The descent into Cancerville began on a week like any other. The only difference was that my throat had become a little ticklish and I had an occasional irritating cough.  There wasn’t any real indication of something dangerous. My week was a simple schedule, no work, my biggest concern was choosing between two job options. I had just graduated from college and I was either going to work for The Prosper Group or for Givelify. I was on top of the world; I was excited for myself that life was just working out..

My throat progressively got worse and a lump developed on the side of my neck and I eventually went to an immediate care clinic, run out of Community East Hospital, to check to see if I potentially had strep throat or something similar. The doctor looked perplexed and suggested that I had a goiter. I didn’t believe his diagnosis because in my mind a goiter is caused by a lack of iodized salt and I live in America… land of the salty goodness. It started to worry me that I didn’t know what was actually wrong with me, though had no idea that cancer was a consideration at this point. I remember being afraid, but not knowing why, or what to be afraid of.

It was ultimately a good thing I didn’t believe him. Within a day, the lump grew in size to the point that it started to crush my windpipe and it increased the pitch of my voice considerably. I spoke high-pitched like a small female child. I remember becoming something just short of terrified as we rushed to the emergency room.

This also caused Laura to panic. While I was at the Community East Emergency Room, Laura informed the physician’s assistant that I had taken pain medicine and drank a bit of beer (honest mistake, I poured it out as soon as I realized it was a bad idea). However, that’s all it took for the physician’s assistant to assume that my high pitched voice was the result of that stupid sip of beer and not of a larger issue. She refused to care about the massive lump in my neck and continued with the assumption that it was a goiter and a subsequent allergic reaction. I was extremely frustrated and did my best to let the physician’s assistant know it, but she never let me talk to the actual doctor because I wasn’t deemed important enough. I will never forget my treatment at Community Hospital and I will never ever return there for anything.

If you are certain you are right, or that your questions and illness isn’t being properly cared for, speak up! Don’t let assumptions ruin your health care!

We called my primary care physician and let him know about my condition. He recommended an ear nose and throat specialist and he in turn ordered a biopsy be performed after looking down my throat and noting no internal reasons for the swollen lymph nodes.