Another year has gone by. I am hoping for the best for all of my family and friends. I know there will be struggles, uncertainty and pain, but there will also be love, laughter and smiles.
Right away I will be facing some fears. Next month I go in to have my year follow-up Whole Body Scan. Current Thyroid Cancer guidelines do not require everyone to have this year follow-up scan, but my doctor is being extra careful with me because of the extensive lymph node involvement of the cancer. It is still really strange to me saying, thinking or even writing the word cancer in relation to myself (still). I can see it in others as I talk about it too. That concerned optimism. I’ve learned a bit of wavering optimism (moves between smiles and worry lines) that moves into realism (a bit of irritability slips in) that morphs into uncertainty (a bit of crying pops up) that rolls into acceptance (I’m totally calm here) and then we go through the whole thing all over again. I’ve already moved through the cycle once at the end of 2010. I’m in the acceptance phase to begin 2011, which is nice (especially for the bf).
I think the hardest part of a lifelong disease, at least for me, is explaining it to people. I want to be able to simplify it. The disease itself can be explained by sending the person a link to a web page or giving them a pamphlet about it. The complexity comes in when you try to explain the emotions that come a long with the disease. Emotions that you thought were perhaps dormant or you didn’t even know you had. I have not felt such anger or despair in my life (aside from the death of a loved one) or felt the sting of uncertainty that lingers and will never go away the way it used to. Now, it is like a constant humming in my ear that I know is there. How do you explain this to someone who has never had to think about death in a very real sense. I’m not saying that I am dying, but the trauma of being told that you have cancer and not knowing what that meant, thinking you are going to die in your early 30’s, is not something that is easily translatable. I remember feeling like I couldn’t trust my doctor once she told me that I wasn’t going to die from this type of cancer. Besides all this, your thyroid messes with your hormones pretty badly. So when you have to stop taking your meds it’s really nerve wracking. I’m not sure what that will be like. Just another thing to be uncertain about, but somehow I will learn to accept that. That’s the only thing I can do.