Thyliloquy: Act One: Scene One: The Gyno. The Girl. The 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.
C: Smiling, not knowing the topic of the conversation In english it’s ‘Iodine’
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.
Tags: Dear Thyroid Letters, Graves disease in young adults, Graves patient letters, graves' disease, Graves' support, hyperthyroid community, hyperthyroidism, hyperthyroidism and gynecology issues, Thyliloquy Act One: Scene One: The Gyno. The Girl. The Thyroid, written by Monika