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Thyroid Cancer Has Changed Me, And We Need To Talk About That

Post Published: 16 June 2010
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Category: Dear Thyroid Letters
This post currently has 22 responses. Leave a comment

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I hate to break the news, but you’ve been replaced by Levoxyl.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,

Alexa

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

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22 Responses to “Thyroid Cancer Has Changed Me, And We Need To Talk About That”

  1. Alexa, I love this letter! Your bravery is astounding. The way you stare cancer in the face and declare victory is beautiful. I’m so glad you have a good support group to help you deal with cancer. I love that you see this crapfest that you have to go through as an opportunity to educate others. You’re an inspiration!!

    Happy belated cancerversary!!

    xoxo,
    Joanna

  2. Sam Leeman-Munk says:

    Alexa, that’s beautiful. You’re really an inspiration to those of us who still live in fear of eventual cancer.

  3. Donna says:

    Hi Alexa, I left a comment on Facebook for you but wanted to be sure you saw it so I will leave it here as well. Your letter shows that you are a very brave and intelligent young lady and I instinctively know that you will manage the process of being thyroidless perfectly. I am so happy you are a part of this community because we can all help each other by sharing our stories. You are lucky in that respect, I had my thyroid removed close to four years ago (follicular thyroid cancer) and if I had the resources available to me today back then I would have most definately done some things differently. I’m happy you are part of our community and want you to know that we are here for you if need be. Good luck sweetie, I am so proud of you! Thank you again for sharing and best of luck to you. Hugs!

  4. Donna says:

    We have to laugh at ourselves so I will say that I know I repeated myself about how happy I am you are part of us. My mind does not operate like it used to but I’m 47 and was not getting enough oxygen to my brain for I don’t know how long so I have a good excuse, lol. I am thrilled that you will bring awareness to this disease, you are our hope for the future 🙂

  5. Elly says:

    YAY on the 1yr!!!!

    I’m in awe that you had the courage to leave and study abroad only a few weeks after surgery!

    Really, an inspiration to a lot, you don’t always need to ‘stop life’, or let fear cripple you.
    Good luck to you!
    Thanks for sharing….
    x

  6. Dori says:

    Alexa,

    I’m 21 as well and am dealing with papillary thyroid cancer also. 🙂 Yay, finally someone my age!

    I give you so much credit. You are so at peace with everything that has happened. I’m sure you aren’t all the time, even now that you have accepted these unfortunate circumstances. Believe me, I was in the same boat.

    I admire you for your strength, courage, and positive attitude. You rock!

    Love and thygoodwishes from me to you,
    Dori

  7. Congrats on the anniversary! You are a total inspiration x

  8. Lolly says:

    Congrats on your 1yr anniversary cancer free for one so young your really are an inspiration for others good luck with your career and studies you going to make it all the way.

    Lollyx

  9. Dear Thyroid says:

    Alexa;

    So proud of you for writing this letter. I wish you didn’t have to endure cancer, especially at your age – at any age – I love your attitude, you’re incredibly inspiring!

    Keep us posted. Know you aren’t alone.

    Lots of healing good wishes

  10. BB says:

    Alexa, it is so good to see that you have overcome this obstacle so quickly and have managed to take something positive and inspiring away from an otherwise terrible ordeal. Keep on thriving and happy V day, although it is a few days belated.
    ~B.

  11. landsman2010 says:

    Joanna — thank you for your warm wishes. I didn’t know who you were until now, but last year when I was about to go through my surgery, I found your blog. I was googling all things TC related and saw all the write-ups on TC but nothing as personal as your writing. I took comfort in knowing that someone else had gone through that I was about to endure. Thanks for putting your story out there! Many thanks and good health to you 🙂

  12. landsman2010 says:

    Sam, thanks for being a great support to me and friend 🙂 We’ll celebrate my cancerversary when I get back in to town this weekend!

  13. landsman2010 says:

    Donna, you are so kind! It makes me happy to know I can put my story out there so others will know that they can live with what they have however painful it might be at times. This community is perfect; we are all a part of a team and support one another. Lots of love from one survivor to another 🙂

  14. landsman2010 says:

    Elly, thank you. I see that trip as a part of my healing process — it is important to get back in the ringer after something like that. Lots of love

  15. landsman2010 says:

    Dori — I’d be interested in speaking to you more about your own story — it was so hard at age 20 being diagnosed because none of my friends/peers/anyone had ever heard of such a cancer! None of them could comprehend the depth of emotion I felt, I’m glad we share this, however. You’re correct; in the beginning of all this I only saw bad days. A year later, I feel like a new person. It’s such a transformation that can only be understood by those who are going through the various diagnoses that us thyroid patients are given, all conditions included.

  16. landsman2010 says:

    fuzzythyroidbrain, thank you! good health to you 🙂

  17. landsman2010 says:

    Lolly, I appreciate your words and your support. Sending love

  18. landsman2010 says:

    Ah, DearThyroid, thank you for making my letter possible. All I wish for is to help others see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and they WILL feel better. For some of us that might take some time, but working towards physical/mental/emotional health is a journey and doesn’t happen overnight. Thanks again and lots of love

  19. landsman2010 says:

    BB, thanks for being a great friend : )

  20. Christina Self says:

    Just to let you know Alexa, you are the best, in every way I know. I’m so glad you are my (faux) daughter, I miss you all the time, and I’m happier than you know that you are one year cancer free!!! All my love, and thanks for being an awesome, strong, inspiring person to know.
    Love Love Love
    (faux)Mom & Dad
    aka Christina & Matt

  21. Wow, Alexa, so we’ve kinda connected before w/o knowing it! It’s a small world we live in!

    xoxo

  22. Brooke says:

    Congrats! I’m glad you are feeling so much better 😀

    Everything became so much easier for me, dealing with thyroid cancer, by reaching out as well. That’s why I am here!

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