Ah, Thyroid Cancer, The Breakfast of Champions
I want to hate you, but I just cannot. It takes too much energy to fuel that fire. I want to forgive you, but I am not there just yet. I want to scream and throw the nearest object I can find, but that I am certain will not resolve the complexity of my emotion towards you. I want to cry and yell and be raw, but I do not want to give you the satisfaction. Instead, I talk intimately with my sister. Instead, I run.
I came to know you well more than 12 years ago when the Hashimoto symptoms you bestowed upon my sister during her senior year in undergrad were ravaging her tiny body. Her periods had always been heavy and abusive and the depression she so bravely masked in silence was wearing her thin.
That same year, you decided to put my mother through hell by agreeing to host and feed multiple nodules. This, of course, led to countless inconclusive FNA’s followed by months and months of painful indecision about the best course of action—for both of them. Surgery or not? A Partial thyroidectemy or maybe just take the whole thing out? Perhaps just medication to increase function? Maybe I can postpone surgery until after graduation? But, what if it spreads? It couldn’t be cancer, I would know, right? They would know; I think? They are doctors for fuck sake! Maybe this is all just in my head? What if it is really nothing at all?
I resented you then. But worse, you tricked me and I fell recklessly and wholeheartedly into your trap. I allowed you to dance around inside my head, warp my thoughts until all that was left by the time you were done distorting my thinking and twisting my emotions was searing guilt. Guilt –because I was the only woman in my family who was free of your wrath. Guilt–because cancer and disease were inflicting emotional distress and I was helpless to stop you. Guilt–because I could not understand why you were not wreaking havoc on me.
You must have been laughing at me for the last 12 years.
Because I never questioned the origin of my own depression and the corresponding overwhelming fatigue. I chalked up those memory lapses to stress. I convinced myself that the crippling anxiety was a byproduct of said depression. My intolerance to cold I chose to ignore while pulling yet another sweater over my head. At routine physicals, when doctors questioned my abnormally enlarged thyroid, I told them what I had always been told, “That is my normal.”
I now have my matching scar; my badge of honor. You absolved me of my guilt when you blessed me with both Hashimoto’s, like my sister, and cancer, like my mother. To add in a bit extra for differentiation purposes, you made certain to position my cancer against my lymph node so the surgeon had no choice to remove a portion of it as well.
I want to hate you, but I just cannot. Right now, I am too damn tired to hate you. I want to forgive you, but I am not there just yet. I want to scream and throw the nearest object I can find, but that I am certain will not resolve the complexity of my emotion towards you. I want to cry and yell and be raw, but I do not want to give you the satisfaction. Instead, I talk intimately with my sister. Instead, I run. Instead, I write.
(Bio) 35 year old thyroid cancer survivor
Tags: Dear Thyroid Letters, genetic thyroid autoimmune diseases, genetic thyroid disorders, thyroid cancer, thyroid cancer blog, thyroid cancer community, thyroid cancer patient letters, thyroid cancer support, Thyroid patient letters