This past weekend, April 2nd, marked the three-year anniversary of my thyroid cancer diagnosis (you can read the full story here). It’s not something I choose to commemorate, but rather something my mind never lets me forget. Like it was yesterday, I still remember the day I got the call to come in to my endocrinologist’s office to receive the news.
I was on my way out the door to have lunch with a friend, when I finally reached the doctor’s office on the phone hoping to get the results of the fine needle aspiration biopsy I underwent a week earlier. Instead of hearing “yes, everything is fine,” I heard instead, “the doctor would like to see you this afternoon.” I knew then that the news was grim.
It has been a lengthy and tortuous journey, one that I never thought would have lasted this long. But I learned after my surgery that it is a never-ending one. You are never cured of cancer; you are merely a survivor. Each morning I’m greeted by the same yellow Synthroid pill. And by the afternoon I’m reminded of the toll my invisible illness takes on my body. This journey has forced me to let go of who I thought I was, and to take control of who I am becoming.
But in doing so I’ve learned a few things about myself. I’ve learned that I’m stronger than that which tried to hurt me. I’ve learned that I’m more resilient than I ever thought I could be. And I learned that I will never stop advocating for myself and fighting the good fight — because the fight is worth it.
A terrible diagnosis can put life in perspective for you in a way that you might never know, even if you lived a hundred years. I feel that I am wiser than my young years should allow, yet older than my young years know.
Thyroid cancer has taught me patience, compassion, and understanding — not just for others, but for myself.
P.S. For those of you who are curious, the appointment with my new endocrinologist whom I saw last month went well. She agreed to keep me on the same dose of Synthroid that I’m currently taking, and seems to be a doctor who will listen to me and that I can work with. I will see her again in August for a neck ultrasound and follow-up. Thank you for all of your well wishes!