We Are At The Beginning Of Change…
Thursday September 29th 2016

Archives

Now Emerges A Fearless Butterfly

Post Published: 31 March 2010
Author:
Category: Uncategorized
This post currently has 15 responses. Leave a comment

(Written by Chris P, Thyroid Cancer Patient)

Dear Thyroid:

Is thyroid cancer killing me or is it saving my life?,  ,   Since I do not work, I have a lot of time to think about this, probably too much time. Shortly after being diagnosed, my fledgling marriage fell apart, my diabetes went out of control, and the world that I built for myself came crumbling down around my feet.

But is this a good thing?,   By battling cancer, did I save myself from a future that would only be filled with a lifetime of heartbreak instead of just short-term heartache?,   Did being diagnosed only six months into my marriage save me from starting a family with the wrong man?,   Did cancer shut the door only to open a window for me down the road?

I have changed, physically and emotionally. There is no doubt about it, and if I ever think it hasn’t, there are numerous people who will tell me it has — some who think for the better and plenty who think for the worse. Some have told me that I’ve gone crazy since going through radioactive iodine (RAI) treatment and that I’ve ruined my life; others have told me I finally see the world for what it is and that I’m stronger now than ever.

I’ve gained weight, I’ve lost weight, and I’ve gained some of it back. I currently weigh ten pounds more than I did on my wedding day, which is far less than the thirty pounds I originally put on. Even my jewelry has changed:,   I wear three thyroid cancer bracelets, a diamond cancer ribbon around my neck, and my newest piece arrived today a butterfly charm with the word “survivor” on the back a present from my best friend.

I’ve changed my hair with every milestone in my cancer journey, or rather the hair I still have thanks to Synthroid. Every day is spent cleaning up handfuls of hair that have fallen out from the simple, mundane tasks of washing it and brushing it. Heaven forbid I try to style it because it falls out as rapidly as my dog sheds her winter coat.

I’ve lost friends, and I’ve made new ones. I take risks and chances that people tell me are foolish, but I feel the need to try these new endeavors because life is too short to live with regrets. Is this new flying by the seat of my pants attitude smart or stupid?,   Either way, isn’t it better than being cooped up in a tiny apartment with a man who doesn’t treat you the way you should be treated?

I want to learn new things. I want to live my life. There is a laundry list a mile long of things I have never done because I was always told I shouldn’t or because I was too afraid to try. Now, all I want to do is set and conquer. No one seems to understand this, and I’m constantly told to slow down, to stop and think. Well, that’s how I’ve lived the first 29 years of my life and look where it got me:,   a short starter marriage and cancer. Playing by the rules has not paid off for me yet so I’ve decided to throw the rulebook out.

My whole life until now has been lived in fear of the unknown. I refuse to continue to say “I can’t “I don’t know how” or “I’m scared…,   I want to look the world in the eye, throw back my shoulders and say, “bring it on…,   I have learned that as long as you try and give it your best, you cannot fail even if you don’t succeed.

Yet, no one seems to understand my new philosophy. I can understand my friends who have never faced serious illness being hesitant and concerned, but even my friends who have battled cancer raise an eyebrow to my newfound sense of freedom. I often think it’s because all of them are in remission. Their battles were short and quick. Mine has involved three surgeries, countless complications, endless bad news with very little good, and it never seems to end. My cancer is growing, my cancer is spreading and I often wonder if it’s because I played by the rules.

Holidays 2008, nine months into my marriage and fresh from surgery number two, I had to make a difficult decision and make it quickly. How much RAI was I going to take?,   Did I take a large dose that could potentially interfere with my ability to start a family some day?,   Or did I play it safe and take a small dose that the doctors ensured would be effective without the harmful side effects?,   Hoping that my marital problems could be overcome, I played it safe. I took the low dose. And guess what?,   Although the cancer was initially reduced, it never went away and now it’s growing.

So call me a renegade. Call me a fool. But I watched cancer kill a life so desperately struggled for: my own.

So maybe like the butterfly we are represented by, I have shed my cocoon of innocence and am learning to soar on an entirely different plane in the same world I was living in before.

Chris P (Team, Wings of Hope)

Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: , , , , ,

Follow Dear Thyroid on Twitter/@DearThyroid | See our Facebook Page | Become a Fan on Facebook | Join our Facebook Group

You Can Create a Dear Thyroid Profile and share with friends!

Reader Feedback

15 Responses to “Now Emerges A Fearless Butterfly”

  1. Monica says:

    Chris,
    Sometimes when things like this happen it is our body saying STOP, take a breather and look at your life. That is what you were forced to do and are doing now.
    I am so sorry you have been going through this “hell” but I believe your words “I have shed my cocoon of innocence and am learning to soar on an entirely different plane in the same world I was living in before” shows your resilience and awareness.
    I love that you are so real and raw in your letter. Please know that you are not alone.
    ☮ ♥

  2. Michelle says:

    Great letter Chris. Sorry for the struggles but happy for your victory of living for yourself. This cancer thing really puts a marriage/relationship under the microscope. I’m still not sure my husband fully understands the magnitude of what I’ve been through and what lies ahead. Some days I have the support I need, other days I just want to shout to the world “I just had cancer surgery, can somebody else do the dishes!” Cancer can take away your life as you know it and it can also take away your fear. When you take away the fear of death, what else is left to fear really? Be true to yourself…

  3. Karyn says:

    Chris-

    Thank you for sharing this. Your words really resonated with me. You are not alone. I have found in my struggles that I had built my life one way. Now that life doesn’t work for me. Sometimes this change is incredibly good and sometimes not so much. The friends and family that knew us before sometimes don’t understand the change, they expect us to be the same no matter what happens. Sometimes however there is delight and surprise at the new person we have become. We now know that life is short or long with limitations and we live more for today and more generously to ourselves because we need to. Go for it do what you need to do! I say that for myself as well as I try to figure this all out. Thank you again for sharing.

  4. Chris, thank you for this beautiful, transparent letter. We are the only ones who really understand what we go through, but letters like yours provide awesome awareness for those who do not have thyroid cancer, to give them insight into what we deal with. Thank you!

    xoxo,
    Joanna

  5. Shan says:

    Sometimes the life stories we share are just so big, the experiences so deep, the pain so raw, we all feel for each other and together we know, with our hearts going out to each other. Chris, thank you for sharing your journey and insight. Our disease can take us to new levels of knowing and being, unimaginable in the old life. Somehow it injects an awareness of what is, and what isn’t important, necessary or desirable. Somehow through the fog there comes clarity of the will to be strong and live purposefully. Keep on doing it you courageous woman!

  6. HD inOregon says:

    Chris,

    When you are battling a monster like cancer, you invariably will focus on the most precious things: your life and your future. – Looking forward and giving yourself a goal, like the things you want to do and experience, is so important. Some doctors say ones mental attitude can be of significant help in your ability to fight this dreadful cancer daemon.

    I am sorry for all you had to go through so far. And we wish you strength and courage! Fight on!!! We’re all here to lend support!

    Sending lots of healing thought to you.

    HD in Oregon

    P.S.: When I had an uptake on my thyroid scan, my endo initially suggested a second RAI treatment (later is was decided to be more likely a false positive). Is a repeat of the RAI an option for you?

  7. Dear Thyroid says:

    Monica – Love your comment and quote from Chris’s letter. You’re right…

    Beautiful show of support.

    xo

  8. Dear Thyroid says:

    Michelle –

    This gave me the chills Cancer can take away your life as you know it and it can also take away your fear. When you take away the fear of death, what else is left to fear really? Be true to yourself;

    How do you cope with your husband when you don’t get the support you need? How do you try to explain what you’re going through and make him part of the process? What fears do you have about the road ahead? Do you talk about them with him and/or with others?

    Do you mind me asking so many questions?

    Love the support for Chris.

    xo

  9. Dear Thyroid says:

    Karyn; J’adore your comment.

    This struck a cord with me Sometimes however there is delight and surprise at the new person we have become.

    Can you please tell us, if you don’t mind, how you’ve been able to find the ‘delight’ and ‘surprise’ in your new self? This is so inspirational. Would love to know more about it.

    xo

  10. Dear Thyroid says:

    Eloquently said, Joanna. For those of us that haven’t walked the thyroid cancer mile, Chris’ letter, among others, is a terrific glimpse into the realities you face as patients.

    Thanks for sending Chris loving support.

  11. Dear Thyroid says:

    Shan;

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this: Sometimes the life stories we share are just so big, the experiences so deep, the pain so raw, we all feel for each other and together we know, with our hearts going out to each other.

    You gave me the chills, woman!

    Love the support for Chris, too.

    xo

  12. Dear Thyroid says:

    Did I mention, ya’ll are the most quotable bunch I know!

  13. Dear Thyroid says:

    Perfectly said, HD I am sorry for all you had to go through so far. And we wish you strength and courage! Fight on!!! We’re all here to lend support!

    Good question re: RAI. Chris? Would like to know.

    Thanks for such awesome support for Chris.

    xo

  14. Christine says:

    Chris, Team Wings of Hope

    My whole life until now has been lived in fear of the unknown. I refuse to continue to say “I can’t” or “I don’t know how” or “I’m scared… I want to look the world in the eye, throw back my shoulders and say, “bring it on… I have learned that as long as you try and give it your best, you cannot fail even if you don’t succeed.

    In my minds eye, I could “see” you, I could feel your strength, I too sat up a little straighter, pulled my shoulders back, picked up my chin, took a deep breath and said YES! YES! YES! Bring It On!!!
    I understand the concerns of those well meaning loved ones that are around you… (hugs) this all must be so surreal in it’s own way for them too. They only wish to see you protected, I think, safe, from harm’s way, thinking that you’ve already endured too much. I am grateful that there are those that are around you that have such a vested interest in YOU – your life – your well being! While it is a blessing I know it can be a burden sometimes too.

    With all that you’ve endured, all that time has laid out before you – I cannot stand in your way, hold you back, block your dreams, rain on your chosen parade – I can’t. Instead, from the sidelines, I applaud you, I cheer for you, I scream your name, silent tears of joy for each small victory that you claim. You, never you, could be said to be a failure or even thought to have not succeeded.
    You, CELEBRATE the little moments, the one’s that make you smile, the ones that cause your heart to take flight. For each day that you awake to face another day, shoulders squared, taking a deep breath, screaming BRING IT ON at the top of your lungs – IS IS IS a victory – a SUCCESS.

    I wish I could say what the future holds for you, with absolute certainty, but I do know this…. You will embrace life in whatever measure that it comes to you and YOU will be living it FREE and STRONG.

    As you said “I have shed my cocoon of innocence and am learning to soar on an entirely different plane in the same world I was living in before.”
    Let us know what the view is like from that plane, how does it feel to soar? The sun upon your face, the gentle feel of the breeze upon your wings?

    When I see a butterfly next – I am going to think of you and smile and whisper “Give Me What You Got! Bring It On!”

  15. Elizabeth C says:

    What an amazing and beautiful letter!

    Please know that you have support here. We care about you and embrace you and your new look on life!

Leave a Reply

Comments are moderated in an effort to control spam. If you have a previously approved Comment, this one should go right through. Thanks for your patience!