My name is Virginia. I am I was 24 when I was diagnosed with metastatic thyroid cancer.
Ive been working as a Registered Nurse for over 2 years at a hospital in Norfolk. I am also an alumni of Chowan University in Murfreesboro, NC and Norfolk State University.
3 years ago, I noticed a lump on the right side of my neck. I mentioned it to many doctors and nurses over those 3 years, and none of them thought anything of it. They said "It's just a lymph node". Finally, in June of 2012, my new Dr. came across it during the routine exam and was concerned enough to send me for an ultrasound of my neck. The ultrasound showed a few enlarged lymph nodes and after being sent to an ENT (ear, nose & throat) Dr. I had to have a needle biopsy. The results came back inconclusive. I was then scheduled for an excisional biopsy on Aug. 7. Two days after that, I got the phone call....
The pathology results were back, and I was told I have metastatic papillary thyroid carcinoma. An MRI was scheduled for the next day. It showed the primary tumor on my thyroid as well as the lymph nodes it had spread to.
Since the cancer went undetected for so long, I required a 9hr surgery for a total thyroidectomy (removal of the thyroid) as well as a modified radical right neck dissection (removal of all the lymph nodes on the right side of my neck). One of the largest affected lymph nodes was located behind my carotid artery and jugular vein, which made it even more dangerous. The incision started behind my right ear, extended down to about my collarbone, and then straight across my throat.
Following surgery, I had treatment with RAI (radioactive iodine) to kill off any remaining cancer cells. I had to have physical therapy for months for my right shoulder since many nerves in my neck were damaged during the surgery.
I made the decision to delay this surgery for 4 months in order to finish nursing school. (Which I did!!!!) Surgery was on December 6th, and I was back in class to finish my last semester in January. From the day I was diagnosed, I knew I was not going to let cancer keep me from living my dreams.
As you can imagine, the cost of this surgery and the treatments I need will be quite high. And in an attempt to help my family cover some of the bills, I created this page.
No amount is too small, and every little bit helps.
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