Happy anniversary to me or at least the scar on my neck! Ten years ago my left Thyroid was whipped out by a surgeon who looked like Dick Van-Dyke along with a lump the size of a tennis ball.
Over the period of six months from around the time of my 21st birthday in February to August, the lump had grown from being several small lumps (I got to see them in an ultrascan - shame I couldn't get a picture and name them all) into one big lump. The surgeon was great (even when he used a massive neddle in my neck to get a sample) as he arranged for the operation to happen during my summer holidays from uni. I was glad to be having the operation as I was finding it harder to breathe and I had lost all of my lovely curves - I could actually fit into clothes from Topshop!
Apparently I was down on the operating table for many hours but I can't remember anything only that I woke up feeling really really cold and it was the hottest day of the year. The operation was performed by the NHS, and the care I had from the nurses and doctors was amazing even though I might have scared them with my low blood pressure ( I like to buck the trend in my family with the whole high blood pressure fan club). The surgeon even came and visited me in my part time job at the bookshop to make sure I wasn't doing any heavy lifting so I didn't undo any of the healing around my neck.
The recovery time was long* - I didn't realise how much you use your neck even when you're not turning around so I spent much of the time in a druggy haze with some sweet painkillers. Not only did my operation rid me of my left side of my thyroid but it also made me a bit queasy around blood (it was seeing the drain for my blood next to me that did it) which means that if you need medical attention then I'll perform it with my eyes closed. Three months after my operation, I served a woman in the bookshop who pointed at me (yes, really) and said that she had had the same operation and she revealed a horrendous scar - that lunchtime I went and bought some scarves and my collection grew very quickly but nowadays the scar is neat and tidy, and it only makes an appearance when either I'm stressed or I've squirted perfume on it by accident.
I still have to take my medication daily (which I'm not that great at doing) - if I don't then I feel like a toy who needs winding up as I've lost all of my energy and if I forget to take it for a few days (because I might be a bit crap at picking up my prescription) then I start to feel like I have a cold and feel like there could be an inner hulk waiting to burst out (has never made an appearance...yet). I can burn the candle at both ends but my candle is smaller than everyone else. The only other thing is my weight - it's harder for me to shift those pounds even though I go to the gym several times a week. Nothing makes me feel more useless than people body shaming with 'but you should be thinner because you go to the gym' but then, in my opinion, those sorts of people body shame others because they have their own body issues. Nobody is perfect and I like my scar - it tells an interesting story.
If anything my operation has made me more determined and full of energy to do the things I want in life. Having a long recovery period meant I could think about what I wanted to do and one of those was to take my writing serious (even though I was already doing my uni course on writing) and to continue to improve even though it was going to be a long slog. Plus I knew that I wanted to do a Masters degree too plus there were a few other things I wanted to achieve (which I did then promptly lose, so erm, lets move on with the story). So fast forward 10 years and I have my Masters degree and I'm currently redrafting my second novel. Recently I've been dragging my feet but remembering today and how I felt back then has made me more determined to get this thing finished so I can have another novel sitting on my hard drive.
*and when I say long I mean enough time for me to watch endless episodes of Stargate while under the influence of strong painkillers.