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Wednesday June 19th 2019


I Hate You, Thyroid Cancer, And Love Is Bigger Than Fear

Post Published: 20 June 2010
Category: Dear Thyroid Letters
This post currently has 29 responses. Leave a comment

Dear thyroid cancer,

It’s easy to focus on the negatives that you brought along with you. The negatives are always right in my face, staring me down. The fatigue, the insomnia, depending on a pill to survive. The swollen lymph node in my neck. I hate you and I hate all the heartache you’ve caused. I hate all the changes you’ve made to my body. I hate you for making me second-guess myself.

You know what, thyroid cancer, I hate you, but I do not hate the person you’ve made me. Oh, I did at first. At first, the change you put me through was unbearable. I balked at it, but once I got a handle on the fear you tried to destroy me with, I learned to embrace the change. You changed so very much about me. You’ve taught me so very much about myself and about life. I bet you didn’t know that could happen, did you? You and your evil tried to take over my life, but in the middle of the ugliness, I found a pocket of beauty. Can I always see the beauty? No. Sometimes your presence is so sharp in my mind that you are all I can think about. But while you were focused on stealing my life and destroying my body, you unknowingly became a teacher. The lessons I’ve learned from you have led to beautiful changes in me. I want you to know what I’ve learned while living with you so you will remember that you don’t hold me in bondage:

The easy question to ask is, “Why is this happening to me?” The better question to ask is, “What can I do to use this for good?”

Life isn’t always about me. People are more important than things. People are more important than cancer.

Love is bigger than fear; perfect love destroys fear.

I cannot be full of fear and full of peace at the same time. Living in peace is a choice. It’s not an easy choice, but it’s a choice.

You are the worst thing that ever happened to me because of what you’ve put me through. You are the best thing that ever happened to me because of what you’ve taught me.

I hate you, my beautiful mess, but I love the person you’ve made me.



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29 Responses to “I Hate You, Thyroid Cancer, And Love Is Bigger Than Fear”

  1. Donna says:

    Joanna, your letter hits home for me. I feel deep in my bones every word you wrote. If we don’t take the good from this then “it” will have won. I knew from the beginning that this happened to me for a reason and I needed to turn it around into a positive. For a few years I was just learning to be me again and I did not have the energy (physicaly or emotionally) to get off my butt and make stuff happen. I want you to know that because of you and Dear Thyroid, I am on my way. I admire your courage, strength and determination and love that you are helping others. Cancer does many things, most of them not lovely, but we choose what to do with it after we get through the initial process. I’m happy we are choosing to live a better life and to pursue things that will make a difference, not just for ourselves but for others who may need a little help to get to a good place. What bugs me the most about thyroid cancer is the fact that so many people think that the “pill” will just make everything better and life goes on as it once was. That is so far from the truth and I say that with caution because I want people that are just beginning their journey to have hope and try to stay positive BUT I think they need to stay on top of how they feel and know that things don’t always remain the same. I learned this the hard way and I want people to understand that just because the cancer and the process is complete that it is not over. We may have kicked the cancer’s ass but we now have thyroid disease and we need to be educated about that and empowered to stay healthy. Thank you so much. I appreciate you!

  2. landsman2010 says:


    I despise what cancer did to us survivors too, I hate it just like you. I hate the fact that there are many people that will go through it and will have to endure the upheaval which comes with such a diagnosis. And, like you, I love how it’s changed me and it’s motivated me to help others like ourselves. This has made us strong, confident individuals and continues to empower us everyday. We know how to fight a little harder now, and I think that’s made all the difference.

    Lots of love 🙂

  3. Brooke says:

    Brilliant. Its everything I feel.

  4. Donna, thank you so much for your wonderful words.

    Cancer does many things, most of them not lovely, but we choose what to do with it after we get through the initial process.
    Beautiful wisdom, Donna. You are so very right. We get to choose what to do with our situation. Cancer does not dictate that choice. We get to decide what to do with the changes that cancer brings.

    Here’s to choosing to live life! Thank you for your insight!


  5. Beautifully said, Alexa. I’m glad you’ve come to appreciate the person that you have become post-cancer diagnosis. It’s hard to come to that point where we can love ourselves and hate the cancer at the same time, isn’t it? I’m still not there all the time. I’m a work in progress!


  6. Thank you, Brooke. Feel it, girl!


  7. Christina says:

    Joanna, your letter left me in tears. Hopeful tears. I still don’t know if I have cancer but after 5 months of scans, biopsies, and consults with doctors and my recent total thyroidectomy…I have already changed so much. Strength for me only comes in short waves. I hope this change brings out a stronger and more fearless woman. You, and survivors like you give me hope for that. I thank you so much for giving me hope.

  8. Carol says:

    Wow…Im still crying…you said everything I have wanted to say and felt for so long. Thank you Joanna! The swollen lymph node in my neck is exactly what I am going through NOW. Sometimes ( especially in the heat) it swells enough to put pressure on my right eye. Makes me think the cancer is back so I have scheduled an appt this week to get it checked. I also have some slight pain in and around my arm pits. Sometimes I run a fever with out any other symptoms…I feel like I am a mess!! again thank you…with all my heart,

  9. Lori says:

    Joanna – I HATE that you have cancer but if you didn’t, I never would have met you and I would not have the privilege and pleasure of being inspired by you.

    I LOVE what you said – “I cannot be full of fear and full of peace at the same time. Living in peace is a choice. It’s not an easy choice, but it’s a choice.”

    I would love to quote you on this and put it as my status today!


  10. Bee says:


  11. Dear Thyroid says:


    I love this letter so much. To echo so many sentiments stated, you are an inspiration.

    Your approach to fear is beautiful and honest. One day, I hope to be as brave as you are.

    Lots of love

  12. Christina, I’m so glad you’re finding hope. The change thyroid diseases and cancers bring is so hard to deal with because the change does not happen on our own terms. It comes without our permission. Learning to embrace the change is hard.

    Hope you get a diagnosis soon, and I of course hope it’s not cancer! Regardless, we’re here for you!

  13. Carol, I hope they’re good tears! I sincerely hope your doctor has some answers for you. PLEASE keep us posted!

  14. DAT says:

    I need to be Donna or DAT, I’m confusing myself, lol. Joanna, thank you for the kind words, it is a choice and sometimes difficult to see but we can get out from under it. I worry about my thysistas that don’t feel well enough to get to that place, be it cancer or disease, and I hope we can help them to see a brighter future. Thank you again!

  15. Lori, you’re so sweet! Knowing you is a privilege!

    Quote away, baby.

  16. Bee, YOU are an inspiration!

  17. Thank you, Katie. You are brave, I hope you know!

  18. Donna, we can get out from under it. You’re right about that. I think we need help to do so, though. At least I know that I need help. Realizing my need for support and finding that support was a turning point for me.

  19. Lolly says:

    Joanna that is truly a beautiful letter your last quote sums it up.

    Thyroid disease/cancer changes us from the person we used to be, you handle it with such grace, me I’m like a bull in a china shop. The only thing it has taught me is how to be patient, because you so need to be, waiting on results, waiting for Drs or Endo appointment, waiting to come out of hypo/hyper, so if anything it has taught me to be more patients learn to walk before i can run. And to learn everything i can about my diease so I can advocate for myself.

    Love your letter and love what your thyroid has made you a truly inspirational person.


  20. Thank you, Lolly. You are so right about having to learn patience, but patience is a very hard lesson for me to learn when it comes to my own health!

  21. DAT says:

    I agree we need help Joanna, I would not have found out I was hyper without Dear Thyroid and the lovely people here who helped me to recognize that I was not who I used to be and it gave me the courage and determination to start being a better advocate for myself. When I first found this site I was blown away, I thought the way I felt was everything but my thyroid/lack thereof. I would have just continued to accept all my symptoms as my post-cancer self. When I think of all the wasted time being sick it makes me sick, lol. This place has directly impacted the quality of my life, plain and simple. I will be forever grateful 🙂

  22. Dear Thyroid has helped me so much, too, Donna. I will also be forever grateful!!

  23. Melissa Travis says:

    BEAUTIFUL WORDS – “I hate you but I do not hate what you’ve made me.”

    Thank you for sharing.


  24. Thank you, Melissa! xoxo

  25. tracey says:

    i never thought i’d be in my early 20s and saying im a thyroid cancer survivor..but this quote inspire those like myself whom suffer certain aches, pains,lack of energy, trouble sleeping, trouble concentrating..etc ( i could go on for days) as a result of no thyroid.

    Makes me say my prayers and bless for what i DO have each and every day now.

    september is thyroid cancer awareness month.

  26. claudia says:

    hi joanna

    i read your thyroid truth, i cried all day i am glad to learn who have thyroid that i have thyroid i have no idea about since 2009 i ruined my marriage, ruined my life i become miserable life but i can survive to fight my thyroid to get treatment medicine. so i read your quote about thyroid last 2010 it was been three years so what are u doing now? u did success to beat your thyroid? i would like to know what your success with thyroid? please email me soon or not. your quote is really beautiful that hits my heart to understand more about my thyroid since 2009 i was no idea i thought i am bad person but not, thyroid is bad. i would like to thank u many many millions to write your health to important to everyone to learn that same situation. God blesses you many much for your health. <3 so much

    love, Claudia.

    • Joanna says:

      Hi Claudia,

      Thank you for your sweet comments. Keep hanging in there–you’re not alone! As for an update on my health, thanks for asking. My doctor has not been able to tell me there is “no evidence of disease,” but there is no progression of disease, which is wonderful. The suppression therapy with synthroid seems to be effective. Overall, I consider myself health, but more importantly, happy! My number one suggestion is to find a doctor who listens to you and who you consider trustworthy.

  27. Kris says:

    Just came across this, and love it. Diagnosed in 9/13 and surgery 11/13 and still awaiting iodine treatment! Want this nightmare over and gone!!!

  28. Joanna says:

    Kris, glad you found this site! I know this is such a hard season in your life. Everything feels like it’s been turned upside down. I know this doesn’t seem possible right now, but I promise you can find your own new “normal.” You can still have life in the midst of dealing with cancer. Keep reaching out–we’re here for you.

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