LB fourth section
May 1, 2018
Dowell was also diagnosed and treated for papillary thyroid cancer between the summer and early fall of 2009.
Dowell’s cancer was discovered after a routine physical when a nurse noticed something unusual and recommended that she received an ultrasound.
While receiving an ultrasound, Dowell was given the option of doing a needle biopsy right there in the office, which she agreed to have done.
Within a month, Dowell had received the news that nodules in her thyroid were cancerous. She said that although she knew thyroid cancer ran in her family, she never experienced any symptoms prior to her diagnosis.
She had also received testing for cancer-related genes after her mother’s diagnosis of breast cancer and says that she was more aware and attentive about her health after that.
When she was diagnosed, Dowell also said that she did not go into a panic mode, but did her research and was determined to stay calm and focused during this time.
Dowell’s focused outlook followed her into the operating room where she underwent a full thyroidectomy in 2009 to remove the carcinoma. With her wife and mother at her side, she remembers feeling calm, even joking around prior to the operation.
Only one side of the thyroid had visible nodules, but the other side was sent down to pathology during surgery and both sides were removed. Dowell was very happy that her surgeon removed both sides at once to avoid possibly undergoing the surgery again
“I’ve known people that have had the surgery and you have to go back and it’s horrible. I’m so glad that he did it all in one shot,” she said.
Dowell stayed overnight at the hospital, and said she didn’t have a lot of pain while in the hospital. She says that the hardest thing for her to deal with once she went home was sleeping in her bed.
“I couldn’t lay back flat. I had to be upright because my neck was weaker from the surgery.”
Dowell’s road to recovery was smooth and steady. She had no pain or other symptoms after her surgery, even when she started taking synthroid.
“I never ever felt any oddities from not having my thyroid. I never had any weird mood swings or fatigue or any palpitations or any things like that.”
After her diagnosis, Dowell has spoken to other people who have overcome the same cancer she once faced, as well as other thyroid diseases, and was always interested to hear about the challenges and symptoms others dealt with. She finds that she can’t relate to these issues, as she never faced any symptoms or unusual pain, herself..
Since Dowell’s diagnosis, nobody in her family has been diagnosed with any thyroid cancers or conditions. She continues to closely monitor her health today.