Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Thyroid Cancer: First Impressions

Thyroid Cancer: My Thoughts

I now have a greater understanding of why people put off being checked out by a doctor. Ignorance can be blissful for a while. That is why we don’t have full length mirrors, or get on the scale or put makeup under a magnifying mirror. Thy can all be very scary! I was in no way fearful of going to my doctor visits. I felt like a normal 47 year old woman, not old and not young, with no major concerns. It is all very surreal. My mind and emotions separated. All the way until the day of the surgery I didn’t feel like it was really happening. But it was happening and I couldn’t deny that God had brought me to this place.

Each doctor I went to would ask, “Now tell me again, how did you find this?” And I would have to expound on the sequence of events that brought me to this point. My cancer was caught very early, which of course is a blessing, but the mind still manages to have doubts. Really! Even in blessings there can still be a price to pay. An example would be our modern conveniences. They make life so much easier, safer, cleaner, cooler, etc… but there are still reasons to complain: pollution, people out of work, accidents, cost. These things are true but can be managed and are worth it for the good the modern conveniences accomplish. I love my fridge and A/C! The point is, our minds want to reject suffering, especially when it is directed at us personally. So for me to feel like I was being saved from this cancer was very difficult because I wasn’t sick! And after surgery I was told I would be forever different and have to manage my thyroid levels. When these levels are off, it can affect all different aspects of my body and make me feel sick, weak and miserable.

“Is this a blessing or is it unnecessary?” “I sort of wish this could have been found out later rather than sooner.” Uncertainty and ungratefulness would pop in my mind and heart. I know some of you are shocked at this response, but the purpose of this blog is to share real life. The key here in my life is that these thoughts are fleeting. They are devilish and foolish. What would be the point of thinking this way? It would just add fear and unhappiness. I believe these are natural thoughts in our response to grief and suffering, but it brings us helpless before our God. I must remember that I am not in ultimate control over my life and so I choose to dwell on the things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report.

For some people in bad situations the thought of “why me” comes up. This doesn’t seem to be a problem for me. My nature tends to be fearful, so my thoughts are usually “why not me.” If it happens to others then why shouldn’t it happen to me. So I must be watchful not to think if it happened to other good people it probably should happen to me too.

When I learned I had cancer I “Googled” for hours to learn what I could find out about this cancer. I also wanted to hear what others had gone through. The good and the bad were both comforting. I didn’t expect the worst, but I don’t like the unknown. It is comforting to hear from others in the same situation. This is what I have done my whole life. This is the reason I love biographies so much. I don’t have to wish that these stories are true, and then feel empty still not knowing truth. But I can be inspired by real people and what they have been through and how they survived, sacrificed for God and what they endured, what they enjoyed and experienced, and who and what they loved and helped, and how they parented, and the places they saw and what they thought.

I really have had such peace during all of this so far. Putting things in perspective really helps. It definitely could be so much worse, but that doesn’t make it less than what it is. I know people mean well when they say, “Oh, this is the best kind of cancer to have.” Don’t you think that we know that? Really the best thing to do in these kinds of situations is to tell them you are sorry for them, and assure them of your love and friendship. That is all. I know this leaves silence which is very awkward, but it is better than the rest of what you were going to say. I have read this in books but now I know by experience.

It has now been over 3 weeks since my surgery, and these thoughts still come up mostly everyday. Every afternoon I have a little panic moment trying to remember if I really did take my medicine this morning or if one day has just blended into another. I still have to have the RAI treatment, but I haven’t even heard from my endocrinologist yet. I would just like to get adjusted and work on our new house for awhile, before the next step.

1 comment:

  1. This is a beautifully honest post, Teresa! Thank you so much for sharing your heart here. I can't wait to read more ... I'm still praying for you!! :)