RIP My Thyroid
(Written by Jennifer Bridge, Thyroid Cancer Survivor)
It’s hard to believe that a year has gone by without you regulating my metabolism, hormones, body temperature and energy level. You were a good gland and did the best that you could do with the hand you were dealt. We spent over 35 years together, yet I never knew you until after the lab results came back and revealed who you really were. The doctors confirmed that you had cancer, which we suspected, but it was a surprise to learn that it spread into a few of our lymph nodes. Those sneaky cancer cells are relentless! I also found out that you had Hashimoto’s disease which was an added shock.
It would have been nice to know about the Hashimoto’s disease when we were still together. What good is it to know now? If anything it just made me feel bad that I didn’t get you help sooner. I can look back now and see all the ways you tried to let me know that something was not right. I mean all those times when my neck would change in size. It would get puffy and slightly bulge out and then go back to normal. The Hashimoto’s was alive and kicking back then. There was a serious battle going on between you and my immune system. You were being attacked!! That must have been awful, I’m so sorry you suffered for so many years. I don’t know why my immune system turned on you that way. My doctor even noticed that my neck looked puffy. He did blood work, but your levels were normal. The first time I heard about your diagnosis was after you were gone.
As if Hashimoto’s wasn’t enough, then the cancer cells had to join the show. They made their way right in and started building a home in the form of a nodule right inside of you. Those cancer cells were sneaky. Oh yeah. They built that nodule home back in 1995. We saw it on the ultrasound scan back then, but it looked like a normal nodule. Those evil cancer cells hid out in that nodule house for years until the community grew and was discovered in 2008. I know how horrible it was to go through those biopsy procedures. We did it together. We had to hold still and relax as the doctor stuck a huge needle through my neck and into you. It was not fun at all, but the were able to confirm that the nodule was malignant. I’m sure you knew that it was cancer, but to hear it from the doctor was a moment in time that I will never forget.
Something had to be done. My immune system and cancer cells were getting the best of you. It was time for you to go to a better place where you could rest in peace. That day finally came on January 29, 2009, when the thyroidectomy freed you from it all.
Oh my Thyroid, you are missed. Life is different without you.
There is a subtle scar along the front of my neck. It reminds me of the war that we won against cancer. I take a Levoxyl pill every morning so my body can function without you. It does what it’s supposed to do, but it could never replace you. I’d like to say that the fear that comes with a cancer diagnosis left when you were removed, but it still lives on. The fear awakens every six months when I need to go get blood work and a thyroid ultrasound to make sure the cancer cells, have not moved back in. At times that fear consumes me and casts a dark shadow over my thoughts and outlook. But then I remind myself that I AM A CANCER SURVIVOR! I am grateful to be alive! I appreciate the little things more than ever! And I’m going to keep writing blog posts about my journey for me, my belated thyroid, other cancer survivors and my blog readers!!