We Are At The Beginning Of Change…
Wednesday March 20th 2019


Life Redefined: Free Falling

Post Published: 23 November 2010
Category: Column, Life Redefined, Thyroid Cancer in Young Adults Column, Uncategorized
This post currently has 6 responses. Leave a comment

I received an email a few days ago from a fellow thyroid cancer survivor asking me for some medical advice. This survivor was scared she was having a recurrence and wanted to know my opinion on her situation. She felt scared and alone and didn’t know who to turn to because she wasn’t getting any answers from her doctor. Did you catch that? Her doctor wasn’t giving her any answers. This is a problem, don’t you think? How many of you have experienced this same thing? What I want to tell you is that it is possible to navigate your way through cancer and other illnesses without always feeling like you just jumped out of an airplane without a parachute. In my experience, there are two key components that have to be in place in order to have that sense of security: a doctor you trust and friends/family who truly support you.

[Before I go any further, let me assure you that I did not reply to the aforementioned email with any medical advice because I’m not qualified to give you medical advice. There, you’ve received the disclaimer.]

Have you ever done one of those trust falls where you’re up on a platform and have to fall backwards, trusting that everyone on the ground with their arms held out would actually catch you?  Like in this video. Yeah, I don’t like those. When I was in the seventh grade I was at a ropes course that included one of these trust falls. I refused to do it. I helped catch people who were trusting enough to fall, but I would not get up on that platform myself. But in this situation, I had the choice. I was able to choose to keep my feet firmly planted on the ground.

When I was diagnosed with cancer I felt like I had been shoved off the platform and didn’t know who was beneath me. I think that in situations like this, you have to hand-pick your support system. First of all (but not necessarily most importantly), I had to have a doctor I trust, a doctor who is willing to work WITH me, a doctor who sees me as an individual and not as a chart. I was fortunate enough to find this doctor on my first try. I know that for many of you, finding a doctor you can work with has not been so easy. Some of you haven’t found that doctor yet, but please, DON’T GIVE UP. I hear you when you say that good doctors don’t exist for you. I hear you when you say it’s hard work to find a doctor you can trust. Please let me encourage you that good doctors do exist. Keep looking for the best doctor for YOU because you deserve good treatment. (Note: If you’re having trouble finding an endocrinologist, check out Mary Shomon’s directory of patient-recommended thyroid doctors: http://www.thyroid-info.com/topdrs/)

Surround yourself with people who will truly support you and catch you when you are falling. Unfortunately, I’ve found that there’s a learning curve with this one, and that means I’ve hit the ground when the people I thought would catch me disappeared. And it hurts. Bad. When I was diagnosed with cancer there were friends in my life who I just knew would be with me for the long haul. Some of them have stuck by my side. However, many of them disappeared. Out of the picture. Gone.  I think that’s something many of you have experienced as well. Figuring out how to move on from that loss is HARD, but we must move on because we deserve wellness.  We need to be surrounded by people who care. Find people who truly want to support you and cling on to them.  Let them help you carry your load. If you don’t have anyone in your life who will support you, well you’ve come to the right place—we are here to walk with you through every single step as you seek treatment and healing and wellness.  We carry each other. We hold each other up. Together we seek change.

Don’t settle for less than you deserve. If you are in need of help and don’t know where to turn, email me (joanna@dearthyroid.org) and I promise to help you find the resources you need.

With love,


Do you have a solid support system? Who catches you when you fall? What do you need to feel that sense of security, to know you won’t hit the ground?

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6 Responses to “Life Redefined: Free Falling”

  1. Melissa Travis says:

    Really fucking GREAT article. Fab. It is hard to forget how often we have to free fall in trust when we’ve been diagnosed baby doll… and then keep helping others through the fall again and again.

    Great writing and great advice. XOXOXO

    • That’s the key–helping others through the fall again and again and again and again… Once I took the fall myself, I didn’t want anybody else to have to go through that without being sure that someone was there to catch them. We HAVE to catch each other if we want to move forward and heal and invoke change.


  2. Lisa says:

    That “free fall” feeling is so true. I went through many a doctor before I found the 3 that I could trust to catch me. It is possible to find a doctor that you feel very comfortable with. I felt that I needed to know that I could trust my life to my doctors for I feel that they are holding my life in their hands while I go about trusting them. I do a lot of research for my thirsty knowledge to understand what the hell is happening to me. I have given my doctors research that they weren’t even aware of. I want other thyroidees and throidettes to know, please go to and through as many as doctors as you want until you find the one you are most comfortable with. It is possible.

    • Lisa, thank you SO much for sharing your success story of finding a doctor you trust. Like you, I need to trust my doctor in order to really be able to pursue and achieve wellness.

      I’d love to hear more about your experience–why didn’t you trust your first doctors? How did you find the doctors you do trust?

      Thanks again for sharing!


  3. Shannon says:

    Yes, yes, yes.
    One year post diagnosis and TT, I am just recognizing how much my family and some friends really disappointed me. It sucks, but feels good admit it. I know someday I won’t be pissed/disappointed, but for now I am. I needed love. Major TLC. And, the jerks didn’t give it to me. LOL
    Now it’s moving on and through, and realizing nobody did it on purpose.

    • Shannon, I understand the pain you feel when your friends/family don’t show up the way you expect them to. That pain has been HARD for me to deal with and I did not forgive my friends over night. It was a process. In my case, I came to understand that the friends who I expected to carry me through this absolutely did not understand that I needed their support beyond the initial surgery and treatment. And I think talking about cancer was REALLY awkward for them–they didn’t know how to have a conversation about cancer without feeling uncomfortable and/or scared. I also came to understand that I can find the support I need right here, and I hope you can, too. If you need ANYTHING at all,even if it’s just to chat, don’t hesitate to email me: joanna@dearthyroid.org


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