A while ago I underwent a surgery to remove half of my thyroid because there was a nodule growing on it. This nodule had been benign for a long time but then it started to press on my wind pipe, so my doctor elected to remove it. After that, he wanted it examined to look for cancer. Well, all the pathologists at my doctor were split. Half said cancer, half said benign. Thus half of my thyroid make quite the journey. It was transported to Wisconsin, and then eventually to New York to be looked at.
All this goes to say, they found out I have cancer.
Before you go freaking out, stop. Take a breath. And relax.
We won’t know what kind or stage until after I have it biopsied. On August 10th, the remaining part of my thyroid will be removed and then I’ll undergo radioactive iodine treatment to disintegrate any traces of my thyroid that were left over.
I know. I just threw a lot of information out there at once. If you’re not a medical expert or a sick kid, your brain might be spinning. So to summarize: they have no idea how bad it is, but I’m feeling optimistic. My doctors do seem concerned more than they usually are, that’s true. But I know I’ve gone through this surgery before and I handled it well, so that’s good.
So I thought today though I’d talk about cancer.
I’ve known for a while now but I didn’t tell a lot of people. I didn’t know how to. There were a lot of reasons I kept it to myself for so long. It’s awkward to come out there and just say “by the way, I have cancer.” I didn’t want people to treat me differently. I didn’t want people to suddenly care about me when they really hadn’t before. I didn’t want all the attention to be on me. I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me. I didn’t want to just talk about cancer. It’s weird to say that I have cancer because it doesn’t feel real.
Honestly, I don’t feel sick. I’m now a part of this group of people who are deemed Really Sick, and I don’t feel it. I don’t feel like I should be among them. I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been. I don’t feel like I’m constantly fighting to stay alive or to find a cure. I’m not a huge medical health activist nor will I ever be. I don’t feel sick. I don’t feel weak.
But for a while it hit me hard. I’m sick. Even though I don’t feel it, I am sick. Some day I may wake up and not be able to walk. Some day I won’t be able to eat. Some day I’m going to be in so much pain I’ll cry all day. And the worst is the not knowing. I don’t know when my body will give out. I’m fine today but how will I be tomorrow? I’m worried because I’m a person that prides myself in being independent and self sufficient. I know someday I won’t have that luxury.
But I guess that’s what makes me grateful for each day I am normal. I thank God for my health and that seems almost ridiculous for someone who has so many issues going on. But I am. I know that God is in control and if He didn’t want me to have cancer than I wouldn’t have cancer. It’s as simple as that. With that, I guess I just want people to know that having cancer isn’t the worst thing in the world. It’s terrible, but there are worse things that could happen. Cancer doesn’t get the last word. Cancer can have a footnote in my story but that’s it.
And hey, on the bright side, I get to be Hazel Grace now. So I’ll be on the lookout for a one legged boy who carries a cigarette around for metaphorical reasons.