Tag Archives: Coldplay

Thyroid Cancer – Three Years Later

11 Aug

timehop

Three years ago today, I was having my thyroidectomy. Two years ago, I was having my first scans. One year ago today, I was pregnant. On all three occasions, I was frantically worried about my health and my future. Today, I only remembered that I had cancer because my TimeHop app told me so.

Life is crazy that way…so overwhelming when you’re in the moment, and then when you come out on the other side, you barely remember the anguish. I wish someone would invent a TimeHop app that showed you the future. I wish I could go back in time and tell myself more than the doctors were telling me.

Here’s what my fast-forward TimeHop app would have said on August 11, 2011.

In three years, you will be cancer-free. Your scar will be barely noticeable. You will have been on so many different dose combinations of Synthroid and Cytomel, that you will need a storage cabinet for half-used bottles. You will be within five pounds of what you weigh today, but you’ll still obsess about it constantly. You will have a totally different job and career path. You will have THREE beautiful, healthy, perfect daughters who make you laugh every day. Being abnormal will have become so normal, that you will ask questions like “am I cold, or not?” out loud. Having cancer will give you perspective about marriage and motherhood and happiness that you would never trade for your thyroid.

Also, it’s a good thing you like Coldplay, because repeating the same song over and over is the only thing that calms your youngest daughter down enough to sleep.

Three years later, I’m still here. I worry way more about grocery shopping than I do about not having a thyroid. Most days I am too busy to look back. I can’t trade my thyroid cancer because it got me here. And August 11, 2014 is pretty awesome.

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525,600 Minutes

11 Aug

Today marks one year since I lost my thyroid, and my cancer. 365 days. 525,500 minutes. How do you measure a thyroidless year?

Before my surgery, I was terrified of gaining 50+ pounds. I was already struggling with reduced energy, and I thought I would become non-functioning. I was afraid I would have a terrible, ugly scar. I thought I was saying goodbye to my fertility. I was worried that my voice would never sound the same. I didn’t want to end up with breathing problems that would prevent me from running. Deep down, I thought they might open me up and find more cancer. I prayed my personality wouldn’t change and I wouldn’t end up with chronic depression. I thought I wouldn’t be a good mother anymore. I thought my marriage might suffer. I was worried about my career. I thought saying goodbye to my thyroid meant saying goodbye to life as I knew it.

I thought I would never be the same. I was right.

My surgery was a piece of cake. The best decision I could have made was choosing an endocrine surgeon who does thyroids all day long. You literally have to squint to see my scar. No complications. No surprises either; he took the cancer out, and it hasn’t spread or returned. My voice sounds exactly the same. I can still sing to Mary before bed, and I can still hold private radio concerts in my car. Just last week, I got to see Coldplay, singing my cancer anthem, up close and personal. No one at the Palace of Auburn Hills was screaming louder than I was.

My surgery was so non-eventful, that I interviewed for a new job just 10 DAYS after my thyroidectomy (wearing a necklace to hide my fresh incision). Despite all odds, they hired me, and I have never been happier in my career. I’m doing something I love, and working with fantastic people.

I can still run. In fact, in May, I ran a 5K a full minute faster than I did before my surgery. My daughters don’t think any differently of me…they still like to run around outside and get really sweaty…”to look like Mom after Zumba.”

Having cancer actually made me slow down and appreciate my beautiful family even more than I did before. It forced me, the ultimate caretaker, to let someone else take care of me. There were times this year when I was overwhelmed by how much I am loved. I don’t think I would have been able to experience that without really letting my husband take the wheel. And if we decide we want to have another baby, we can. At my one-year appointment, my endocrinologist gave that choice back to me.

Over the last year, I’ve struggled to feel like myself. There have been days where I’ve slept 12 hours and still wanted a nap. I take four different vitamin supplements a day to make up for the deficiencies my thyroid left behind. And I can’t lose weight to save my life. One year later, I am 12 pounds heavier, and 25 pounds more than “normal.” I’ve tried to accept it, but I can’t. So I will keep fighting, playing around with my medication, counting calories and exercising. In the meantime, I am actually learning to be happy in my life without being happy with my weight.

So how do you measure a thyroidless year? When I measure the joy in my life against my pain, I came out ahead. I am winning the war. I am surviving. There is light at the end of this tunnel, and I know I will achieve “normal” someday. Maybe next year.

To quote Chris Martin, “You can hurt…hurt me bad. But still I raise the flag.”

I ran two 5Ks this year, and followed up one with a 2K run with Ellie.

Andy and me before the Coldplay concert in August 2012. No scars visible.