Life is so precious and I think we tend to forget that until our world is rocked by something big and scary like the “C” word. My journey started last year in April when I went to the Doctor about an unusual bulge near my throat. During the test, the Doctor noticed nodules in my thyroid; I had to have a biopsy after the nodules were found. The biopsy was very painful and the wait to find out the results seemed like an eternity. It took three weeks of calling the Doctor’s office before I could not take the wait any longer and I went and picked up the results myself. My results were atypical follicular cells. The diagnosis was later changed to follicular neoplasm. Lesson number 1 is that it is okay to be afraid. I had to repeat every test I had over the past year except for the biopsy. Now it is February and I am scheduled for surgery in March. I must admit that I am frightened BIG TIME. I think I have gone through every emotion there is from denial to acceptance to anger to denial and now to being scared. At first, I shrugged this off with a smile and a joke.
Later I felt abandoned by my friends – hardly a word of care. I was especially angry with one that had recently gone through breast cancer. I thought that I stood by her by calling, going to Church, eating breakfast, and giving her small gifts. I felt that when I needed her she blew me off and compared her malfunctioning thyroid to my cancer and indicated “no big deal.” Now I realize that friendship is not 50-50, sometimes it is 70-30 and I would not change one moment of support for her and I would do it all over again. I now know that in her eyes, I am not a close friend, and that is okay with me. We all see each other differently. Lesson number 2 you cannot force someone to be your friend. I suppose that I have learned to appreciate my true friends and accept the acquaintances for just that and no more. I have learned that I have many wonderful friends that I did not realize before all of this.
I think people get the wrong impression about thyroid cancer, because they think it is the “good cancer”, while it has a great survival rate it also has a high rate of reoccurrence. After thyroid cancer, people are subjected to test the rest of their lives. Life is forever changed for survivors. Lesson number 3 no cancer is good. I am afraid what will happen in March, but I know that I have a wonderful husband and my mother is there for me too. Life will return to normal and I will survive. Once my thyroid is removed that is not the end of this as I will have to face having radiation and yearly scans. I still cannot believe this happened, but I am thankful for the friends and the family that have shown me so much love and support. Lesson number 4 appreciate the people in your life and let go of the rest.