What My Thyroid Cancer Diagnosis Taught Me

What My Thyroid Cancer Diagnosis Taught Me

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!

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41 comments

    1. Thank you so much, Lauren! I hope my story serves as an inspiration to others. It always amazes me how much I’ve learned since I was diagnosed — not just about thyroid cancer, but about myself. I’m glad you have found my story inspiring. Thank you for your continued support. I hope you have a great week!

  1. Vanessa, I truly appreciate how real and open you are about your journey and how you’ve turned a negative situation into a positive one, by using your victory to help encourage others to take control over their health and reminding us all to keep things in perspective. You are a strong woman and you inspire all of us with your story, thank you for sharing. I hope you have a wonderful week ahead, beautiful!

    XO,

    Jalisa
    http://www.thestylecontour.com

    1. Thank you so much, Jalisa! I hope my journey can inspire other young cancer survivors’ and show them that they, too, can still have a fulfilling life. My diagnosis has helped me find my voice and and an inner strength that I never knew I had. Thank you so much for your continued support, prayers, and love. It means the world to me. Hope your week is off to a great start!

  2. “This journey has forced me to let go of who I thought I was, and to take control of who I am becoming”…goosebumps! Although I’m lucky to have never received a life-altering diagnosis like this, this statement was so impactful for me. It’s so good to hear your positivity through it all and I can only hope that your journey gets easier day by day! Happy monday to you Vanessa!

    1. Thank you so much, Tristan! It has certainly been a long journey for me, but also one in which I’m constantly learning about myself. I’ve grown so much as a person over these last three years, and while I know I’m no longer that same twenty-something I was before, I’m definitely a better version now. I’m thrilled that you found this post inspiring. Thank you for your continued support and well wishes!

  3. Happy to hear that you are doing well. It can be difficult to share your story so I appreciate that you feel comfortable telling it. I know that three years has passed, but for a survivor it can seem like just yesterday. Having strong examples like you out there makes it much more bearable for others who go through not just cancer, but other difficult situations in life to know that they can survive too. Keep on surviving! Will pray for your long and hopefully happier life.

    xx Yasmin
    http://banglesandbungalows.com

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Yasmin! I’ve definitely had moment where I felt like I was diagnosed yesterday, and others where it felt like has been an eternity since I heard those words. I hope my journey inspires others to fight the good fight, and know that they are stronger than they think. It certainly has been quite a journey for me. Thank you for all of your compassion, support, and well wishes. It means the world to me!

  4. Also, it’s kind of strange to say this, but every time I come back and visit blogs that I follow, I feel like I’m catching up with a friend (even though we’ve never met). It’s a nice and comfortable feeling, whether you are sharing a happy story or a sad one. I take something with me every time. And enjoy that feeling.

    1. That’s so sweet! I feel the same connection with the blogs/bloggers I follow. Blogging is such a supportive community and I’ve made some great “friends” through it. I hope we are able to meet one day in person!

  5. This was such a wonderful, thoughtful post. I can not imagine going through what you have gone through and am blown away by your strength and grace. Here’s to many more healthy checkups to come!

  6. Such an inspirational post! I’m so sorry to hear about your battle with thyroid cancer. I cannot imagine. You are in my thoughts and prayers and here’s to many more healthy checkups! Continue to be strong and inspiring 🙂

    http://facetocurls.com/

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