Thyroid Cancer Has Changed Me, And We Need To Talk About That
My dearly departed thyroid,
It’s hard to believe the anniversary of your removal is tomorrow, June 11th! I think of you often and the 20 great years we shared, but I must say, you leaving was the best thing for me. I was scared shitless in the weeks prior to your departure, and honestly thought life would never be the same again.
The main thing that changed was my newfound appreciation for life and figuring out who mattered most: my family and friends. You leaving was also a wakeup call – I realized cancer can happen to anyone and it’s important to make people aware. Since you’ve been gone I’ve felt great, even better than when you were here! (Not to rub it in).
I hate to break the news, but you’ve been replaced by Levoxyl. It’s ok; you had 20 years of good work.
Of course, this trek was not an easy one in the beginning, it all started when you were diagnosed with papillary/follicular carcinoma back in May ’09. You were in great hands though; you and 30 other lymph nodes were taken out (only 7 were deemed cancerous). I was very upset you had to leave, but knew that it was for the best. It took some time to accept that you had to leave, even months after you left. Emotionally I was still distraught.
Anyway, 3 weeks after surgery, I left America without you and was on my way to study abroad in England! A little reluctant, our doctor assured me I’d be fine, and I was. A month later I had RAI to remove your remaining cells – after a scan I was deemed cancer free! Life went back to normal, physically I felt great, I started running again.
The main thing in our situation, dear thyroid, was the amount of emotional and mental strain I was faced with when you left. Luckily, my city has a support group for thyroid cancer patients/survivors, and the very support I receive from those people has made a world of difference. Being able to talk cancer with survivors has helped me gain a better understanding of life and I am so thankful for this support system. I encourage all survivors to join one.
So, while you are gone, you have most certainly not been forgotten. I continue to bring awareness to people because knowing the symptoms of thyroid cancer can save your life.
Lots of love,
Bio: My name is Alexa am a 21-year-old college student in North Carolina. I study psychology and am planning to start a master’s in public health in the spring. I’m a 1 year survivor June 11th ☺