It probably started a long time ago, but noticeable symptoms just popped up last week. Not thinking much of the original symptoms, after all I am getting older. It started off with my hormones being whacky. That can be normal for a woman in her early 40’s. I went to my gynecologist and had some tests done. He put me on some light hormone therapy and it helped. Thinking this was all it was I continued on with normal everyday life. Then a few weeks ago I developed a cough. I had gotten bronchitis after my trip to the US and just thought it might be that coming back. Plus, I do smoke. But then it felt like I had something stuck in my throat that wouldn’t go away and my voice started getting hoarse. I needed to get in to see the doctor. You know, sometimes I think it was a mistake getting a medical degree because I know what these symptoms can point to.
I get up early and the power is out. I sat there for a minute wondering if I should go down to the clinic or not with the power out. Well, it’s Costa Rica and they will work with or without electricity. So, I roll out of bed, brush my teeth, get dressed, and head out the door. I get down to the clinic and there is almost no one there. Very unusual. I guess everyone slept in with there being no electricity. I get inside and am trying to dig everything I need out of my purse and wallet to make my appointment, in the dark. The receptionist was nice enough to shine her flashlight over to me so I could see better. I finally found all of my documents and got my appointment for 7am. I have never had one that early. It was already 20 till 7 so there was no point in leaving and going back home, so I just sat and waited.
I let the doctor know what was going on and she checked out my throat. (I don’t like people touching my neck at all, my husband doesn’t even touch my neck. It brings up too many bad memories of a situation that happened over 16 years ago. That is another story though.) She said my thyroid is definitely enlarged right now. Something is definitely going on. I gave her as much of a family history that I could, I only know half. I have no idea who my biological father is so I have no information about his side of the family. Thyroid cancer can be genetic. I also informed her that I used to live close to a uranium processing plant. The doctor gave me a couple of prescriptions for cough medicine and some acetaminophen, these prescriptions cost me nothing out of pocket. There was no co-pay to see the doctor either. She wrote me up an order to have blood work done, I go on Tuesday for that. She also wants me to get an ultrasound done. There is no out of pocket expense for the blood work. For the ultrasound I am going to go to a private doctor because it is much closer to where I live. If I went to the hospital to have it done there would be no extra cost either. The out of pocket expense for the ultrasound at the private clinic I go to, and I don’t have private insurance either so this is the full cost of it, is just under $70. I go tomorrow for that.
After the blood work is completed I will go back to my doctor with the ultrasound results and find out what is going on. It will probably take about a week. I am worried and nervous, but I am not scared. I am not writing this for a pity party or for you to feel sorry for me. I like to discuss things that I have personally experienced and pass that knowledge on to others. We do have a one payer healthcare system here, what you pay is based on your income. You can still go to a private doctor if you like. You can still purchase private health insurance if you want. I use both systems together and it has worked so far for me really well. I will post updates on what is going on and let you know the results of the tests. But please, if you think something is wrong with your body, or that something just isn’t right, get yourself checked out. If I do have thyroid cancer it is usually very easy to treat. If it is just a benign tumor, I will just have to have it removed. I am not letting this get me down at all. I live in a beautiful place with wonderful friends and a very supportive husband. Until mañana. Pura Vida!