This is a story best told with the long and the short of it. First, we’ll do the short.
I was diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid Cancer and had half of my thyroid removed. It appears they got all of it, the chance of recurrence is low, and we will monitor for changes from here on out.
Now for the long. Since the spring, I have been experiencing cyclical symptoms that weren’t disruptive to life but caused concern. One day this summer, I had a few things happen at once, so I went to the ER to confirm whether or not I was having an emergency. I wasn’t, but when doing a scan, they saw a mass in my neck. From there, it went: primary care provider consultation > ultrasound > endocrinologist consultation > biopsy > surgeon consultation > surgery. There was also a side visit to a neurologist just to round things out. It all moved very quickly, and before I knew it, I was on the other side of surgery with a positive prognosis.
It’s weird to say the words “cancer” and “lucky” in the same sentence, but I truly feel fortunate that the type of cancer I have is so known and treatable. Papillary thyroid cancer tends to be slow growing and non life threatening. Most often, surgery is the treatment. Through each appointment with my various providers, there were consistent discussions of: this is what it is, this is what we do, and this is likely what will be the outcome.
How am I doing with all of this? I’m good. It’s heavy, but you know who spent last spring doing a 12 week therapy program to get better tools to deal with the hard stuff of life because her lone-wolf-who-catastrophizes-while-suffering-through-it routine no longer served her? This gal did. I have been able to stay in the moment, focus on what I know, and not spin out about a million what ifs.
For those who are learning of this now and thinking “I wish I knew! I would have done something!,” I know you would have, and I love you for it. I surrounded myself with a smaller group for simplicity sake, and I had all the hands on support I needed for the time I needed it. This was never a secret, and it was something I shared if the opportunity for an extended conversation came up. It doesn’t translate easily to a text, and I didn’t put it on blast at the start because it takes a lot of energy to break the news, give context, and support all the reactions that come with it. I just needed to get from A to B with a strike team, and then open things up to my beautiful community.
So why share now in this manner? For one, while I am hopeful that all will be well, you never know where life will take you, and now my community knows the back story. Second, I have a bitchin’ scar across my neck that will be much less visible in 6 months but for now is raging, so I figured I would mention it. Personally, I dig it. Lastly, I know I am loved by so many incredible and kind people who would do anything for me, and I do have a request. In an auspicious AF twist, my birthday lands on Thanksgiving this year. You can celebrate me best by making a donation to the cancer research center of your choice. Our family fundraises for Fred Hutch, but anywhere that is doing the work could use your dollars. My treatment has been easy and accessible by comparison to so many. This gesture would truly be a celebration of me and amplify the abundance of thanks I’d like to give in honor of another trip around the sun. I have had people I love dearly make it through treatment, and I have had people I love dearly not make it through treatment. If my situation can somehow bring support to the bigger picture, that’s all I can ask for. ❤