Butterfly Paragraph Submission, By Dorienne Plait
I was 17. I never took pleasure out of the simple things in life. I was too busy thinking about whether or not I should wear heels to graduation in case the ground decided to use its gravitational pull to humiliate me. As a result of my deliberate blindness, butterflies never grasped my attention. Sure, they were always lovely in my mind, but I did not imagine exactly how connected I would feel to them on June 1, 2006.
When I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer, my mind was just as hazy as my eyesight. Tears blinded me from seeing the doctor telling my family how “lucky” I was, my mind’s blankness numbing me from feeling my sister’s warm, comforting hand on my shoulder. I knew nothing about cancer, except the fact that it was the deadly disease that took my grandfather away from me just 9 months before my diagnosis. I really did not have any other connection to cancer before Opa’s death. I certainly was not enamoured by the fact that I had yet another connection, and this time, it was a direct one.
One night I was researching with my best buddy, Google, and I came across an organization called, “Thykidz, Inc.” I looked through their website, and found kids like me if not younger with thyroid cancer. It was amazing to read their stories, but what really caught my attention was that their logo contained a butterfly. Intrigued, I did further research on why the butterfly was connected to thyroid disease/cancer. I came to find out that the thyroid is in the shape of a butterfly, and I was even more astounded. The butterfly is so lovely, so gentle and harmless. The thyroid — my thyroid, in particular — had done a lot of harm and was not exactly lovely in my eyes. I was very angry and overwhelmed at the time.
The butterfly then became my mascot. I used it on everything; my notebooks for college, my t-shirts for Relay for Life, and even my AOL Instant Messenger icons had butterflies! I was — and still am — a butterfly maniac.
When one sees a butterfly, one cannot help but feel calm and serene. The soft, soundless flutter of its wings and the way its colors blend and clash with its surroundings render its audience speechless. Sure, the butterfly clashes with the idea of thyroid disease; just putting the word “disease” in the same sentence as “butterfly” causes confusion and curiosity.
It is my personal belief, however, that the butterfly brings balance to the negativity of thyroid disease. There is nothing pleasant about thyroid cancer. This is a fact that I have regretfully confirmed in my everyday life. However, when I see my beautifully-preserved blue butterfly sitting on my desk, I cannot help but feel a wave of peace wash over me. I smile, because I know that I am slowly making peace with my disease. While it may take me a long time to finally look back on my final teenage years and the beginning of my young adulthood without shedding a tear, I do know that peace will come. All I need to do is let my mind take flight like the butterfly…
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