In early April (2019), I went to the radiologist at a local hospital so that I could get a biopsy on my thyroid. The lump on my thyroid was growing and the doctors wanted to screen it for cancer. My overall anxiety was limited as I had several friends/family members with similar issues. In this short period of dealing with my thyroid, I learned that thyroid cancer is both treatable and survivable.
As my name was finally called for the appointment, I was led to a room at the end of the hallway facing the main entrance. The last time I went to the radiologist, at the same hospital, was to get my gallbladder examined (2016). During that procedure, I was standing up in a bright exam room – eye level with the medical staff.
This time was different.
At the end of the hallway, I was walked into a dark room with a bed in the middle. My mind immediately raced back to April of 2014 when I was led down the same hallway into a similar dark room. At that time, I was getting “proof” from the radiologists that my daughter, whom I was carrying in my uterus, was no longer living.
This was not the first time I thought about losing my daughter, but in that instant, while getting my thyroid checked, I was immediately triggered.
As I took my place in the bed and spoke to the 3 people in the room, I explained that I was not fearful of the thyroid procedure (mainly because I didn’t know what to expect). As the procedure began, I closed my eyes. There were A few instances, however, where I opened my eyes and glanced at the radiologist standing over and peering down on me. He said little, but his presence overpowered me and I felt extremely vulnerable while I was on display.
As cells were being extracted through several needle insertions into my neck, I started to recall the details of 2014 that I tried hard to push into the back of my mind… The technician was pressing my protruding belly while capturing images for the doctors. She spoke to others in the room using medical jargon. All eyes appeared to look through, rather than at me. Ultimately, they confirmed the demise of the fetus (as my medical records indicated). In those moments I recall my mother falling and crying. I, however, am in a state of shock that renders me initially emotionless (so much so that the doctor questioned my lack of emotion).
As my thyroid procedure comes to an end, my eyes water and eventually I cannot hold back my tears. The technician asks me if I am alright and makes small talk, “it wasn’t too bad was it?” Once I gathered my thoughts, I fumbled to explain that the last time I was in that room I had lost my baby.
I don’t know if it was the same room, but it felt like it was.
A year after Sophia died, I gave birth to another girl. While I often think about what could have been, I have a beautiful toddler that keeps me so busy that those traumatic moments rarely come to the surface in the way it did at the hospital that day. She and I talk about her sister, and we have visited the cemetery where she is buried. In a way, she has become a large part of my healing process. Not only do I have to get myself together on a daily basis to take care of her (even when I’m on my lest leg), my desire to live a long and healthy life is attributable to her.
The day after the exam the nurse from the doctor’s office called and said my tests results appeared fine, but they needed to run more tests. Those tests came back benign. For now, I get to keep my thyroid.
And this April, of 2019, I remember my little angel who would have been 5.