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Wednesday February 26th 2020


You Mess With Me, The Whole Family Comes for You

Post Published: 21 April 2010
Category: Dear Thyroid Letters
This post currently has 20 responses. Leave a comment

(Written by Dorienne, Thyroid Cancer Survivor)

Dearest Thyroid (May You Rest in ThyHell),

I guess you really wanted to be noticed. You take after me, you know. I always wanted to be noticed when I was younger. I think we both had the same idea around that time, but you had a funny way of showing it.

I had a full life ahead of me, Thyroid. I was taking my finals, passing all of my classes, getting ready for graduation and for my life to begin. Why did you have to rear your ugly head then?

It was June 1, 2006. Do you remember? It was three days before my graduation day. I hardly thought about that, though. Instead of being out with friends celebrating our success, I was sitting in a doctor’s office, bouncing my leg while trying to do sudoku puzzles. I knew my life was about to change the minute I woke up that morning, the minute I stepped into that patient room. As soon as the doctor walked in with that solemn look on his face, I knew. What did you do?

I had never been so frightened in my life. I had so many things to think about. My head was spinning so fast that I could hardly stop it. It was like a fan spinning so fast that if you put your hand to it, you would get cut. I felt so alone, Thyroid. I wish you had understood then.

You tricked me! I thought I was finished. Your whole self was removed along with ten lymph nodes. The first high dose of radioactive iodine should have finished you off. Nope. You just had to make me a biohazard yet again. Two radioactive iodine treatments? Really? We waited eight months after that second treatment to see if you were truly gone. That scan came back clean, and I cried so hard my eyes felt like they would burst. You weren’t done with me, though.

My blood work came back high. Even after four biopsies, you didn’t want to show me what I already felt was there. You made me go through a Thyrogen-induced PET/CT scan. It took me a month to find out my results. I needed yet another surgery. To be specific, I had 29 lymphectomies. My left side of my neck is empty, hollow, numb. I still have no feeling on the left side of my upper chest, neck, jaw line, and ear. This I will live with the rest of my life.

You’re still roaming inside my body, Thyroid. You won’t leave me alone. But, it’s no longer about me, is it? My mother has papillary thyroid cancer. My sister has papillary thyroid cancer. My aunt has papillary thyroid cancer. My cousin has papillary thyroid cancer. The list will keep getting longer as time goes on. It’s all in the family, now.

This is bigger than me. It became bigger than me the moment my mother was diagnosed in December, 2009. The cycle kept coming around as my sister, aunt, and cousin received their diagnoses. The more things started to come to light, the more I felt myself becoming more and more lost.

You know something, though, Thyroid? I want to thank you for what you have done to me. I realized I’m not invincible. I wasn’t at 17, and I’m still not at 21. You brought to light a condition that we have now deemed to be familial. My family is more knowledgeable than ever about cancer, especially thyroid cancer. And, do you want to know a little secret? Our individual stories are spreading like wildfire, and they are not overlooked. We use our voices against your disease to bring awareness to the damage you can do.

I used to be so scared of you. Not anymore. And guess what? Neither is my family. We are never backing down. We will never let you win. Good luck trying to bring us down.


Dorienne Plait

Dorienne “Dori” Plait is graduating from college in May 2010 with a degree in Adult Special Education. She is an active member of “I’m Too Young For This!” Cancer Organization and strongly advocates for young adults with cancer and awareness for thyroid cancer. Dori and her mother share a blog about their thyroid cancer journeys.

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20 Responses to “You Mess With Me, The Whole Family Comes for You”

  1. Lolly says:

    Hi Dori,

    What a heart felt letter, and for this to be running through your family too. What I admire so much about you is that although it must have been so hard going through this at a young age you have used yours and your families situation to help others by advocating for others your age and with thyroid cancer my hat goes off to you.

    I wish you well for the future a freedom from cancer with you and your family and a great graduation party when you pass.

    Thank you for sharing your letter.


  2. Dori, I love your letter! The way cancer is coursing through your family is nearly unbelievable. You and your family have every reason to turn inward, to do nothing but cry. But you’ve not allowed cancer to control you. Do you know how admirable that is? Incredibly admirable. Your story is inspiring because you remind us that we can indeed stand up and face our disease when it’s easier to let it take over our lives. Thank you for sharing with us!


  3. Linda says:

    You are an inspiration! Thanks for sharing! Best wishes for you and your family.

  4. Bee says:

    sounds like there was a higher power who provided you with the necessary shoulders to lean on—-whoever provided it tho sure has a lousy sense of humor—-stay strong and use your personal family army to stick it to it

  5. Monica says:

    Wow, Dori. What a connection your family must have as a result of this “bond” that is so prevalent. Thank you for sharing your unbelievable story that has affected your clan.


  6. Dori, what an inspiring letter! Thank-you for sharing. You are coping well with your struggles; never give up!

  7. HD inOregon says:


    Great letter! Oh, you went through so much. 2x surgery and 2x RAI! Bummer! – I wish you clean scans and near zero thyroglobulin, always!

    As to the numbness from the surgeries, maybe there is some hope! My left cheek was numb for over 2, ½ years, until finally the nerve ends must have reconnected themselves, and now I have feeling (and a beard) there again. – I sincerely hope you get some of your feelings back (you may skip the beard bit though).

    HD in Oregon

  8. HD inOregon says:

    Another little footnote: This again shows that papillary thyroid cancer, the so-called good cancer, can really be very tenacious and difficult to treat. – Shame (!!) on all the doc who still spout the bad “goodness” of this cancer to their patients.


  9. Siobhan says:

    Hello Dori!

    I want you to know, we are all brought on this earth to do something, your something is hold the bond of strength and family security. After my Hypo was dx at 21, almost all of the women in my fam were dx also, but it was all over the place! Keep the strenth, we have a strong old soul for a reason, to keep others pumping!!! At least we have our MINDS! 🙂

  10. Dear Thyroid says:

    Lolly – Beautifully said. I love Dorienne’s letter.I’m also heartbroken and inspired by it, and her. I cannot believe how rampant thyroid cancer is in Dorienne’s family.

    I too admire her desire to advocate for others. She’s a good egg.


  11. Dear Thyroid says:

    You’re right, Joanna Your story is inspiring because you remind us that we can indeed stand up and face our disease when it’s easier to let it take over our lives.


  12. Dear Thyroid says:

    Linda – Wonderful show of support for Dorienne


  13. Dear Thyroid says:

    Bee – Great point whoever provided it tho sure has a lousy sense of humor—-stay strong and use your personal family army to stick it to it and wonderful support.


  14. Dear Thyroid says:

    Monica – The bond, as you said, is unbreakable (paraphrasing).

    Thanks for lending support to Dori.


  15. Dear Thyroid says:

    Right on, Brooke! Love it.


  16. Dear Thyroid says:

    HD – Love the show of support and advice. And, and, and once again, YOU ARE CORRECT!


  17. Cathy says:

    Dear Thyroid, you should have the thyballs to put an editor’s note that you changed my note. Please remove the whole comment as what you said changes the whole continuity and your sentence changes makes one of us look ignorant. There was no religion or mention of the word God as I recall.

  18. Dear Thyroid says:

    Hi Cathy; There is an editor’s note regarding no reference to religion or politics in the FAQs and about pages found here: http://dearthyroid.org/about/ and http://dearthyroid.org/dear-thyroid-dish/faq/

    We omit religion because we never want anyone to feel alienated. We respect people’s freedom to celebrate religion as they see fit.

    If you’d like to discuss this further, please don’t hesitate to contact dearthyroid@gmail.com.

    Warm Regards,
    Dear Thyroid

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  20. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by katieschwartz: Dear Thyroid Letter “You Mess With Me, You Mess With My Family” http://bit.ly/aM9gQo #cancer #thyroid, Please RT. Thanks, luvvahs…

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