Dear Thyroid, Thanks For Nothing, You Jerk
We need to talk.
This week, while perusing yet another women’s magazine full of ads about breast cancer benefits, while sifting through yet another e-mail from a friend who’s raising funds for that cause, I came to the realization that you’ve made my life difficult in ways I never imagined possible.
Yet, for the majority of a decade, as you silently plagued me with undetectable symptoms of hypothyroidism, all the way up until we knew that my “goiter” was actually a cancerous tumor that had taken over most of my neck and some of my lymph nodes, I commended you.
I commended you for showing me how much ass I can kick (as I trained my way through treatment to my 3rd marathon and several triathlons, while working multiple jobs). I commended you for familiarizing me with bizarre side effects, bloodwork, treatments, doctor visits and accusations about mood swings (because, by the time we knew you were cancerous, I’d already accepted the life that most thyca newbies will take years, if not decades, to accept). I commended you for finally allowing your cancerous condition to be discovered (so that the years of medicine and illness and testing I endured could finally end).
One would think, after receiving my gifts for years, despite all the undesired responsibilities with which you’ve saddled me, that you would show me a little freaking gratitude.
Instead, you showed back up in my one-year ultrasound as a mass of suspicious tissue.
I’m not mad about needing more radioactive iodine if you are, indeed, planning a guest appearance (although that would suck up all of my time off right now, and I haven’t had a real vacation in over five years). No, I’m mad that even in your virtual nonexistence, you continue to make me and my life a giant freakshow.
And let’s be real: I don’t need your help being the odd woman out. I’ve always been quirky. From the most basic differences (I don’t like roses, or chocolate and peanut butter together) to the most dramatic (I’m one of the few “round” multiple marathoners I know, and one of the very few happily childless women), I have always managed to think and act outside the box.
I couldn’t even get the cancer other women get. No, my disease doesn’t come in pink, isn’t globally recognizable and supported, doesn’t have multiple multi-million-dollar fundraising organizations attached to it – even the treatments are different. Every time someone learns I have cancer, I have to explain how I didn’t have chemo, how my hair didn’t fall out, and how I even GAINED weight. No one understands why, now that it’s “gone,” I still can’t stay up late or get fewer than 8-9 hours of sleep without feeling ill.
I didn’t think it was even possible, but at a time when I most need that connection, you have made it even MORE difficult for other women to relate to me.
So today, Dear Thyroid, I am not singing your praises. In fact, I’d say it’s a good thing you’re already dead.
Feisty cancer survivor, amateur triathlete/marathoner, adventurous life-lover, all-around good time. I just trained for my 4th marathon for the benefit of The American Cancer Society and am currently aiming for my second Half Ironman triathlon (if my whole body scan and/or more radioactive iodine doesn’t stop me). Thyroid cancer and thyroid disease continue to change my life . . . surprisingly, for the better. However, there are still days when I want to yank out my hair.
To Support Me and the American Cancer Society, Please Visit My ACS Webpage: http://main.acsevents.org/goto/megganann
For More Information on Cancer Research and Prevention: http://www.cancer.org
For More Information on Mary Kay visit http://www.marykay.com/megganann
Tags: feeling like an outcast having thyroid cancer, lack of awareness for thyroid cancer, the effects of thyroid cancer, thyroid cancer blog, thyroid cancer forum, thyroid cancer letters written by patients, thyroid cancer literary website, thyroid cancer misunderstood, thyroid cancer patient feeling marginalized, thyroid cancer patient letters, thyroid cancer support