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Sunday March 24th 2019


Thyliloquy: Act One: Scene One: The Gyno. The Girl. The Thyroid

Post Published: 17 June 2010
Category: Dear Thyroid Letters
This post currently has 7 responses. Leave a comment

Dear Thyroid,

It’s not that I’ve been neglecting you. Truthfully. You know this, as I await each month for that package from my mother containing your precious bottle of disgusting-tasting methimazole, as every morning I down two and a half pills before I am fully, consciously awake. No matter what, I cannot take blame for what I went through today, but it’s not your fault either.

I guess we can call it a cultural misunderstanding or something – maybe it’s okay to be so outrageously blunt in Lithuania, especially if you think you’ve been trained by Soviet doctors enough to think you know what you’re doing. However, as far as I’m concerned, I should never have to leave a family party in tears because of you.

I keep playing over and over again what happened:

Cast of Characters:

Aunt: Crazy, Lithuanian, Soviet-Relic of a Gynecologist, middle-aged woman.

Myself (accompanied at all times by the silent character Thyroid): Lithuanian-American Student, Grave’s Disease patient.

Cousin: Tall, blonde, beautiful, English-speaker.

Myself (soliloquizing): We were getting ready to leave when she approached, pouncing on the opportunity.

Aunt: Do you have a thyroid problem?

M: Excuse me?

A: Motioning at her neck, then mine. Do you have a thyroid problem?

M: Yes. I have hyper-thyroidism

A: I know. I could tell. Your neck is huge. You have to watch it because you won’t be able to have children.

M: I know. I take medicine for it every day.

A: There must not be iodine in the water where you’re from.

M (soliloquy): Iodine is one of those words that doesn’t sound the same in Lithuanian (jodas) as it does in English.

M: What?

A: Iodine.

Enter Cousin

C: Smiling, not knowing the topic of the conversation In english it’s ‘Iodine’

M: Oh

M (soliloquy) said I, holding back tears, lips taut, overwhelmed as the conversation grew, accumulating a third person, losing its sense of simplicity. When it was two people, I could brush it off, erase it, knowing that I might never see her again. When it was three, it became a stain on everybody’s memory of the party. It was too late for apologies. The tears came down in torrents.

A: Ushering M into the hall Don’t cry! Don’t cry! There’s no reason to cry! I just want you to be aware! Some people don’t know!

M (soliloquy): Some people on the farms of the Lithuanian countryside who were born in a potato field and have never met a doctor don’t know. A student from the United States, however, would and does. All I can think is how ridiculous it is that I’m being so sensitive this time. I laugh and sob simultaneously, which is something of a trademark of mine. I find it funny when I cry, so I end up trying futilely to laugh through my tears.

Cue the rest of the family, getting ready to go, walking down the hall asking if I’m ready, only to find me sobbing in the presence of a practical stranger of an aunt, who has a dumbfounded look on her face. A cross between innocence at why I am crying, and wisdom, because she apparently knows better than my endocrinologist.


Oh, Thyroid! Every time I look in the mirror at my figure, I think that everything is okay, not perfect, but okay. I know you’re not in great shape, but I have hope in what we’ve gone through together. I don’t want to give up on your getting better. We’re stronger than that. But for goodness’ sake, I do not care who it is, there is nobody on this earth that has the right to tell me there is something wrong with you at a dinner party; gynecologist, family, or all of the above!

I am having the time of my life studying abroad. I admit, you haven’t been on my mind, because being here is the focus of my life right now. Not you. Never you. You’re a part of my life, you are the first thing I take care of in the morning, and there’s not much I can do more than that. I managed to avoid really thinking about it for the past eight months. Eight whole months. But can you really blame me? I never blame you.

So this was a nice kick in the gland, wasn’t it?



(Bio) Monika’s thoughts on life and experiences studying in Lithuania can be followed on her blog. It’s been over a year since she last wrote to her thyroid. Maybe this was its revenge. In any case, the future isn’t looking bright after four years of Graves’, but she’s relishing her last two months in Europe, knowing that her return to the US will probably bring some definitive measures that she’s not really looking forward to.

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7 Responses to “Thyliloquy: Act One: Scene One: The Gyno. The Girl. The Thyroid”

  1. Bee says:

    some relatives seem to manage to lose that word to brain filter at some point in their lives-good intentions aside, they manage to hurt our feelings when they think they’re being helpful—sounds like you handled it well, you’re allowing yourself to live in the moment and you’re enjoying your educational experience. That’s about all anyone can ask for, right? Live for today, don’t let others’ ignorant yet good intentions dampen your joy and face those pesky problems down the road when you get down the road

  2. Amanda says:

    Understand completely. Sort of the reason I am avoiding my Mother until I have a diagnosis. She looks at me and I can see the gears turning in her head.

  3. Thank you, Monika, for sharing this letter with us. It’s important to raise awareness within our own families–awareness of what to say and when to say it. Many of my extended family members don’t know what to say to me, either. I know it’s hard, but you’re dealing with it beautifully. Good for you for focusing on life!


  4. Lolly says:

    Monik some people have a habit of putting their foot in there mouth at times and say all the wrong things as you get stronger you will be able to handle these situations much better coming back with a hum dinger of an answer even if it is witty some people don;t have an answer to sarcasm or jokes. I laugh my graves disease off although I live a battle daily enjoy your time in Europe and think about what will be, once you return home as for the Auntie well intentions might have been good but she got it all wrong and there is no reason why you can’t have children having Graves disease you will just have to monitored more carefully throughout that pregnancy so your Auntie needs to get her facts right.
    One day you will prove her wrong till then just be strong.

    All the best now and the future and when next someone says something come back proud and strong and make them aware of what Graves disease Is and how it effects you.

    Thank you for sharing your letter/Play you did a great job proud of you for being brave enough to do so.


  5. Nicole Wells says:

    Oh Monika, I’m so sorry you had to be in that situation. It’s true, people and their concern sometimes sends us to the brink. On top of everything else, we sometimes think about what THEY must think after our reaction – and then all the emotions follow – guilt, anger, defeat…I completely understand the gang up situation and the bullshit it brings.

    Writing about it certainly helps, and thank you for sharing your story.

  6. Dear Thyroid says:


    I am so in love with this letter. Your turn of phrase is flawless. What a scene. How did you manage? How did you get through it?!

    Thank you for sharing more of you with us.

    Great work, kid. Keep those cards and letters coming.


  7. Melissa Travis says:

    Beautiful. Lovely- sad, amazing, powerful! There is healing in this letter! Thank you for sharing it!!

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