Mar 29, 2010 - 5:34 pm
I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer in June of 2009 and had surgery in July to remove my throid and 88 lymph nodes on both sides of my neck...22 of which had some type of carcinoma involved. I'm a 23 year old male, and being in pretty good shape, I thought that I would be able to conquer this thing without a problem. Although I am cancer free after my radioactive iodine treatment and body scans, I am still going through a deep deppression.
I have a scar that goes from ear to ear, and am getting steroid injections every 6 weeks or so to help with the keloid that I developed. I have gotten used to people asking what happened to my neck, but deep down I can't help but feel bothered by the fact that people who don't know me almost automatically lock their eyes on my scar when they first see me. Usually people are nice about it and ask me very politley, but I've run into a few people who have just been plain rude, asking "if I had been in prison" or if I "tried to hang myself"....the latter really bothered me because although 99.9% of people would never be obnoxious enough to ask someone that, it made me wonder how many people actually think this to themselves. Ultimatley, I have become very self consious, and finding myself not going out with my friends as much as I used to.
Another thing that has been bothering me since the surgery has been the numbess in my neck and right ear...just last month was the first time I put a blade to my face to shave in fear of cutting myself from not being able to feel the blade against my skin. It took me about 5 months to be able to lift my arms over my shoulders, but after 9 months the numbness is still their. Anyone know how long it takes to experience full sensation again?
If anyone has been in a similar situation, any advice on how to increase self confidence would be much appreciated. I'm in nursing school in New Orleans, and will be graduating in December with a BS in Nursing. The one positive that I take from my visible scar is that when patients ask me what happened, I feel like I'm able to give them hope and show empathy towards their situation, especially if it involes pain after a surgical procedure. I consider myself a tough individual, both mentally and physically, but this cancer has really drained me mentally...not to mention the hypothyroid effects, which I totally underestimated. Anyways, any advice, especially for anyone my age would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.