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Sunday June 16th 2019


Life Redefined: This Is Not Chicken Soup for the Thyroidectomized Soul

Post Published: 08 June 2010
Category: Column, Life Redefined, Thyroid Cancer in Young Adults Column
This post currently has 18 responses. Leave a comment

Cancer is a heavy burden to carry. The road you walk when you have cancer is hard and treacherous. Having cancer on your mind everyday will leave you weary and exhausted. In order to avoid an emotionally drained state of being, I think we need to focus on something a bit lighter every now and then. Rather than reading an I-want-to-be-motivational-but-actually-leave-you-drowning-in-a-pool-of-your-own-tears story from Chicken Soup for the Thyroidectomized Soul, I prefer to find humor in the midst of all the bad in my life. Today, we’re going to try to find something to laugh about.

A few weeks ago, I was chatting with a friend and fellow cancer survivor. My friend and I have no problem discussing our experience with cancer with each other. After this particular conversation ended, however, I realized we spent nearly the entire time talking about the medicines and supplements we now take as a result of having our cancerous thyroids removed. It got me thinking—you know you have thyroid cancer when…

  • You have friends with cancer and your conversations are based around the medicines you take
  • You join a cancer-related organization and the membership gift is a pill organizer
  • You’re actually excited to have a new pill organizer
  • You know what day of the week it is based on said pill organizer
  • You have a favorite phlebotomist
  • You know what a phlebotomist is
  • You have a favorite tech in the hospital’s nuclear medicine department
  • You’ve actually been to the nuclear medicine department
  • You can use Tg, nuke med, I-131, and whole body scan in a sentence with no problem. For example, “Yeah, I was in nuke med for my whole body scan after my tracer dose of I-131…the radiologist said I had some uptake and my Tg is elevated so my endo is ordering 150mCi of I-131 followed by a SPECT-CT.”
  • During your treatment, your pee is so radioactive that you have to flush the toilet three times whenever you go to the bathroom
  • You meet your insurance deductible by February (and it’s not because your deductible is really low)
  • Friends/family start greeting you with, “How AAARRRRE you?” as though you’re going to fall over dead any minute.  And when you don’t keel over, they don’t know what to say or do, so they either stare at you awkwardly until you walk away or they start talking about the weather.

Aaaand, now it’s your turn! I know some of these apply to other thyroid diseases, too, so I want to hear from all of you, lovely thymmunity, regardless of the type of disease that is waging war against your thyroid. Finish the sentence: you know you have thyroid cancer/disease when…




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18 Responses to “Life Redefined: This Is Not Chicken Soup for the Thyroidectomized Soul

  1. Sarah G says:

    You know you have thyroid cancer when…

    You’ve augmented the Thyca.org LID recipe book with tips and new dishes from other people in the waiting room on scan day.

  2. Stales says:

    You know you have when….

    You’re oncologist, radiologist, and pharmacist are 1 – 2 – 3 on your cellphone’s speed dial list….

  3. Dara Charlton says:

    You know you have medullary thyroid cancer when your daughter’s friend is staring at the deep scar on your neck because the cancer metasized they had to cut you in two places and now everyone stares at your scar – thinks you are a former gang member.

  4. Michelle says:

    When: 1) you’ve seen 3 drs in 2 days and discussed your constipation/fissures with each of them 2) a person you’ve just met says ” wow gnarly scar on your throat” 3) your wake up time revolves around taking your pill early enough you can go back to bed for an hour while you wait to eat 4) you are on a first name basis with the hospital scheduling dept 🙂

  5. HDinOregon says:

    When you explain that the scar on your neck if from defending the White House in the war of 1812.


  6. You are happy to have a scar on your neck as an opening to the conversation about why you are SO weird…

  7. Sarah G says:

    My spouse, who works in an ENT clinic, adds: when you become an example for rotating medical students and when the doctors ask you to come speak to new Thyca patients!

  8. Sarah, you and your spouse both nailed it! My LID cookbook is filled with notes and tips that I’ve learned from others and from my own experiences!

  9. Stales, I love it! I know the phone number to my doctor’s office and to my pharmacy by memory…sad or funny? Both, I think…

  10. Dara, HD, and Patty–I love the scar stories! I used to get the stares, too. One time my brother had a picture of me up on his computer and one of his friends asked what happened to me–my brother said I got mugged and had my neck slit. Har. Wear those scars proudly!

  11. Michelle, I love these! I also lay in bed for an hour after I take my meds. 🙂 AND, the outpatient scheduler at my doctor’s office is quite familiar with me by now! We’ve had many phone conversations.

  12. Dear Thyroid says:

    These responses are so flawless and hilarious. I just love you, all of you. The bravery, honesty and humor demonstrated by each person just brings me to tears. Much respect, yo.

    Joanna, another brilliant “Life Redefined”. Fantastic column. LOVED EVERY WORD.

  13. I agree with you, Katie–fab responses. What a thyilliant thymmunity!!

  14. Miss Waxie says:

    Dear Joanna,

    Yes to humor about your illness! Yes to your awesome life redefined series! …Boo to being able to say yes to most of those without having had cancer…haha.. 🙂

    I’m not sure if you all remember me but I used to do this comic about my life with chronic illness, and well, I’m back to being sick so I’m back to writing it. I think you guys started out just a few months after I did and I’m so amazed and so impressed at how this site has grown! Well done Ladies (and Gents)!!!

    Looking forward to keeping up with reading more in the future!

    – Miss Waxie

  15. Miss Waxie, it’s good to hear from you! I hate that you’re dealing with sickness again, but I do hope we’ll be seeing more of you around here!

  16. Lolly says:

    Sorry Joanna I missed this.

    You know you got a thyroid condition, when your doctor doesn’t ask to see you(cus you know more than him and are a pain in the butt) but phones with your results.
    You know what a phlebotomist is and wonder why they ever had a name given like that sounds like you got flees on your bum. and last when you start talking jibberish and your good friends understand you cus they know you.and know when to take for cover.

    Great column.

  17. No apologies needed, Lolly!

    You kill me. Love your phlebotomist comment. Hilarious!

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