I loved Dr. Garner! She is also a musician, and her mother is a professional opera singer who got her vocal performance degree from UNT. She told me the mass was rather large, and was putting pressure on my esophagus as well as some arteries, and the nerves to my vocal folds causing my phonation/speech issues. Luckily, someone came in and cancelled their surgery while I was in the waiting room for my appointment, and I was given her newly available July 26th spot. The plan was to remove my right thyroid and immediately biopsy it. If it was benign I would get to keep my left thyroid in the hopes that I might not have to take thyroid medication for the rest of my life. If it was cancerous, my entire thyroid would have to be removed, and it would become a completely different situation.
I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit scared. I knew there was a possibility that I could end up permanently hoarse, and or have a speech impediment. There was also the ever looming possibility that it could be cancer, and no body wants to be diagnosed with cancer regardless of where it is. I feared the loss of my singing voice, but not for performance sake. I do love singing in choirs, and with Praise and Worship, and although I don't have a bad voice it isn't a voice that anyone would pay money to hear. The thought that sucked the wind right from my lungs was realizing that I might lose my vehicle to teach and direct. I love to teach, and I hear I am pretty good at it. I love my choir, and so much joy has come to me through hearing them learn and grow. I can't imagine doing anything else. There is nothing else I would want to do. This is all much easier to discuss now that I know there is a happy ending.
I wanted to seem as casual and nonchalant about the whole situation as possible so my kids wouldn't get worried, and there were only a couple of times I didn't succeed with this goal. The dam broke in preop when the nurse told me that when I woke up they would ask me to make a series of vowel sounds to make sure my vocal fold nerves were still functional. Holy crap! I had my phone with me because the anesthesiologist was going to use it to take pictures of my tumor once it was removed. She was very sweet, and promised that she would intubate me with the smallest tube possible, and that she would be very careful. Intubation was necessary because they were working around my esophagus so they had to make sure I could breath.
I was nervous yet I had peace at the same time. I have awesome family, friends, and church family who are all very loving, supportive, and had covered me in prayer. I received messages all morning from people letting me know they were thinking about me and praying for me. I would not have been able to deal with this nearly as well a couple of years ago!
I knew as soon as I woke up before anyone even came to talk to me that they had only removed the right thyroid because I was certainly aware of that side of my neck. The recovery nurse was astonished at how well I was talking when I woke up. I was told that I wouldn't be able to talk for a couple of days, and I wasn't even hoarse. She gave me my vowel test which I performed perfectly. I have been blessed with the best case scenario all the way around. It is still uncertain as to whether or not I will have to take thyroid medicine. Only time will answer that. They will begin testing my levels next week.
I will end this summer good as new. No more tumor, no more icky moles, and veins on the mend. My 30,000 mile tune-up!