Friday, August 19, 2011

Don't call me that!

I've been swirling this post around in my head for awhile now - unable to decide how to approach it.

So, I figured I'd just start writing it and see how it develops.

I don't feel like a survivor.

I had cancer.

Now I don't.

I had, what I feel was, a momentary (in the grand scheme of things) amount of discomfort and now I'm fine-ish.

I am a notorious minimizer of my trials and tribulations, if you can even call them that. <---See!
There I go again. But only of my own.

Aug. 2010 - Find lump in throat while sitting with my Hubbypants & Sister-in-Law in Starbucks.
Sept. 2010 - Dr. visit, followed by ultrasound and biopsy. Needles in the throat people, while awake!! {shudder}
Oct. 2010 - Surgery, which made cancer conclusive so they took my thyroid out - the whole kit and kaboodle.
Nov. 2010 - RI treatment and two scans. Let me tell you how freaky it is to make a Geiger counter go bonkers when it is pointed at you - it's...well...freaky to be that radioactive.

Fast forward 9 months and several blood tests later and I'm fine and dandy. No sign of cancer or that my body is up to any further cancer producing hanky-panky. YAY (stay tuned for a post where I go to Vegas and celebrate this)!!

O.K. I admit it isn't a walk in the park.

I've dealt with extreme exhaustion, my hair falling out, no taste buds, gaining weight, fuzzy-foggy-schizo brain that doesn't want to remember ANYTHING, intolerance to heat..yada yada yada. Most of the other stuff is just an annoyance.

Yes, these were (and are) troubling things to deal with - but boy howdy was I lucky!

Stage 1 - and barely that. Only one lymph node involved. Really! This is the kind of stuff that makes me hesitant to identify with those folks who were/are far less lucky.

I'm a member of a thyroid cancer survivors page on Facebook - just reading the suffering that some of these people go through really puts into perspective for me how insignificant my own struggle was.

Not only that, but I have a dear friend who is battling devastatingly aggressive breast cancer.

She may not get to call herself a survivor. How's THAT for perspective.

I have friends who deal with chronic diseases that are just painful for me to HEAR about, let alone what it must be like to live with it every day.

This exposure to the suffering of others is what really makes it hard for me to classify myself among those that have earned the right to call themselves 'survivor'.

I even find it hard to say that I've had cancer. It just seems wrong - as if I don't have the right to do so.

Especially since it is all gone now and I have zilch of a risk for it to return.

I'm compelled to reiterate that this is how *I* (points to myself for emphasis) feel.

This is NOT how I expect anyone else to feel, nor would I ever...EVER...EVER expect that someone in my position should feel the same. Each experience is so individual, personal and no one has the right judge the depth of suffering another person should experience. EVER.

Friends will often apologize for complaining about their health, or jobs or living situation or...whatever...stating that they know it can be so much worse.

I say COMPLAIN! It's alright, because I know they realize it can be so much worse, but it also doesn't meant that what they are feeling is less important or less hurtful to experience.

I complain - all the time - about being tired. I am happy that it is all I have to complain about.

So, there you have it my dear friends - I am not a survivor.

I dearly hope that I'm never again put into a position that would force me to change my stance.

And I hope the same for those of you that have not yet been personally touched by cancer or any other chronic disease.

For those of you that have (however major or minor) - I send you healing thoughts and oodles of hugs!



  1. Oh dear lady, what a trial! It just sucks that you had to go through all this, and I'm very glad you are well. My husband had cancer of the the thyroid - he's been on synthroid for many years now and just fine. Sending back oodles of hugs to you! I'm still technically vacating, but I am secretly snooping my bloggy buddy blogs, and had to leave you a comment. xoxo

  2. Thank you! It has been a trial, but not a traumatic one. It could always be worse, so I'm grateful that I've had it so easy (in comparison). Enjoy that vacation!!!