I was diagnosed with thymoma cancer a few days before my 29th birthday on July 5th 1998. Sometimes myathenia gravis is a warning sign for thymoma so my doctor ordered a routine screening MRI. Neither of us expected it to come back positive. I had CT scans at two different hospitals and all three pathologists found the same mass in my chest.
The surgeon called me and said, "I'm looking at your repeat CT scan and I'm seeing tumor. When would you like to schedule surgery?"
This was surreal. My little girl was playing with a Barbie van, driving it under the coffee table, while I was on the phone talking to this doctor about having surgery. Not a little procedure. A chest cracking, hand me the rib spreader, 9.5 hour marathon surgery. Here's what it looks like *GRAPHIC LINK OF REAL SURGERY* That is what I survived.
The day after surgery my heart swelled. I got an infection. I was so fragile after surgery using a remote control made me cry from the pain. It took a year before I could play the cello. It took two years before I could have a hug without pain. This was a massive surgery. My life is divided into before and after.
On my birthday a few weeks before surgery I told my mom I felt like my life depended on rolling a Yahtzee. The only thing I wanted for my 29th birthday was a 30th birthday. Well, I got my birthday wish. I've had 14 birthdays since surgery. Here's to 14 more! Another year cancer free. YAY!