I’m going for my ThyCa ultrasound scan later today. The cycle of fearful thoughts are waking up in my mind.  They overpower me at times.  I wish there was a volume button, so I could put the negative ones on mute!  The thoughts are spinning around over and over.  The typical ones are…What if the cancer came back? What if it spread? Will I need another operation? I don’t want to go through the LID and RAI again. When will this end? Will I be able to get through the cancer battle again?  Am I a burden on friends and family?  When will I get the results?
One after another, the thoughts pop into my mind.  The reality is that I am taking care of myself and going for my regular follow-up visits, blood work and scans. I’m taking my medicine.  I talk about how I feel good and not so good. I blog about it, which helps.  I get helpful comments from my readers and that fills my spirit.
At this moment, I am a cancer SURVIVOR!! All of the thought are simply thoughts.  They are not reality.  I don’t have to give them power. The rest is unknown, fear of the unknown. So for now, I will stay in the present moment.  Yeah, that feels much better. I just needed to adjust my mind.  Ah, a sigh of relief. Calmness washes over me.
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I am all about promoting thyroid cancer awareness month in September.  That is why I was super-excited when I found out that Dear Thyroid had a blog tour to help spread the word.  They posted the following on their site:   “During the month of September, Dear Thyroid is going on a blog tour to promote awareness for thyroid cancer. For this blog tour, we’ll be asking bloggers to write a post on their own blog that addresses some questions provided by Dear Thyroid regarding thyroid cancer and thyroid cancer awareness. On the day we are scheduled to make a “stop” at your blog, Dear Thyroid will post a brief description of your blog along with a link from our website to yours.”
September 2, 2010 is the day the link to this post that you are reading at this very moment will be featured on the Dear Thyroid site.  So pleeeeease continue to show your support by sharing this post with others and making a “virtual” difference.  (Thank you!!)  Below are the questions from Dear Thyroid and my answers.  And away we go…
  • What kind of thyroid cancer were you diagnosed with? How many years have you been a survivor?

I was diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid Cancer in October 2008.  I believe that I became a cancer survivor the moment after I was given the diagnosis.  That is when I started my fight.  Some consider themselves cancer survivors once they become cancer-free, which for me was May 2009.  After going through this battle, I see anyone diagnosed with cancer as an immediate survivor.

  • September is thyroid cancer awareness month. What does that mean to you? Why do you think awareness is important? How do you spread awareness?

To me, thyroid cancer awareness month means joining forces to spread the word about prevention, early detection and the facts about thyroid cancer.  One of the reasons I started my Thyroid Cancer Survivor blog was to spread awareness about thyroid cancer and to share my journey as a cancer survivor with others.  Awareness is important because it gives people a better chance to check their neck and find thyroid cancer earlier.

  • Many thyroid cancer patients have been told, “If you have to get cancer, thyroid cancer is the one to get.”  What do you think of that statement? When you’re told this, how do you respond?

When my doctor told me that I had papillary thyroid cancer, I was shocked.  I remember him telling me that if I had the option to pick which cancer I would want, I would want thyroid cancer.  At the time, it made me feel better.  I didn’t know too much about thyroid cancer back then.  I guess my doctor was trying to make me feel better and take some of the fear away.  Now I know that cancer is cancer.  One is not better or worse.  No type of cancer should be minimized.  I’ve also heard people refer to thyroid cancer as the little “c”.  It’s not worth getting upset about.  That only feeds those cancer cells. I usually smile and let them know cancer does not come in a “lite” version.

  • Dear Thyroid is constantly working to dispel the myth that thyroid cancer is the good cancer or the easy cancer. What other myth would you like to dispel regarding thyroid cancer?

Some of us get to go through the radioactive iodine treatment, people asked me if I glowed in the dark.  It was tempting to say yes, but the truth you don’t glow in the dark.  That is a myth!

Another myth is that once the cancer treatment is over and you get a clean scan, you can put it behind you. Thyroid cancer survivors have to go back every six months the first few YEARS for scans and blood work.  There is a 30% recurrence rate, so it is very important to stay on top of it.  Thyroid cancer is never over.  That is the myth.  It is a lifelong battle because those sneaky thyroid cancer cells are always trying to multiply.

  • What one thing would you tell the world about thyroid cancer?

This cancer journey has given me a new perspective and appreciation for life.  I am so grateful to be a survivor.

  • What advice would you give to a newly diagnosed thyroid cancer patient?

You are not alone.  You will get through it.  Learn all that you can about it (Tips for ThyCa Newbies and ThyCa is a good place to start).  Be an advocate for your health. You are responsible for your health and to speak up.  Never be afraid to ask the doctor a question.  Talk about how you are feeling.  Find people who have gone through it. Use it as an excuse to follow a dream and do something you have always wanted to do!

Dear Thyroid is a thyroid support community and literary brand. Our goal is to connect patients with each other, to create awareness for thyroid diseases and cancers, and to give all thyroid patients a voice. We come together as a united front to invoke change on behalf of thyroid patients worldwide. Thyroid patients are invited to submit letters to their thyroids, thyroid rants and raves, and other literary creations. Help us to create awareness for thyroid diseases and cancers by wearing your disease on your sleeve and by requesting one of our free awareness bands. Visit DearThyroid.org to learn more!

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.

I’ve started a new blog called Ready to Change Life Coaching to branch out with posts on various life coaching topics, inspiring quotes and helpful websites.  I will continue to post here, but wanted to give an update to all of my readers.  Please show your support by signing up for the other blog.  Comments are always appreciated.

As a Life Coach and cancer survivor, I believe the Ready to Change Life Coaching blog will also benefit anyone looking to move forward and grow.  I encourage you to read some of the posts and let me know what you think.

I have also started a program called Life Beyond Cancer for cancer survivors.  I know once the cancer free results were given to me, I was filled with a range of emotions.  Many survivors reach a point where they need help moving forward in different areas of their lives after the cancer chapter has ended.  If you are at this point or interested in learning more about it, please contact lifebeyondcancer@jenniferbridge.com for details.

Thank you for all of the love and support!

Did you know this Sunday, June 6 is the 23rd annual National Cancer Survivors Day? Well I didn’t. I never even heard about it until this week.  Then again, its only been a little over a year since I became a cancer survivor.  But I’ve done some research and found out that on National Cancer Survivors Day, communities all over the United States and other countries hold events for cancer survivors and their caregivers.  So if you’re reading this before June 6, check out and see if there are any local events in your area.  If it’s after June 6, then plan ahead for next year!

The National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation (www.ncsdf.org) site has lots of good information about it.  I really liked their definition for a survivor, which is “anyone living with cancer—from the moment of diagnosis through the remainder of life.” I’m so grateful to be a cancer survivor!

One of the gifts I got from being a cancer survivor is a new perspective on life.  Life is full of changes and we never know where one path might lead. I learned how to face my fears and in turn found a deeper level of strength from within.  Through the scans, biopsies, doctor visits, tests, surgery, treatment and more I was not only surviving cancer, but I was also becoming a Life Coach.  Through the journey, I found the courage, motivation and empowerment to move forward in many areas of my life both personal and professional, including a new career path.

My prayers were answered and I got another chance to live my life. I’m a survivor of more than cancer.  I’m a survivor of life! As a Life Coach, I am able to use my own life experience when working with clients to guide them forward.  All of us have the answers within, but some find them easier and with greater clarity by working with a life coach.

Moving forward

That is some of the history behind what motivated me to face my fears, dive in and become a Life Coach.  I started this blog to give back the hope, motivation and determination I gained from surviving cancer.  My intention is to help other cancer survivors use their experience to move forward.  The possibilities are only limited by our minds!

Warmly,

Jennifer Bridge
Life Coach
Ready to Change Life Coaching
jenn@jenniferbridge.com
www.readytochangelifecoaching.com

 

 

The following is from part of an online article called “Friends in Need – Online social media promote connection, education, and support” by Karen Patterson

“A survey last fall by Manhattan Research found about 35 percent of U.S. adults use online support sites and other health-related social media. In just two years, the American Cancer Society has developed followings of more than 16,000 people on Twitter, and nearly 170,000 on Facebook.

“Everybody agrees that social media and the Internet are becoming very important in terms of public health issues,” says John Mack, executive editor and publisher of Pharma Marketing News and Pharma Marketing Blog. “It’s where people now go to first when they’re trying to find out about medical conditions, even before they talk to their doctor.”

One key attraction is that any person, anywhere—whether they are a patient, survivor, caregiver, family member, or friend—can find someone else in similar circumstances.

“The Internet in general and, more recently, social media are really what led to the whole young adult movement,” says Heidi Adams, founder of Planet Cancer, a social and informational site for young adults with cancer, and director of grassroots engagement for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. “Prior to 2000 there really wasn’t any way for this fragmented patient population to find each other and connect. Planet Cancer was created as an online home to connect patients.”

Thyroid Cancer SURVIVOR’s thoughts:  If you are reading this post, chances are that you are also part of one of the hundreds of social media sites.  I admit it.  I have spread my cancer survivor spirit out into a few of them.  And in turn, I have “friended” and “followed” some very inspiring cancer survivors.  There are several “virtual” cancer survivor support groups on Facebook and today I started my own called the “Cancer SURVIVORS” group on Facebook. So consider this your personal invitation  to join the group!  

If tweeting is your thing, I also have an account on Twitter.  I have been active on this one for a few months now.  I was surprised at how many people talk about thyroid cancer on their.  I have met some very cool cancer survivors, including my friend Chris who is the captain of our Wings of Hope team in the upcoming American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life! So feel free to follow me on Twitter and we can connect in 140 characters or less.