It is thyroid cancer awareness month. There are just a few more days left in September; a few more days to draw needed attention to “the good cancer”.
Of course there is no good cancer! The Merriam Webster Dictionary on-line defines cancer as:
can•cer noun \ˈkan(t)-sər\: (1) a serious disease caused by cells that are not normal and that can spread to one or many parts of the body: (2) something bad or dangerous that causes other bad things to happen.
Does this sound like it’s a good thing?
My diagnosis and surgery happened in the spring of 2011. There was such much going on in my life at the time the realization of what was going on in my body didn’t happen, really, until the past several months. The time between diagnosis to surgery to RAI treatment and the ultrasound to say I was all clear, was only about seven months. So, the “good” cancer, maybe, but for the rest of my life I will take medication to act in place of my thyroid.
Others are not nearly as fortunate as I have been in terms of diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. The nodules in my thyroid were found and monitored for seven years before a complete thyroidectomy was necessary. Only quite recently have I come to know just how “lucky” I was; a few weeks ago I joined a Facebook group: Light of Life Thyroid Cancer Survivors. The stories and information shared by so many survivors has done a couple of things for me. First, it’s affirmed a great deal of what I was feeling during my diagnosis and recovery stage–the frustration, exhaustion, depression, fear…apparently all “normal”. And second, I have come to the realization of just how insanely serious this disease can be for so many people.
Was I lucky? Who’s to say. I had cancer and now I don’t. I was one of the very lucky few for whom thyroid cancer was the “good cancer to get”. Today I thank the brave men and women who will continue to struggle with their diagnosis and treatment, and to share their very stories that will inspire and support others in the fight.
Folks, check your neck! There’s no such thing as good cancer.