8 U A B C O M P R E H E N S I V E C A N C E R C E N T E R

Wet slobber, bottles, bibs, cute little pajamas, the soft bumblebee rattle, baby-proofing items (yes, we

had a crawler). These were just some of the daily things in my world nearly 11 years ago. My first son,

Jack, was nine months old, and my husband Bret and I were absolutely in love with him. I had always

been healthy, had a healthy pregnancy, and had only ever been in the hospital when Jack was born.

Cancer had never entered my mind. Until October 21, 2003.

Lara Gowder FIRST-PERSON ACCOUNT

During my pregnancy, my doctor had found a swollen nodule on my neck. No cause for alarm, especially since I had a sinus infection early in the pregnancy. He sent me to a specialist who performed a biopsy (which came back normal). I started taking medicine for it, and it shrunk! I followed up with him throughout the next year. He performed another biopsy in early October 2003. This one did not come back quite as clear. He told me I needed to have surgery to have the right side of my thyroid removed. Ok. I can do this. (I

think. Read I m really freaking out since I had never had surgery before.)

The morning of my surgery, I m giving Jack so many hugs, kisses and snuggles before we leave him with his grandparents. Remember terrified new mom going under for surgery here. I left Bret, still terrified, and I may have had a small breakdown with a nurse before going under. It s ok, calm down, it s just a simple thy- roidectomy, 30-minute surgery, in and out, go home the next day. Yes, I can do this. I wake up in recovery and see Bret. I remember thinking, Why does he look like