“Cancer comes into a life and worms its way in. It’s the unspoken presence every day of the person’s life—‘the cancer’s back’ or ‘in remission’ are common references in the life of the person with cancer. However, it continues to be the people who can fight it that make the whole disease seem beatable and worth fighting.” ~Anonymous

I was so touched by this inspiring quote, that I had to share it with all of you.  There were so many thoughts that came up for me when I read it.  As a cancer survivor, I can look back and see that it was a fight.  There were so many times that I wanted to give up, but I kept on going.  I am grateful to be in remission.  There is an “unspoken presence” ever since I was diagnosed.  I don’t feel it most days, but it is there.  It is something that I have accepted.

My hope is to stay in remission.  There is a recurrence rate of about 30% with my type of cancer.  But percentages don’t really mean much to me.  When they found my tumor, I was told that there was a 95% chance that it was non-malignant.  Regardless of the percentage, I knew in my gut that it was cancer.  When the results came back, it was confirmed that the tumor was malignant.  I was one of the people in the 5% category.  Those were not odds that I was happy about beating.  But it did teach me not to give percentages too much power.

I also learned that my health and well-being were worth fighting for.  Surviving cancer was worth the fight.  I was worth the fight!  It changed me.  I discovered my inner-voice and spoke up instead of staying silent.  I asked doctors all of my questions, instead of filtering the ones out that didn’t seem important.  I made the calls to my insurance company many times to resolve issues with coverage and billing instead paying the first bill I received.  I didn’t pay the price for the disconnect within the healthcare system.  I opened my mouth and talked about how I felt and didn’t pretend that everything was alright all of the time.  I prayed and prayed and had faith that it would all work out.  I created this blog to share my experience and help others.  In turn, I was able to get my virtual voice heard.  And to my pleasant surprise, I have gotten back so much love and support in return.

We are all worth the fight!

As a cancer survivor, I get to go back for follow-up doctor visits, blood work, scans and more every six months.  Here we go again!  I got the blood work done yesterday.  Tomorrow I go to have my ultrasound scan after work.  Then I have an appointment with my doctor to go over the results at the end of next week.  Deja Vu!!

I’m getting the hang of it now.  The fear seems to lessen each time.  I’ve learned that worrying and negative thinking does not do me any good mentally, spiritually or physically.  (It reminds me of this quote I found.  “Worry is a huge waste of time; it doesn’t change anything, except maybe your blood pressure!” ~Author Unknown)

Trust me, I can list many other things that I would rather do with my time then getting more tests, scans and sitting in doctors offices.  But the reality is that I need to continue to be responsible for my health be doing these things. In turn, I am able to live a healthy life and free from cancer.

How ironic.  A little over a year ago, I didn’t know if my speaking voice would ever be the same after my thyroidectomy.  Now I got asked to be one of the honorary speakers at the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life at JHU!  I’m blown away by it.  It is crazy in a very good way.  I keep going back and forth in my mind, thinking about when I was first diagnosed with cancer and how I was consumed with fear. I couldn’t really talk about it because there were not words to describe how I felt. But today, I’m a cancer SURVIVOR! I’m going to use my cancer-free vocal chords to let everyone know during my speech to never lose hope.  Fight the fight. Never give up because we never know what the future will bring.  

During my cancer treatment, I was in isolation and not allowed to have anyone within three feet of me during my radioactive iodine therapy.  I felt so alone.  There were days where I didn’t have the energy to get out of bed.  I didn’t know how I was going to face the world.  I was emotionally and physically tired.  I had to fake it until I made it.  I put one foot in front of the other and got better.  As I’m writing this, I’m overwhelming with gratitude thinking about standing in front of over a thousand people, as a cancer SURVIVOR, giving a speech about my journey.  It is an amazing feeling.  One I wish for everyone touched by cancer in some way.

1/29/10

One of my goals the past few months has been to write a “Dear Thyroid” letter and submit it to the Dear Thyroid site.  I finally wrote the letter!! Yay!! I’m so excited for you to read it.  I found it quite therapeutic to write.

I posted my Dear Thyroid letter called “RIP my Thyroid, August 1973 – January 2009” on my blog this week, but I had to take it down. Why? Well after posting it on my blog,  I found out that Dear Thyroid will only publish original content.  (Ok, I get it. Rules are rules!)  I do admit, I did not read all the requirements set by Dear Thyroid before submitting my letter. So I have learned my lesson 🙂

I will post the link to my letter on the Dear Thyroid site as soon as they post it. Stay tuned for details…

3/10/10 UPDATE :  Dear Thyroid still has not posted my Dear Thyroid post so I might post the letter on my blog after all. Stay tuned!

3/22/10 UPDATE TO UPDATE: Dear Thyroid posted my Dear Thyroid letter today!!! WooHoo!! Please take a looksy at http://dearthyroid.org/rip-my-thyroid/and share your comments.  Thank you in advance 🙂

Thanks!

 

I’m proud to report that over 10,000 people have stopped by to visit the Thyroid Cancer Survivor blog (10,047 to be exact.)  My hope is that each and every person got some helpful information, hope, motivation and encouragement.  I started this blog as a way to give back to others diagnosed, fighting or in remission from cancer and the people who love us.  And it’s really catching on which fills my heart.

THANKS to all of you for visiting, leaving comments and letting others know about your experience and this blog. Reading your comments has really given others the gift of feeling understood and not alone (including me.)  There is a lot of information on the internet about cancer that can cause more harm than good.  I like to keep my posts real, but not based on fear.  Fear feeds cancer.  I write from a place of hope and love.  And in turn, I believe my visitors respond with positive, supportive comments, which in turn helps us all.

Let’s go for 100,000 visitors!  Together we can reach this number and beyond.

One of the awesome things that I have found about this blog is that it has drawn in some amazing readers. So if you are reading this right now, then you are one of them!!! I have been very touched by how so many of you have found inner strength and moved forward after your cancer diagnosis.  Let’s keep the motivation going by commenting here about how you have moved forward after being diagnosed with having cancer.  How did having cancer give you that push to take a chance at something new? There is such a huge list out there and this is your place to comment about it.  Are you moving forward? Well, what are you waiting for?  Start commenting!

Wings of Hope – Week 10      1/31/10 – 2/6/10

*Written by our Wings of Hope Team Captain Chris Kidwell

There are only 69 days left until the Relay for Life at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland! We are still number one with a total of $2,296.00 raised, but Team SASH is quickly approaching us with a total of $2,229.43 raised. We need to ramp up our fundraising efforts quickly if we’re going to make our goal of $5,000.00
Our beautiful banner created by the very talented Angel.

Again, if you haven’t all ready, I encourage our team members to log in to their participant centers on the ACS website and start updating their personal pages for donations. There is also an application on facebook that will help you with meeting your $100 personal goals. Both of these tools will provide donators with official receipts from the American Cancer Society.
Angel McMellin is still working with Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center to secure a date for our bake sale. If you have an alternative location or want to help out, please email her at angelmcmellin@live.com.
We would like to welcome our newest team member: Samantha Kidwell.

We would like to congratulate Co-Captain Jennifer Bridge on her excellent test results. Jennifer is in remission from thyroid cancer and we couldn’t be prouder of her. She also bought her first home last week, so she has numerous reasons to celebrate her battle against cancer. We’d also like to applaud the very talented Angel McMellin for her beautiful banner that she created for the April1 16th relay.

So get out there, spread the word and help us with our fundraising goals. If you’ve all ready donated, please tell your friends and family about Wings of Hope and pass the word along. Don’t forget to visit our website at: http://main.acsevents.org/goto/wings2010 .

 
Until next week,

Wings of Hope