Friday, September 24, 2010

Bringing Sexy Out of the Thyloset

I can't believe it's been 2 weeks since I've put up my weak awareness post! This month has completely flown by. I was hoping to really do some awareness stuff this month, but between babysitting and getting my apartment ready, it's now the end of the month! I was going to paint my nails earlier in the week for Thyroid Cancer awareness (to show off in this post for you guys!), but I was too busy! Hopefully I'll have time today! Things have been quiet on the medical front. I failed and didn't post after my check up last week. I met with the surgeon for him to go do a check, and he says everything is good! I'm due back next June!

I came across a pretty cool blog a month or two ago. It's called Dear Thyroid, and people can write letters to their thyroids, doctors, whoever about their thyroid. I never knew what to write, but have wanted to participate some way on the site. So, when I saw that to celebrate Thyroid Cancer awareness month, they were having people do a little interview, I jumped on the chance to participate! So, here's my little interview with Dear Thyroid. Enjoy!

What kind of thyroid cancer were you diagnosed with? How many years have you been a survivor?
I was diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid Cancer. I'm not sure which stage it was, either 1 or 2. I have been a survivor for three MONTHS. 

September is thyroid cancer awareness month. What does that mean to you? Why do you think awareness is important? How do you spread awareness?
Awareness month means to show you're proud to be a survivor and happy to share your story. Awareness is important, because if we didn't try to raise awareness (for anything, not just ThyCa), then no one would have any idea anything exists, and it will make it harder to prevent, or have people think about these things. I try to spread awareness, it's hard since I really don't work or go many places right now where people don't already know. Luckily, my mom is a proud mom and shares with everyone, so she's my biggest awareness spreader. :) I try to always wear open shirts (mostly because I'm used to it), so people might notice (it's harder after the steri-strips are gone for people to notice), and I always wear my "Cancer Sucks" bracelet from Choose Hope. I've had a couple people ask me what it says or why I wear it, then I can explain. I hope someday to get a tattoo of the ribbon and butterfly.

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?
I know that people diagnosed with ThyCa hate this statement, so don't hate me when I answer: Honestly, it doesn't bother me. Heck, my doctor told me that, which I'm sure would make most people even more upset, but it comforted me. I had a VERY low stage of Papillary Cancer. All I had to do was surgery & the RAI. So for me, it WAS easy. I mean, it wasn't easy, but treatment-wise, I still have to do scans and everything, and I did have it in lymph nodes, so it wasn't NOTHING, but, compared to what a lot of other people go through (Thyroid & other cancers), I think it was "good" compared to what I could have had. I had graduated a month before my surgery, and was getting married 7 weeks after surgery. I couldn't take anything more serious. Yes, when people tell me that, I say that no cancer is easy. It's still hard, but I do tell them that I got lucky and had a very short and successful period of knowing I have it.

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?
I guess I haven't heard any other myths to dispel, but I keep reading that Thyroid Cancer grows more rapidly than any other cancer. I'm not sure why, but get checked. Even if you don't think it has to do with your Thyroid.

What one thing would you tell the world about thyroid cancer?
Tell your doctor about any symptoms you have. I went in thinking I had allergy problems, and it turned out that my Thyroid was enlarged. There was a very small nodule on it, and it's a very small chance that nodules are cancerous to begin with, let alone VERY small ones (under 1cm!) If your doctor does find something on your Thyroid, keep on top of it. Keep getting check ups. I went for a year check up, always being told that a good chunk of the population have these, and only about 5% are cancerous. They wanted to do a biopsy, so we said sure (even though I didn't want to). It was a shock to find out I had cancer, especially when I didn't expect it. You never know!

What advice would you give to a newly diagnosed thyroid cancer patient?
Get as much information as you can. Be VERY careful on the internet. Luckily, one of my friends is in med school, so she directed me to the best sites to look for information (the Mayo Clinic). Join groups like this online, so you can talk to people who have been through it before, but know that each situation is different.
Also, make sure you talk to your doctor about your surgeon. My surgeon specializes in Thyroid removals, and is the best in this area. I was the 6th scheduled on the day of my surgery before I was moved up.

Do you have a funny thyroid cancer-related story you are willing to share?
When I was going into surgery, I had my gown on and IV hooked up. Right before they wheeled me in they put on a blue cap. My brother took a picture of it, and I put it on Facebook the next day. Everyone kept telling me it could be my something blue for the wedding! I had to tell them that I woke up with out it, and I was actually disappointed that I couldn't take it home with me!

Information about Dear Thyroid to include in your post:
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 to learn more!