A Letter to my Ex-Thyroid
Do you remember the first time we met? I do. It was 1997; I was a beautiful bright eyed 20 years old and you were a diseased gland in my body that I have never heard of before. Oh but we got acquainted pretty quickly didn’t we? The guy who introduced us, my doctor was perplexed. You see I wasn’t looking to meet you that day or any other day for that matter. I just wanted to know why I was having trouble swallowing my food and why I felt like my throat was closing up on me. I expected to leave with a prescription for some medication not an appointment for a C-scan.
Our first date wasn’t so romantic. I came scared and not sure what to expect. From the time we were introduced I did a little checking up on you. I knew you a little better but I still had no idea what I was in for. I walked into the dimly lit room. I undressed and walked over to the table to lie down, then I was injected with dye- the worst part was you didn’t even buy me dinner!
My third date with you was a painful one. I knew this relationship was going nowhere. In fact I was getting sicker and sicker of you and you didn’t seem to care at all. They told me I needed a biopsy, a fine needle aspiration biopsy. I almost fainted when I saw the huge long needle. They stuck me and I cried – the doctor told me to “stop getting emotional.” I never saw him again. Wow, Thy, you really know how to show a girl a good time.
My next date with you was a little repetitive although it did go better than the previous date. I guess you thought to yourself that I had so much fun on our last date that we would do it again! I had to go for another biopsy since the one before was inconclusive. At least this time my neck was sprayed with something that numbed it. I cried though when the doctor told me that it could be cancer. It was the first time I heard the word in reference to me. Though I was going for biopsies the thought that I might have cancer never crossed my mind. I didn’t believe him and I just thought he mixed me up with some other poor patient of his. This biopsy came back inconclusive as well.
I decided I had to break up with you. I didn’t know if you were cancerous or not but the lump in my neck was getting noticeably larger and eating and drinking were becoming increasingly uncomfortable. You were making my life a livin hell. School suffered, work suffered my social life suffered. It was my 21st birthday and I should have been partying with my friends but as fate would have it I was on operating table instead, because of you. Don’t you feel bad that the way I celebrated my 21st birthday was getting rid of you? You should because that is how much I can’t stand you. When I woke up, the doc introduced me to your friend, Big “C”. He said that I was lucky. I tried to talk to ask how is that? He said that if Big “C” was to come I was lucky he came with you. Wow, laying there with no voice, with what they called a Queen Anne dressing from my shoulders to my neck and a tube coming out of my neck attached to a bag that was filling with blood, just being told I had cancer on my 21st birthday, I really did feel like the luckiest gal in the world. Thanks Doc ! He then told me that Big “C” was localized in the left lobe and because the right lobe looked good, they decided to leave half of you in. He also told me we needed to discuss treatment options. Treatment options- a wonderful birthday gift. This was the best birthday ever!
Doc told me with therapy and medicine and I would suppress what remained of you. I didn’t understand this but I was young and figured the Doctor knows best. I know differently now.
I went on with my life. Although the break-up wasn’t complete I went my way and you were silent. I was adjusting to my life with half of a suppressed you in my body. What a blissful existence of blood tests sonograms and c-scans not to mention weight gain, hair loss and depression. I was getting used to doctors telling me my symptoms were in my head because my blood levels were good. I was even told by one extremely compassionate doctor that if I want to lose weight, I should put down doughnuts and jump on the treadmill. I hadn’t had a doughnut or anything like it in months and I was already exercising 5 times a week. That’s when you decided to drop back into my life again. You couldn’t just leave me alone, could you? You were back and fiercer than ever. Oh and you brought your friend the big “C” back with you too, for old times sake. I don’t know what made you think I’d want to meet up with you two again. But this time I was going to finish what my doctor last time couldn’t. I was going to break up with you for good and your muscle big “C” too. I never wanted another surgery and I cursed my last doctor for making me go through this again. Apart of me though was happy because I knew you and I would be through- for good this time and all the side effects in the world would be worth it because I was sick of being scared of you and Big “C”.
It’s obvious that you are obsessed with me. I am a happily married woman. Why can’t you just leave me alone? Why did you have to come back? I didn’t even know it was possible for you to come back but yes you ended up pulling off the impossible didn’t you? You grew back. At least this time your buddy big “C” wasn’t with you but the doctors said big “C” could be lurking and ready to rear his ugly head soon. So I had to do what I had to do and I nuked the s*%t out of you. You are dead now and if somehow you end up coming back to life guess what? I’ll nuke you again. Leave me alone and please just stay dead with your friend big “C”. I’ve had enough of you two. You’ve both got to know – you’re not going to win. Throw at me what you will but you can never have me. Just face it already!
Hi name is Laura Andrews. I live in Bayside, Queens and my first battle with thyroid cancer was in 1997 when I was 20 years old. I am now 33 years old and after two operations and RAI treatments I am still struggling with my lack of a thyroid. I am married to a wonderful and understanding man whom I love very much. I work full time and take college classes at night as I had to drop out from my illness when I was younger and then high medical bills made my return to college impossible. Please see attached my letter to my ex- thyroid. Hope you enjoy it.
People can find me on face book.