Humans have this interesting ability to not only adapt to pretty much anything, but to become attached.
When I was 15 my doctor felt a lump in my throat; it was a thyroid goiter. Not just any thyroid goiter though. It was so big that it’s embarrassing to say I didn’t notice it myself. The most surprising thing about it? It wasn’t cancer and all my levels were normal.
I kept that thyroid goiter for 13 years.
Over the years I had a few dates “confirm” with me that I was in fact female. I guess the combination of a low voice and a lump in my throat threw some of them off.
At the doctor’s office I was a celebrity; every time I went for a visit I would be paraded around like a prop to all the residents. Apparently it is unheard of to have a benign goiter that large causing no major health issues.
Despite the endless blood samples and the mildly lopsided reflection in the mirror, I grew to like my goiter. It became part of me. Eventually it began to grow again, pushing on my esophagus. I had it removed a couple of years ago. It’s a good thing I did- they found precancerous growths underneath it.
Now, all I’m left with now is a somewhat numb (but almost unnoticeable) scar and a normal sized right thyroid. To this day I still reach for my throat expecting my goiter to be there. I’m still shocked when I look at my neck in the mirror and it”s not there.
The goiter caused me discomfort, countless trips to the doctor, pints of blood, and the unspoken concern that it would become cancerous. I wasn’t born with it and I certainly didn’t want it. But now that it’s gone I feel like a little piece of my identity went with it.
The human mind is a strange thing.