Mind over matter…sometimes (the story of my thyroid cyst)

I’ll like to digress again and share a little personal experience which I hope may be beneficial to some of our readers.

In 2015, I had a sudden craving for flavoured seaweed and over a period of a few days, consumed a bit too much. One afternoon, as I was eating it, I felt a lump growing in my neck. It swelled up and became painful.

Of course I was worried. And the swelling did not go down. It affected my swallowing, breathing and it even hurt when I talked.

So, after trying various DIY remedies for weeks, I finally went to a GP who advised me to consult a general surgeon.

The first general surgeon I saw was what I would call “Never again!”. He was rude, impatient and nasty. He said it would be best to remove BOTH my thyroid glands and go on thyroxine for the rest of my life.

So, I left.

And I searched for another surgeon. This one was A LOT nicer and more professional. From the scan, he was very sure it wasn’t a cancerous lump. It was just a cyst. So he said all that was needed was to suck out the fluids (which looked like honey..yucks) in an outpatient procedure.

I did that, but within less than a day, the lump filled up again. And in time, it slowly filled up until the discomfort returned. The lump was the size of a small egg and it was visible from the outside, bulging from my throat.

Every 3-4 months, I would go back to him and get the fluids sucked out. For one whole year, I lived with the discomfort of that lump in my throat. It was painful when I swallowed and talked. After each suction, there would still be a very small lump and within hours it would begin to fill up again.

By the third round of suction (which was about a year of bearing with the lump in my throat), I, unfortunately, caught the surgeon on a “wrong day”. For some reason, he was in a bad mood and he said surgery is now required. We would remove one thyroid gland (where the lump is). But I had already read up about this surgery and there is a small risk of me losing my voice if my vocals cords were accidentally severed. This can happen.

Lose my voice?

That didn’t sound appealing at all. After all, it’s my ricebowl – I teach for a living. I need my voice.

Nevertheless, I would have seriously considered the surgery despite the small risk (he assured me it was just a small risk) had he been nicer about it. But he went on berating me for being undecided. I explained that I had to get all my affairs in order before subjecting myself to general anaesthesia. After all, people do die due to allergy to the anaesthesia. I had so many responsibilities and so much to do, let me go back and think about it first.

But he got angry and started scolding me until I cried.

Finally, he said to give it one more suction and see how it goes.

I cried all the way home, not because I needed surgery, but more because of his hostility. Was it necessary to scold me just because I could not decide on the spot?

After the initial shock, I got angry and determined. Of course I was hurt as well. I wasn’t going to go back to him since he had shown how nasty and hostile he could be.

Then, what choice did I have?

I had to find a solution myself. So, I told myself that by hook or by crook, I was going to find an alternative way to heal myself.

How? I don’t know.

I’m angry enough…I’ll find a way.

And I did. Believe it or not, I did.

I consulted my pharmacist-friend (the owner of Medifoods) and he recommended qigong. He had just joined a qigong class and he explained how qigong helps to clear the lymphatic system. We have the blood system which carries nutrition to the whole body but we also have the lymphatic system that carries wastes to be eliminated by the body. Think of the blood system as the main road and the lymphatic system as the longkang (drains).

My “drains” are probably clogged up somewhere (it need not be at my thyroids, it could be elsewhere), but this creates a backlog and if there is a weak point somewhere, a blockage would result.

Aha…that made sense. So my blockage is at my thyroids. Hence, the lump.

That’s an intelligent diagnosis.

Qigong clears the blockages and enhances the flow in the lymphatic system. The most important factor is the deep breathing.

I was determined to give this a try.

So, I googled for ANY qigong lesson which could be self-learned.

And found this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFJkCk0ds9E

There are of course, tons of videos, but somehow I was attracted to this. It’s all in mandarin, but the demonstrations are good.

And I remember hearing about this 18 forms from long, long ago. My mum practises it.

The bottom line is, from the video, it sure looks easy enough.

There are 18 forms, and I could not remember them all after the first viewing, so I scrutinished the first 3 forms, memorised them, went out immediately to the playground at 3pm that afternoon and started doing just the first 3 forms. I repeated, probably about 3-4 rounds. And came back.

When my husband returned from work that evening, he looked at me and remarked, “Hey, your lump…it has shrunk!!  The skin is wrinkled!”

Oh my goodness…he was right!!  I looked in the mirror and the skin at the lump was indeed wrinkled.

Just one round???  And only 3 forms?? (On hindsight now, I think it’s not so much of the forms but the deep breathing.)

It was unbelievable. But it happened.

So, I diligently continued doing it, slowly learning up all 18 forms (I wrote them on a piece of paper and went out to the playground) and after a few weeks, the lump had significantly become much smaller.

I never skipped a day. This exercise would be my life-saver.

Imagine if I had listened to the surgeon, opted for surgery, lost my voice, or died on the table? And there would be no more AnimalCare?

Within a few months, give or take, the lump had totally and completely disappeared!!!

I’ve been lump-free from then until now and it’s been 3 years now. I still do the 18 forms now.

It was only after that that I decided to take up taiji classes.

An old photo of Heidi and me at the playground. Heidi and Zurik are my taiji companions.

Now, on hindsight, was it the 18 forms qigong that cured me?

I don’t know, but I would definitely give credit to it.

But to have it happening so fast?  In just one session of one-sixth of the whole routine? I think that has something to do with the mind. They say that a lot of healing comes from the mind.

I think I was just so determined and my mind wanted it to be cured, so it happened.

Of course, this cannot happen with everything in life, right?  I mean, if you have a limp amputated, surely it will not grow again no matter how you “will” it to.

But I truly believe it has something to do with determination and the power of the mind.

Take for example, my latest sharing about my lower back pain and how Stretch Therapy has worked wonders: https://myanimalcare.org/2018/09/15/stretch-therapy/.

I was thinking about this last night as I lay in bed. It bears some resemblance to how I “healed” my thyroid cyst.

I am determined as ever to heal my back. And why? It is because I rely on my back muscles to do so many things. So many movements (even picking up the cats’ food bowls, carrying their water bowls, wiping the floor, picking up the cats, carrying the carrier) rely on the back muscles.

For the last few months, I had been living in pain, in total agony, partly due to the physical pain, but more, due to the frustration of the inability to do my chores. I had no strength at all to pick up Ginger, Cow or Bunny from the floor. I had such difficult picking up their water bowls (because it is “heavier” with water). I could not carry the carrier to take Vincent to the vet. I even had difficult getting into the car and getting out. And of course, I could not do some of my taiji moves and that really frustrated me. For someone who is only 55 years old, I am having the mobility and body of a 90 year-old? I wasn’t prepared to live the rest of my life in such pain and disability.

And now, after just one week of Stretch Therapy, I can already bend from my waist to touch the floor! Before this, I could not even tilt my head with a slight bending movement to rinse my mouth after brushing my teeth!

Now, what about my knee and shoulder pains? I haven’t been able to squat for 8 years and that’s a great inconvenience too. But I’ve come to learn to adapt, adjust and compensate for these pains, so I wasn’t as determined to find a solution for them.

But now, maybe, just maybe, if I am allowed to be greedy….I’m looking forward to reduce my knee pain with Stretch Therapy. Maybe my shoulder pain too?


“If the body is sick, do not let the mind be sick too” – Rev K. Sri Dhammananda.

The mind can do wonders…sometimes.

3 comments to Mind over matter…sometimes (the story of my thyroid cyst)

  • Shamiela Mariasoosai

    Thank you for sharing. This is of great help. GOD Bless

  • jasmine

    I’m sorry you went through so much pain and suffering. Am really glad you have found the solution without having to go for surgery. Thank God! May you be well soon and be in the best of health again. Take care Sis. My prayers are with you. Thank you for sharing…

    • chankahyein

      Thank you very much, Sis. The thyroid cyst is gone (hopefully, it won’t appear again). My back is very much better now with Stretch Therapy. Dukkha is a part of life; I accept this, but we can also try and find ways to cope with it!