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The Best Had Come and You Failed Me, Yet Reinvented Me, I Think…

Post Published: 03 April 2013
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Category: Dear Thyroid Letters
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the best had come and you failed me, yet reinvented me, I think

Dear Thyroid,

This is my second time starting this message; you know, I’ve told this story millions of times, but generally I focus on all the things I thought you stole from me, but now I’m realizing that maybe I’m not addressing the situation correctly: what if I addressed you?

You know, you never worked right.  It’s not that you were lazy, but I felt you all the time.  Every thought I had was like a wincing in my throat.  It seems odd to say this, but you know, I do remember that, that was how you were a part of me: it was five years ago, but I vaguely remember you there.  I was a nervous young man, well-meaning, but prone to anxiety, with difficulties in problem-solving.

Sorry, again, I’m wandering off, and I want to address you.

You know, I remember you there.  And I also remember the way it made me talk to people.  For example, the way we worked together, it made it almost impossible for me to be insulted, and take it, or to solve simple problems without turning to my father or my friends.  I managed to get a lot done anyway, but it would appear in retrospect that I did that mainly by staying alone, and jealously guarding my time, and having a very strong ego, and sense of who I could or should be, even if I spent much of my jealously-guarded time just spinning my wheels.

I’m going to cut to the chase: you failed me, and it happened right as we were about to cash in.

I had worked very hard for many years to put myself in the right place at the right time, and you wanted to completely stop just as I was crossing that finish line.  I couldn’t rely on you to keep me energized and even, and I didn’t have the strength to prop up the emotional confidence that, between us, we lacked.

Does that make sense?

You probably didn’t work quite right for a long time, maybe never; I remember a decline in quality early into my twenties.  But since the cancer, and your removal, things have been night and day.  I am still an emotional basket case, but you know, maybe it’s from a lack of understanding, and I want to stress this letter isn’t an attempt at a cheap fix; I guess what I’m trying to say is, in so far as I am an emotional basket case still, it is an artifact of incomplete mourning, and not a failure of emotional regulation.

I had a really hard time adjusting to life without you.  I was so used to how we used to work together to produce a coherent me.

Now that you’re gone, everything is easier.  So much easier that I had to go back to the start, and do the things I never would have figured out how to do the first time; and you know what, even though it was awkward, and I started late, it was so much fun.  I am grateful for the evenness of energy, and emotion, and for the new parts of myself it has allowed me to explore.  You bummed out at a bad time, yes; it frankly derailed all the good work we tried to do together.  You and I made it almost all the way, we almost achieved a very big dream.

I hope this letter doesn’t seem crazy to anyone who might read it; what I want to say, between you, me, and my removed thyroid, is that between the two of us, there existed, by the end, a kind of perfected compromise: we were very good at something we used to do.

I have never been calmer or more focused than what I experience on hormone supplementation, and this is no dig at you: you were simply doing your best.  I struggle to imagine what other compromises of self are generated by the sheer, gestalt fact of a body in motion.

I used to think of myself as a pretty smart and educated guy, but after going on supplementation, I breezed through Wikipedia over the course of two years, and actually am educated; so educated, that I kind of don’t need to think of myself as that, if that makes sense.  I can figure things out for myself that I never would have had any hope to do before.

I still mourn, for whatever reason, elements of my self-identity from before the cancer, even though I have had plenty of time since to replicate his unfinished goals and achievements; they don’t feel right, so I can’t.

And so, I guess the point of this letter is not a cheap fix, but to thank you: there was a type of twisted brilliance to our work together.

Together, we made a quirky little team.  I feel better without you, honestly.  I didn’t think I would, but I do.  I am so saddened for the young man who was cut down in the middle of the biggest step of his life: he really wanted that step, or if not the step, what that step meant.

Annnyway, I’m not going to progress further into this type of letter tonight, but it’s a shockingly useful exercise.

Thanks for the opportunity; I’m really happy something like this actually exists.  One of my residual issues stemming from the cancer is a lack of directional sense, as well as anger surrounding unfinished or interrupted business; it literally could not have happened at a worse time.  A gestalt approach kind of helps me think about it differently: having a thyroid really was different.

Chris S.

(BIO) I was a graduate student living away from home in Toronto, Ontario in 2008 when I became ill with thyroid cancer.  My illness occurred while I was juggling a lot of positive new developments, and rendered me, in short order, a fairly eccentric hermit who cried on a daily basis, and had a difficult time managing even the most minimal commitments.

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