I initially had no intention of sharing my recent health challenge on Facebook but that all changed because of the awesome experience I had at the Clayman Clinic in Tampa, Florida. I wanted to share in the event someone else found themselves in similar shoes and was seeking the best care possible.
It all started with a virus contracted at the dentist’s office which sent me to the hospital in the middle of the night – it felt like my throat was “closing up” something like anaphylactic shock. This led to a CT scan and the suggestion from that experience was to get an ultrasound. This was scheduled and when the results were received by my physician, he sent me to a surgeon. The surgeon scheduled a needle biopsy and when he called me into his office to go over the results all he said was “you need to go to Birmingham, it’s thyroid cancer.” A complete surprise at the beginning of this long month’s journey – no symptoms, a normal hormone test that was done a day before the dentist’s visit, no bumps or swelling on the outside of my throat – but by the time I got to the surgeon I was already in worry and uncertainty.
While no one told me anything definitive until the final surgeon’s visit, I was pretty sure I was in trouble and did three things to take command of my situation – (1) I set the intention of receiving the best options possible even though I had no way of knowing what that might look like (2) I contacted a few close friends to “hold space” and support my healing intentions (3) I hit the internet.
The first search hit the jackpot – I found the Clayman Clinic – learned all about thyroid issues and why they were the best place for me. Dr. Clayman originally was the head of thyroid issues at M.D. Anderson in Dallas prior to starting this clinic. Now he works with three other surgeons and an incredible staff of folks in Tampa doing nothing but working with all thyroid-related issues. I filled out a patient request form, asked my doctor and surgeon to fax my records to them and within 2 days got a call from the surgeon who would eventually operate on me in Tampa. She was thorough yet warm and open to answering any questions I had. There was a date available in 2 weeks and I was on the books and set to head to Tampa.
The trip from start to finish was remarkable in a lot of ways. As I made reservations for hotel stays on the way there and during our stay in the area after leaving the hospital – the confirmations numbers all added up to my favorite and lucky number – these were 5 different confirmation numbers from five different places. The hotel in Tampa prior to surgery was very expensive on the second night due to hockey playoffs visitors but the manager heard of my reason for the visit and took over ½ the cost off my bill. When got to the hospital, it was really a surreal experience – everyone from surgeons to janitors was incredibly patient (and spouse) oriented. They allowed Terry, my husband, to stay with me thru another ultrasound and prep for surgery, then sent him for a free breakfast (he wore a wrist band that he still has and was told he could come for a free meal anytime he was in Tampa). He was in my room when I got back from surgery and believe it or not, we both ate a hospital lunch in my room right after my surgery. I stayed the night with some awesome nurses and was discharged the next day. We stayed at the beach for several more days with complete instructions and direct phone numbers to the surgeon, nurse practitioner, and several other staff in the event we needed to contact them.
I could probably go on and on about the excellence of care and concern we experienced but this is already a bit too long – to end on a positive note, I have just rolled into home base with no more thyroid but more importantly the news that the lymph tissue that was a concern for doctors here was cancer-free. Thankful and resting comfortably!
Linda Isbell is from St. Louis, Mo – Currently Living in Florence, AL . College – Saint Louis University – Graduated Summa Cum Laude with a double major in Psychology and Communications. Currently Retired with a work background for two major corporations in administrative management and personal coaching using multiple disciplines to enact personal change. Selectively working with clientele using multiple certifications in disciplines that facilitate positive change either physically, mentally or spiritually or a combination thereof. Can be contacted at email@example.com