Life Redefined: Making Thyroid Cancer Personal
In the previous two installments of this column (here and here), I’ve shared with you statistics about thyroid cancer. I shared those with you because numbers can be powerful. Seeing a number that tells us how fast the incidence of thyroid cancer is growing is eye-opening. Seeing a number that tells us how many people are expected to die from thyroid cancer this year alone makes us want to invoke change. We want those numbers to start declining. Numbers are important for raising awareness, but stories are also so very important because they make thyroid cancer personal. I’ve shared My Cancer Story with you before, so today I want to bring your attention to the stories of other thyroid cancer survivors. Today we’re going to put some faces to thyroid cancer and make this personal.
These are letters that have been published on DearThyroid.org during this month alone. Read these names. Absorb these stories. Raise awareness.
Monica shares her story in her letter Hello: Family and Friends, Am I Not Suffering Enough For You To Feel Strong Enough To Catch Me? Monica reminds us that thyroid cancer isn’t over when the surgeon performs the thyroidectomy. Even if it’s not physically a part of us anymore, thyroid cancer stays with us forever.
Justi was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2009. In her story Thyroid Cancer, When All Was Said, I Was Done she talks about having to redefine her life after being diagnosed with cancer. Getting back to “normal” does not happen overnight because “normal” has completely changed.
In A Break-up Letter, Deb so painstakingly describes the emotions and hardships she went through before having her thyroid removed and receiving the diagnosis of cancer. In spite of all that she’s been through, she is standing strong.
In 1981, Caroline was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. However, her experience with cancer doesn’t end in 1981. In her letter So Many Cancers, So Little Time…In College, As An Adult, And, In Life, Caroline tells about dealing with multiple cancers and doctors not properly following up. And now, after 29 years of living without a thyroid, she’s facing the possibility of a recurrence. Cancer is cruel.
Ah, Thyroid Cancer, The Breakfast of Champions. Keira’s story is full of raw emotion. Her sister has Hashimoto’s. Her mother had thyroid cancer. Keira? Well she has both. Though she is still figuring out how to deal with being betrayed by her thyroid, she has resolved to not let her thyroid win.
Brianna grieves for her thyroid. In her story RAIere You When I Needed You?, Brianna expresses her appreciation for her thyroid when it was functioning properly, before it was overtaken with cancer. Although she misses her thyroid, she wants to move on. As she knows, that’s easier said than done.
As she expresses in her letter Dear Thyroid, I Miss You, Robin also misses the healthy thyroid that once was a resident in her neck. She knows that a pill will never fully replace her thyroid. Nothing can replace it. Robin feels the absence of her thyroid, but admits that its absence has made her stronger.
In Thycanchondria?!, Judy shares the feelings of worry, sadness, loneliness, and fear that cancer imprinted on her life. She yearns for the “normal” she had before she was diagnosed with cancer. She wants her family to understand that she’s still feeling the aftershocks of cancer. For Judy, and for all thyroid cancer survivors, it’s not over.
Cancer Took My Dignity And So Much More, But I Cannot Let You Win This War is the story of Every Survivor. This story lays it all out there—cancer can rob us of our friends, our family, our dignity, our pride, our self-respect. The list goes on and on. But when we stand together as a unified front, cancer will not win this war.
Every single story is important. When we share our stories, we are telling the world that this cancer is REAL. We are telling the world that this is not a good cancer. It’s not an easy cancer. And its presence is not welcome. When we share our stories, we are raising awareness and making a difference.
What’s your story?
Tags: Dear Thyroid letters submitted by thyroid cancer survivors, Life Redefined Making Thyroid Cancer Personal written by Joanna Isbill, mental effects of thyroid cancer, physical effects of thyroid cancer, stories of thyroid cancer survivors, thyroid cancer awareness, thyroid cancer awareness month, thyroid cancer column, Thyroid Cancer in Young Adults Column