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RIP My Thyroid

Post Published: 22 March 2010
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Category: Dear Thyroid Letters
This post currently has 31 responses. Leave a comment

(Written by Jennifer Bridge, Thyroid Cancer Survivor)

Dear Thyroid,

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!!

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31 Responses to “RIP My Thyroid”

  1. Sara Broers says:

    Yes, you are a survivor! Love your post……

  2. Hypogirl says:

    Jennifer,
    This says it all

    “Oh my Thyroid, you are missed. Life is different without you.”

    That is a very powerful and true statement.

    May those pesky thyroid cancer cells never move back in.

  3. Dear Thyroid says:

    Sara – I loved Jennifer’s post, too. Her letter really inspired me.

  4. Dear Thyroid says:

    HypoGirl, you’re absolutely right. That statement does sum it up the story so beautifully.

    Agreed – May Jennifer stay cancer free for life.

  5. Monica says:

    Jennifer,

    Powerful words.

    “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!”

    Right on, Sister.

    ☮ ♥

  6. Dear Thyroid says:

    Very powerful words, Monica. Absolutely beautiful

  7. Bee says:

    isn’t it crazy how we view life differently after having gone thru a crisis? I wish peole who find it necessary to complain about little things could read your letter and stop bitching about the lady in the check-out line, or traffic jam …or whatever—keep fighting and being positive…you’re an inspiration

  8. Paula says:

    Hey, I am a CANCER SURVIVOR too! The Cut-throat Club! We kicked cancer in the throat!

    When I went for my Fine Needle Aspiration, we convinced the doc to let my husband come in and take pictures documenting the whole procedure. I find many things about the procedure quite funny.

    First…the room where the biopsy was done was shortened to “F-N-A”. Everybody kept telling me to head to the “F-N-A”. Maybe it’s a Canadian thing, but when somebody says “F-N-A”, I hear “F***-n’ eh!!!!” like we used to say in high school when something was really cool.

    Second…the name. “Fine” needle? FINE needle? Fine needle, my eye! LOL!! That thing almost pinned me to the table!

    I highly recommend bringing a friend along, or a husband with a camera. It lightened the tension, helped me see the funny things, and made the procedure a story to share instead of a creepy secret.

    I’m glad you are a survivor, and thanks for sharing your story!!

  9. Dear Thyroid says:

    Bee – I love what you said because it’s so true. After going through a health crisis, a person’s world view changes so dramatically.

    I was watching CHOPPED on the Food Network and one of the chef judges comments regarding pasta was “This makes me so angry, I have nothing to say. I’m irate”.

    This, over pasta… Seriously?!

  10. Dear Thyroid says:

    Paula – “The Cut Throat Club” is beyond brilliant.

    I love your nickname for FNA. Ha.

    You are a survivor! I hope you’ll share your story with us, too. http://bit.ly/6BCo1L

    You have an indefatigable spirit.

  11. amy says:

    Yes, very powerful and very positive. Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing.

  12. Joanna says:

    Jennifer, I love what you have to say about fear. It’s so very true. For me, fighting fear was at times harder than dealing with the cancer itself. Of course the fear was/is completely related to cancer, but the fear can be much more crippling.

    You have a beautiful perspective. Thank you for sharing.

  13. Jen says:

    I needed to read this today. I was just told that I have thyroid cancer last week, and to read a letter from someone who has gone through what I am dealing with right at this moment was inspiring to me. I know in the very near future I will be able to say the words “I am a cancer survivor” and I look forward to that day. Thank you so much.

  14. Joanna says:

    Katie, can’t you see the awareness band: “al dente or bust”

    Some people seriously need to get a grip on what’s important in life…and pasta isn’t it.

  15. Jennifer says:

    Hi Jennifer,

    I have Hashimotos and it has been suspected for years but I was just recently diagnosed.I had a biopsy done at the age of 16 and it was very painful, no cancer cells were found. Now at the age of 23,I do have some nodules in my thryroid and reading this makes me want to push even harder when I go to my endo to check everything!! I am tired of being told I am fine and I dont want to reach the point where it turns into cancer or I keep going untreated. You are an inspiration to those battling cancer and other thryoid issues as well. We all are in a battle and we hope to come out survivor’s just like you!

  16. Dear Thyroid says:

    Amy, yes, very powerful indeed.

  17. Dear Thyroid says:

    Joanna, the fear must be overwhelming. I won’t compare my disease with cancer. I will say that fear of the unknown itself is crippling. Learning how to manage it instead of it managing you is a long and arduous journey. It sure seems like Jennifer has found the way.

  18. Dear Thyroid says:

    Jen – So sorry to hear that you were just diagnosed with thyroid cancer. you are not alone. We are all here to support you.

    We also have a new column written by Joanna Isbill called “Life Redefined”. Check it out.
    http://dearthyroid.org/?s=+life+redefined

    Keep connecting. Keep writing. Know that we’re all here for you.

  19. Dear Thyroid says:

    Joanna – Al dente or bust?! I’m howling….

  20. Dear Thyroid says:

    Jennifer re: Nodules and hocking your endocrinologist, YES. YES. YES. You have to advocate for yourself to get the treatment you so rightfully deserve. Moreover, why shouldn’t you be on the road to feeling good again?!

    Have you considered a new endo? This is a list of patient rec’ doctors: http://bit.ly/8tmifQ

    Keep fighting, thysistah! You will get through this and you won’t have to go it alone.

  21. HD inOregon says:

    Jennifer,

    Great, wonderful letter!

    Being survivors means we will always have a little fear when we get scanned or re-tested. And worst is the waiting for the results. – Unfortunately that is part of our ordeal. Alas, with cancer there is no “absolute” cure; and we have to live with that (emphasis, as I always say, is on “live”).

    Thanks for sharing your story with us!

    HD in Oregon

  22. Michelle says:

    Jennifer, great letter! Almost exactly my story too! Normal tests, then cancer and thyroiditis discovered only after removal. Mine’s been out just over two months now. I feel the best I have in a couple years. Thank you for including the thoughts on followup tests. My mom who is a different area twice cancer survivor gets that cancer is cancer. Most others in my life think it’s over after removal. Well, it’s out, but by no means is the journey over for us at that point. And to Jen, recently diagnosed: stay strong and know you are not alone. We share the path with you.

  23. Jackie Kipilo says:

    I cried when I read that letter. Just the way you wrote that you felt for your thyroid.

    I hope those cancer cells don’t return.

  24. Dear Thyroid says:

    Michelle – I love your comment. I’m so sorry that you and Jennifer have gone through similar points. Great show of support for Jen.

    I wish you didn’t have to take this journey either.

  25. Erika says:

    Great letter. Yes, the word cancer is so scary. I was not expecting to hear it at all from my doctor. I had my thyroid removed, and they only found the cancer afterward. The ultrasounds never showed anything abnormal.

    They want me to do a radio iodine treatment now, but I am really not ready yet. I wouldn’t be able to handle being away from my 7mo old baby right now. But I *will* get it done, because I don’t want cancer to even get a chance!

  26. Jenn says:

    As a thyroid cancer survivor who also loves to write, I really felt the need to share my journey and give back to others. That is why I started my blog at WordPress called ThyroidCancerSurvivor. It has been an amazing experience. Writing the Dear Thyroid letter “RIP my Thyroid” was very therapeutic for me. It brought up so many emotions from both ends of the emotional spectrum. Reading all of your comments fills me up. All of your support, personal experience and kind words to me and others are beautiful. Thank you!!! May you all be blessed with hope, light and love!

  27. Kate says:

    Great letter. Great outlook.
    I was diagnosed 2 weeks ago with pap ca and have to undergo TT next month. Needless to say, there are days when I feel 100% ok, and there are days when I feel depressed about the situation.
    Your letter helped uplift my spirits. Many many thanks!

  28. Cindi Straughn says:

    oh, it was good for me to read this letter. One of the reasons I’d never written a letter to my thyroid when this site first started was because I felt so protective of my own Hashi’s gland…and yet so many letters were so angry at theirs. I felt out of place. 🙁
    Because just like the writer, this has been my feeling: “If anything it just made me feel bad that I didn’t get you help sooner”.
    No, I haven’t had cancer, but I sure wish I’d known more so as to help my poor thyroid gland who struggled so bravely all those years to keep me alive. I have no hard feelings towards it at all. Mine is dormant now, thanks to a full replacement of thyroid meds…but i am forever grateful for the battle it was fighting for me when no one else would help.

  29. Lolly says:

    Jennifer,

    Great letter the words that touched me the most as I felt the same way about losing my thyroid gland was.

    “Oh my Thyroid, you are missed. Life is different without you”.

    As for FNA’s nothing fine about it, I may not have cancer but sure know what it is like to go through months of wondering and waiting for results only to be told inconclusive we need to do another then another until we got to 5 of them all without any local to numb the area.

    Here’s to you being free from cancer and being a cancer survivor. Very touching letter Thank you for sharing it with us.

    Lolly

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