My thyroid gland
You really suck. For the past few months I have been living with a diagnoses of you sitting on my thyroid gland. From ultrasounds, biopsies and a vampire’s wet dream of blood taken, we are now preparing for my upcoming thyroidectomy surgery to remove the entire thyroid, nodules and main threat of you spreading your nastiness in my body. Cancer, you’ve been on my mind a lot lately, but I’ve been reluctant to tell too many about our little situation. See, you represent death and disease and I work too hard at living to be looked at like I’m dying. I don’t want anyone looking at me with those sad eyes, voice raised with forced concern. No, thank you. At least that’s how I’ve had to feel for the past few weeks, while I fight to maintain normality with work and kids. But, after today’s full curriculum of pre-op appointments, I was reminded that I am f*#king terrified by you. Because of you someone is cutting into my throat and removing a large piece of it. Because of you I won’t be able to use my vocal chords for weeks, and I will be on medication for the rest of my life. You suck! And I don’t want to keep this to myself anymore.
Let’s get this perfectly clear, what we have here, in the grand scheme of things (as cancers go) is a mere inconvenience. Most cases of thyroid cancer can be cured with treatment. Since my diagnosis, I’ve learned thyroid cancer occurs in the cells of the thyroid — a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck, just below the Adam’s apple. It is the thyroid that produces hormones that regulate your heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and weight.* Technology is making it much easier to detect thyroid cancer and extraction of the entire gland, with a treatment of the synthetic hormone have proven to be successful in removing your ongoing threat.
It was a much stronger version of yourself that robbed me of an amazing mother-in-law and my children of their Gran E in just 6 short months and I will always have a vendetta against you for that. You’ve attacked friends and family members, through pancreatic cancer, leukemia, cervical cancer and breast cancer, and I hate you for that too.
Cancer, I know you’re not going away tomorrow. Let’s face it, it was only 60 years ago that governments were dropping atom bombs into the ocean for curiosity sake. Not that long ago smoking was “cool” and DDT was an inexpensive way for farmers to protect their crops. We’ve done a lot of damage to our environment, our diets and our health in the last 100 years and we’re going to pay for it. Fortunately, appropriate changes are being made, and technology is becoming more capable of detecting you in the early stages – this is how we will beat you.
My personal process of testing for you has been exhausting. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism after gaining 80 pounds during our first pregnancy; a routine ultrasound discovered nodules on the thyroid gland; biopsies and blood tests had me passed along to a series of “specialists” until I finally landed in the competent office of my Endocrinologist (hormone specialist), and he made the diagnosis. Sure, it was a kick to the stomach when you were mentioned and the decision to “extract the entire gland to remove the cancer” was made, but it’s also been a great relief to finally have some action being taken.
I have discovered that the health system is flawed, and it has pushed every button I have to push, but the food adventures have been awesome. The Endocrinologist’s office is next door to a Longo’s market (similar style and products to Whole Foods) and the Surgeon’s office is in the heart of Markham’s Chinese community, so I’ve been getting my fill at the T&T Supermarkets and the Pacific Mall. I’m doing my best to stay positive and look at the ‘food side of life’. So far it’s been working.
So, Cancer, you’ve had me down lately and you’re putting me in a pretty compromising position but I’ll beat you. I am far too rock and roll to be taken down by something like thyroid cancer, (I have my sights on a flaming motorcycle accident in my late seventies). Thanks for the frustrations and the personal perspective. I’ll be sure to use them, with my loud voice, to raise awareness and fight you with the rest of the world’s great committees and fundraisers.
… And for those days that you really have me feeling down, well, at least I have my Monty Python.
Your arch nemesis, Dana
*Information provided by MayoClinic.comAdd to favorites