other parts of my body. Since cancer has not spread it is very safe for me to only have half of my thyroid removed. It is beneficial for me to go this route because I will not need to take a medication. My thyroid functions properly and just as we can function with one kidney the body is just fine with half of a thyroid. I am grateful that my tumor was caught early and I can do minimal surgery. This is a low-risk procedure and has very minimal risk of complications. My chance of success is 99%, so I feel confident that my procedure will go well and I will have a healthy life ahead of me. Just like with any cancer it could come back in the future. In that scenario, it will have been caught early and I will be able to do the same surgery and continue life on thyroid medication.
I have not yet processed this whole experience, but I feel that there is a lot to learn from it. Gifts often come in strange packages and I’m sure this will be no exception. I’ve become more conscious of how quickly life can change and suddenly life could be taken away. I want to use this experience as an opportunity to grow. I’m excited to see where it takes my mental health, emotions, and spirituality. I hope that someday I write more about this journey. For now, I will keep healing and enjoying life.
Thanks for reading. Lots of love to you and healthy wishes.