Hello, my name is Rachel
I am 27 years old and a student at UNC Wilmington. I transferred here from getting a late start after working my entire young adult life and found I had a passion for helping people, even if just doing something as simple as just listening. I decided to study Psychology, a field where I felt I could do the most good for others.
In the Fall of 2011 I began getting sick frequently. I had constant fatigue, weakness and physical pain in my muscles and joints. I pushed through, completing the semester, even with my grades dropping from A's to B's as I had difficulty focusing and getting through the textbooks. I went to my doctor and when the test showed nothing more than a vitamin D deficiency, I assumed it was fatigue and I just needed some rest over the break.
By early Spring semester 2012 I had continued to deteriorate. I was barely able to get out of my bed anymore, the exhaustion and pain were so extreme getting up for 2 hours at a time was too much. Within weeks I had to drop the semester because I was too sick to attend classes. No one could figure out why I was getting worse.
I felt it before I saw it. A large mass in the front of my neck, that was pressing down making me feel short of breath. I again went to my doctor, showing her what I had found, and she immediately scheduled me for an ultrasound and referred me to an Endocrinologist. Six weeks later, I was in for surgery to remove my thyroid. The final pathology on it found multiple nodules and Papillary Carcinoma in the left lobe of my thyroid.
The recovery is long, I am now nearly 2 months post surgery and while some symptoms have subsided, I am still exhausted and in pain every day. I have only been able to return to work part time as well as trying to return to school, at least part time. I know it will get better with time, but it feels like forever when you want to do these things, but realize how much you've lost.