This is a totally unrelated post. But I’m struggling. HARD. The last week or so has not been easy. I will understand if no one reads this post. I’m kind of writing it as a way to deal with and face my current emotions. They’re fighting to overtake me, and they’re winning. So if I get this off my chest – maybe it will help. But mainly I needed a reason to sit down and focus. Even using essential oils and powerful anxiety meds, I can’t seem to win. My arms and legs are shaking, my breaths are shallow, and I feel light headed. Not to mention I’m so tired because sleep has been impossible lately. This is the scariest thing i’ve ever written. Honestly, I don’t talk about it. Ever. Because the emotions that flood me are overpowering. But I’m going to get this out there. **Warning – there will be swearing** Here we go…… deep breath
I’ve had thyroid problems since I was about 10 years old. It would bounce back and forth between hypothyroidism (underachieve) and hyperthyroidism (overactive) a few times a year. I was getting blood work done every 3-6 months to try and figure it out. As I got older, it changed a little less and then finally decided to stay under active. In my mid teens, during a routine ultrasound, they reported that I had nodules on my thyroid. I was assured this was normal and nothing to be concerned of. So I didn’t worry. In the summer of 2016, I got a new doctor who wanted a current ultrasound. She said that one of my nodules had grown to 1.2cm in size and was now large enough for a biopsy. She assured me that this was small, and that a biopsy was not necessary at this point, but let me decide. I considered not doing it. The thought of a large needle going into my neck was not a pleasant thought. But, as my cousin was currently undergoing chemo for a different type of cancer and was most likely going to lose the battle within the next year no matter how hard he fought, I went for it.
In September, we got the results that it was ‘suspicious’ for papillary carcinoma. AKA Thyroid cancer. When you see people get results like this in a movie, it always feels so fake. But I can say it’s pretty spot on. Your eyes can’t focus, the room gets blurry, and you immediately think of all the things in your childrens, husbands, and families lives. Within 10 seconds of hearing those words, I pictured my son getting his drivers licence and me not there to see the happiness on his face behind the wheel. I saw my daughter in a wedding gown, arm in arm with her father, getting ready to walk down the aisle, and I wasn’t there to tell her that she’s beautiful. I was scrambling with the letters that I wanted to write to them at those moments in their lives so that they know what I think of them and just how proud they made me every single day. It was fucking terrifying.
The drive to fight for your life comes later, once things calm down and you get some details from the doctor. For me, my prognosis was fairly positive. If there’s ever a cancer you want to get; it’s this one. She was fairly confident that she could remove my thyroid and it would be cured. Yes, CURED! My nodules were small and the lymph nodes that the cancer would typically spread to were clear. This was good news. So now I knew what I was dealing with and I would be ready.
The beginning of October came, and I just wanted it out. I wanted the cancer out of my body so we could move onto the next phase. With my family by my side, I went into surgery knowing that I was surrounded by love. 4 long hours later I was wheeled out of the OR and gave my family the thumbs up and told them I loved them. Nothing can keep me down!
Healing took a lot out of me, but it was easier to handle knowing that it was out of my body and lymph nodes were clear. There were 5 nodules in total and 3 of those were cancer. I didn’t expect 3, and that took a long time to process. My next step was a radiologist in London. That was a great experience. She held nothing back. She was through, detailed, and listened. That’s where I learned that I was stage one, which is considered VERY early. They were happy. They also said that none of my lymph nodes showed signs of inflammation or infection, so as far as they were considered, it hadn’t spread. Which meant NO RADIATION! I was overjoyed! They said that I was discharged and considered cancer free, and would go back to my regular doctor for 6 month follow ups. I felt like I was breathing again for the first time in months.
I count myself lucky in this cancer story. There was an easy fix. A surgery, possible specific radiation, and then follow ups. All the doctors told me how lucky I was and I agreed. They told me there is still a small chance it may come back, but it’s easy to spot and easy to treat.
Even though I know that they can spot if I’m out of remission, it doesn’t stop the thought from entering my mind on a consistent basis. I know that I need help dealing with what happened. My doctor said that I’m displaying effects of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and I couldn’t agree more. Every tiny ache and pain is cancer as far as I’m concerned. I freak out, even though I know that rationally, its something small and virtually nothing, I panic. My logical brain gives way to the emotions that kicked me into fight mode during this whole ordeal. It’s exhausting. Absolutely exhausting. I know that I need to talk to someone, which is something I’ve only admitted to myself last week. But I need help dealing with these fears and emotions because they’re starting to take over and effect my every day life.
Which brings me to current day. As I said in my weekly wrap up post on Sunday, I’ve been experiencing some health issues. My rational mind says don’t worry! You just saw your doctor and she said levels were good and where they need to be. But the thing is, that I’m having neck pain and can feel a lump in my neck. This is explainable. I’ve been having muscle and chiropractic issues so it could just be a knot in my neck and inflamed tissues. But my mind immediately things that it’s cancerous lymph nodes. The pain in my neck and jaw could be related to an inner ear issue. There are so many simple and small reasons that these things are happening, but my anxiety won’t let me think clearly. I’m currently in panic mode awaiting ultrasounds and information. I can’t sleep anymore because I lay in bed filled with fear.
My husband is my rock. I’ve been an awful person to deal with lately but he’s always hugging me and telling me that no matter what it is, we will get through it together. And even if the cancer has returned, from what the radiologist has told me, it’s simple. But I’m caught in the in-between again just waiting to know what it is and what needs to be done. And that’s where anxiety thrives.
I know that there are many bloggers out there who have been dealing with cancer and other serious diseases. So you know what I’m going through. I hope you know that you are not alone. And I hope that maybe you could give me some advice on how to handle this before I can find a professional to talk to. I feel like I’m not functional in my life right now.
If it wasn’t for my husband, kids, parents, books, and this blog, I would have given up. All of these things take my mind off the fear and into a happy place. If you’ve read this far – I thank you!
I also wanted to take a quick second to say that life is short. You don’t really realize just how true that statement is until you face something like this. Don’t take a single sunset, summer breeze, laugh, smile, or hug for grated. Soak every bit of it in!!!! And don’t ever be afraid to take chances if it’s something you want!! This blog is an example of that. I normally would have been too afraid to fail. But this cancer scare showed me that there’s no time in life to hold back. Failure is always a possibility, but you’ll never know until you try. Even if you fail – grieve. It’s ok. Be sad or mad! But if you wake up tomorrow, dust yourself off, and make a game plan to make that day into something amazing. Every day is a gift – a new opportunity to succeed at something else, and a new day to make yourself happy and make memories.
Sorry this was long, but it calmed me down, and I hope that this helps people to not fear something new. Because life really is short. Grab your today’s and go for it! There’s nothing holding you back.
Until next time, happy reading!