Today marks the one year anniversary of my thyroid cancer diagnosis. It’s all still very clear to me like it happened yesterday.
I had black and blue bruises in a huge patch across my neck from the biopsies which had been performed one week prior. One of the thyroid nodules- the largest- hadn’t even been biopsied because of its precarious location directly on my windpipe. I had 4 others biopsied at the time and even more nodules appeared by the time I finally had my thyroidectomy. (I still consider a Fine Needle Aspiration procedure to be one of the most nauseating forms of torture someone could willingly submit themselves to, but we do what is necessary in order to survive, don’t we?)
The funny thing about my diagnosis, though, is that I was not distraught or devastated or shocked or scared by the news. I was relieved that I finally had answers to my years-long illness. I had confidence in my medical doctors and our chosen treatment. I had hope for the first time in years. Maybe I could finally get some energy again? Maybe I would finally be able to lose weight again. Oh, how I missed the old me! I was able to make a huge list of things with which I could scrape together and create a new life. That was the best I could have been allowed to hope for in years!
After diagnosis followed a slew of doctors exams and appointments and one more biopsy, and countless needle punctures & more before I could begin treatment. It marked the beginning of change. Do I have regrets? Probably, but I have to think really hard to name some. There are a few things I would have changed if I could, but I wouldnt risk too many for the sake of everything I have learned. There are so many things which have changed for the better since then.
My marriage got better. It had been rocky for the majority of it. We are weeks away from our 10 year anniversary now, and I have found that adversity is the best way to draw people closer to God and to each other. We are stronger for it, more humbled and grateful.
My children are stronger. We are working on more patient and tolerant. They’re also naughtier in a lot of ways compared to how they used to be, but I think they will outgrow it. They are more forgiving though. Their prayers and faith are stronger. I’m constantly praying that this trial does not break our family more than it will strengthen us… if that makes any sense.
As for my health, I can finally say that I feel human again. My friends’ and family’s encouragement and kindness have helped a ton. New involvements with the kids’ awesome new school have helped a ton, not to mention the cute friends I have made there as well. It helps a great deal that I have a membership to a fantastic kickboxing gym which is a great fit for my workout personality. I already knew the tools to a healthy eating lifestyle, so that has rarely hindered me, but I am learning a great deal about the importance of eating more calories and not less. (That’s not always easy as I don’t love food or eating, but that’s okay.)
I have found the new me to be surprising. More often than not, I am now that gym-clothes-wearing, minivan-driving mommy who is almost always sipping smoothies, driving between home, school, gym, or appointments/meetings. I keep a fat book in my car for down time, as well as my latest ongoing craft project, or an extra pair of boxing gloves. This makes me laugh at myself a good deal. I never thought I’d be that person. But I am happy! And I feel well more often than I feel poorly.
Lastly, I have good control of my health goals and know exactly how to get where I want to be. It’s amazing how many things I need to stay on top of now that I haven’t got a thyroid anymore. With my T4 and T3 looking pretty good lately, the biggest thing I am focusing on lately is my blood sugar. It will be fine though. My doctor has given me an excuse to go to the gym even more often than I already was. If I do so, which I plan to, then I think everything will fall into place the way I want it to by then end of next year, hopefully sooner.
It’s been a surprising and educational journey this past year. I’m working hard and hope that I have made my loved ones proud. I’m mindful of you all and continually pray for you in your own journeys. Keep the faith- you’re not alone & I’m always here to cheer you on.
The New Year is just around the corner! What are some new goals and/or resolutions you are pondering? Leave a comment on this blog post. 🙂