Pushing Through It

UCLA Health article

I got my ears pierced on March 20. 2 days later, I was with the school nurse to have her help me clean the wounds. I felt dizzy and nauseous and the next thing I knew I was on the floor. I felt like I was asleep and I heard someone calling my name. I felt cold, my head hurt. The school nurse said I had fainted.

My aunt took me to urgent care. They told me there that it was syncope.

The next day was a big school event -"The Carnival of Knowledge." I was very busy with a lot of responsibilities and I was running around from place to place. I was leading Zumba when I began heating up and felt my heart rate racing but I kept pushing. I lost vision but could still hear. I tried to come down steps and had to grab for the nearest adults to keep from falling.The principal and some parents assisted me. I went back up on stage but started shaking and had to be led off.

I was out of it and went to the ER. Again I was told it was syncope. I then saw a lot of different doctors and had ultrasounds. I mentioned I had had a lump I had felt on my throat and when blood was drawn, my calcium level was very high. Many tests were done - blood, urine. Finally an initial biopsy which was said to be benign but my mother was skeptical.

Another doctor did a 2nd biopsy. He said I have cancer. I have always been very healthy in my life so I was surprised.

I was told it is Multiple Endocrine Neoplasty Type 2 which is hereditary. Since I am adopted, I don't know my family history. I had genetic testing which confirmed it. I have been told it is very rare.

The doctor told me the good news is it is treatable with surgery. I was referred to Dr. Livhits who said we should do the surgery soon but it was ok to wait till school ended. The first surgery was adrenal. I was out of it the first day afterwards but happy to have it done.

Then there was surgery for removal of my thyroid and parathyroid. I still have one small tumor but Dr. Livhits said we don't need to do anything with it now.

I had been looking forward to the summer but haven't been able to swim. But there are worse things - at least my cancer was treatable. But it is a lot for a 17 year old!