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Every End is a New Beginning

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As I lay there in the hospital bed, alone, just thinking, I thought about several things. Will my problem finally go away? Can I live a normal life like the other children? I was uncertain the answers to any of the multiple questions in my head. I was too young to understand exactly what was going to happen during this procedure. But I knew, the outcome of the surgery, I was supposed to be fixed. My thinking got interrupted as my hospital bed starts being rolled through the hospital. It was time. The gurney opens the doors to the operating room. Looking around to only see multiple doctors and medical equipment. The doctor leans over me only to whisper now count to three..okay so I count one…two…three.

Ever since kindergarten, when a bee stung underneath my neck on one of my thyroid glands, I had a goiter on my neck. A goiter is an enlargement of the thyroid gland; it can become very large so that it can easily be seen as a mass in the neck. My goiter was external not internal. It became a thin tissue formed as a round ball filled with puss. It would burst and puss would leak out. The ball would reform again and just repeat bursting continuously.

It started to form when I was in Kindergarten, but did not become noticed until half way through first grade. The school nurse had seen the goiter on my neck and called my parents immediately. My parents could not figure out what was wrong with my neck, so they had decided to take me to the doctors for a diagnosis. I had gone through multiple doctors because none of the doctors could figure out a solution. I ended up with appointments to an ear, nose, and throat doctor, named doctor Reid. This became my primary doctor throughout my childhood. At first Dr.Reid, helped by trying different ways to first diagnosis the problem and then solutions to care for it. I was prescribed multiple medicines, and every few months the medicine I was on would get switched because it would either not work or wasn’t the correct medicine I was supposed to have. After Dr. Reid could not find a medicine that I was supposed to be on that would help, he referred me to a drug specialist. I would go to both doctors every few weeks for check ups. Several check ups later; both doctors decided surgery was the only option. My parents couldn’t decide what was the best option and if surgery was the right thing to do. They talked about it for several days, thinking of the pros and cons of a surgery. Eventually they came to the conclusion that the pros outweighed the cons. So surgery was scheduled for me.

Most of the decisions, dealing with my neck, throughout my childhood were made for me because of my age. I didn’t have much say in what I wanted or needed to do. Decisions that were made throughout this situation, some I wish I could have made for myself and other decisions I didn’t mind that my parents or doctor chose. The decision of surgery scared me at first and I didn’t want to get surgery done at all. I remember crying and throwing a fit about it. My mom and dad had to reassure me that this was the best decision and it had to be done. There was no other option. I realized I’m just going to have to suck it up and deal with it, because it was unavoidable. I wouldn’t have to go through any more pain than I had already experienced before, so I just thought to myself it couldn’t be that bad. Also, I thought to myself, if the surgery works I would not have this problem anymore. I was so use to getting shots and blood work that it didn’t even affect or hurt me. My doctor explained the procedure to me thoroughly since my parents and I were worried.

My doctor began explaining, “On the scheduled date of the surgery, arrive to the hospital, and fill out some paper work. When that is finished, the nurses will collect your weight, height, and blood pressure. Your going to put a gown on and then you’ll have a seat on the bed. Then a nurse will start your IV either in your hand or arm. Shortly after that, you’ll be taken into the operating room to start the surgery.”
Shaking my head with certainty I said,

“Yes I understand.”

The night before surgery I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything until the morning after my surgery was complete. I missed school that day and also for the rest of the week. My mom, step dad Alan, and I woke up real early in the morning the day of surgery in order to get to the hospital on scheduled time. At the hospital, we spent awhile in the waiting room, my mom filled out all sorts of papers. Once the paper work was finished, I heard my name, “Shannon,” said a nurse. We all got up and headed to another room to take my height, weight, blood pressure. I remember just looking around feeling out of place. It was cold, bright lighted, and scary. The hospital made me feel unsafe and out of my comfort zone. The nurses had me put on a hospital gown and socks and sit in the bed till another nurse arrived to start my IV. I didn’t want this other nurse to arrive because I knew what was coming next, the IV, which I was terrified of. Since it was out of my control the nurse arrived anyways. The procedure for the IV in my arm was started. The nurse wiped my arm with an antibacterial wipe, which kind of felt like it stung but in reality it didn’t hurt at all. With my arm sitting out and a rubber band tied around the upper part of my arm super tight, I knew the pain was actually about to come this time.

The nurse asked, “Do you want to hold your mom’s hand Shannon?”

I just nodded my head and held her hand and looked the other way. It didn’t hurt as bad as I thought because I wasn’t expecting it. After the IV was completed, everything was in order to start the surgery. The doctor and a few nurses came into the room telling my mom and dad that it was time for the surgery to begin and for them to have a seat in the waiting room until the procedure was finished. After my mom left that’s when it all kicked in, that this is actually going to happen. In an instant I felt more alone than ever. I lay in the hospital bed while they began to push the gurney towards the operating room. The short path to that room felt like the longest few minutes ever. During that trip to the operating room, I just spent my time observing. Before I knew it, the gurney was opening two huge doors spelling out emergency room. This room was brightly lit and I knew this was finally the real deal, when surgery actually begins. Numerous nurses and the doctor all were waiting for my bed to be pushed towards them. I knew this was the part where I “go to sleep” and wake up with my surgery finished. The doctor leans over me with the mask of general anesthesia, telling me to count so I count one.. two…
I have learned that you have to accept what happens in your life for what it is because it is out of your control. This was either the end to a new beginning or a continuous chain of events. Unfortunately, this was just the start of my train wreck of a childhood. Four more surgeries later and my problem was finally diagnosed and gone.





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