I have hesitated to publish this story because it’s not my usual happy, go make your dreams happen, post. I had thyroid cancer. I wanted to share my story, not make people sad or feel sorry for me, but to empower others to let go of emotions, live and be real. I’m at a high risk for it to come back but it’s gone. They say it’s the best type of cancer you can get because it’s so isolated. I beg to differ. Sure it might be the easiest to treat, but it’s not been easy.
It all started when my brother noticed my throat was swollen and the radius of my neck wasn’t symmetrical. I visited an endocrinologist, in March of 2014, who assessed my thyroid via ultrasound. Sure enough I had nodules (growth) on the right and left sides of my thyroid. Your thyroid is shaped like a butterfly. Then came the biopsy. Friends, you do not want one of these. Imagine 8″ hallow needles stabbing your neck multiple times to fill with tissue for a sample. Yes they numbed me, but it was the action that was the worst part. I could “feel” the needles going in and out, tugging and pulling through my neck. This happened four times. Then, I waited for results.
On Tuesday I got the call. I had cancer. I remember exactly where I was sitting, what I was doing and how I felt. I had cancer. What?! So many thoughts ran through my head. What if it isn’t just in my thyroid? What if this treatment damages my vocal cords? What if I have to do further treatment like chemo? Could I lose my hair? I could go on and on. I’m a singer and have been my whole life. Your vocal cords can be effected by a thyroidectomy. That was the hardest for me to hear when I was first diagnosed. I cried like a baby all the way from the doctor.
I received a thyroidectomy in May last year. It was a pretty easy surgery; however, recovery was tricky with an incision on my neck. Getting out of bed, looking out the window, actions you do every day without thinking were painful. After surgery, I was put on a no salt diet for three weeks. People there is salt in EVERYTHING! I ate chicken with no seasoning, lots of raw veggies and fruit…and that’s about it. 🙂 I received radioactive iodide which allows the doctors to scan to see if the cancer has spread to parts other than your thyroid. That’s why I couldn’t have salt. The iodine in the salt would make the scan inconclusive.
Luckily the scan was clear, I have check-up appointments every six months and I’m left with a scar just above my collar bone. Friends, it was hard. I write this to give those who are struggling a voice of hope, encouragement and support. I couldn’t have made it through without my friends, family and husband. It scares me every day to think it could come back. It strengthens me to know that the Lord has a plan and I trust Him. I know of many people who are struggling with mental and physical hurdles, but keep going. To those who have had thyroid cancer or any type of cancer I applaud you. You are my heroes. In my line of work, I see this every day. I’m grateful for these warriors.
I tear up every time I hear “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten. Cancer will always be a monster in the closet for me, never knowing if it’ll show its face again. But for now, I live and fight for others.
This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me
Believe in yourself, believe in tomorrow and believe in hope.