My Healing Journey Toward Recovery After a Thyroid Cancer Diagnosis
After much contemplation, I finally decided to brave up and take a leap of faith — a step towards healing and growth.
Some of you already know, and many of you are not yet aware of my recent battle with cancer. For a while now I have had mixed feelings about asking for help. Surprisingly, feelings of shame or even guilt have prevented me from putting it out there.
I recently realized those feelings do not serve me, nor anyone on a healing journey. I realize now it is in my best interest to move past those illusions and take a stand for my health, and hopefully yours, for a higher good.
At the tender age of 13, chunks of hair started falling out, I gained 30 pounds over a period of three months and my Adam’s apple doubled in size. The news that I developed Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease of the thyroid gland, was a blow to me and my family. It completely changed my life.
I spent my teen years feeling like an elderly woman. I was constantly going to the doctor’s office and had to give up a lot of the things I loved, such as ballet dancing.
Fast forward seven years. I started to change the food I ate, pursued a healthy lifestyle and practiced yoga daily. I was training to run a marathon and planning to go to India to get my yoga certification. It was at that time I was suddenly diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
It all began last year when I sought out a new endocrinologist in the hopes of switching to a natural form of thyroid medication. My new doctor looked at my MRI scans from 2015. She saw a nodule that could be cancerous. Strangely, my body vibrated in confirmation when she mentioned the word “cancer.” I was surprised because I didn’t have any symptoms nor signs of a frog in my throat and my blood work was normal. Yet there it was.
I was terrified. I didn’t know how to communicate to my extended circles of support. Some people around me did not understand how serious my condition was, so I kept the news of my diagnosis to myself.
I originally thought I would have surgery to have my thyroid removed and could just return to work the following week. However, I woke from surgery to find my shoulders shrugged up to my ears and I couldn’t move my neck more than five degrees in any direction. The pain was debilitating, and the twitching, tingling and numbing sensations in my face and body still persisted, even after undergoing radiation therapy. The surgery and radiation to treat the cancer was more disruptive to my body than the cancer itself.
Imagine my shock to hear that after they removed my thyroid gland, the cancer was more aggressive than anticipated and had spread to my lymph nodes and beyond.
Preparing for the unknown of more disease was the most nerve-wracking, mind-wracking, soul-wracking life experience. I was constantly going up this roller coaster of wait, wondering, “Is there more cancer?”
And then… it was miraculously lifted! The variable of cancer cells in my body disappeared.
I am lovingly and compassionately being patient with my body as it calibrates a “new normal” in the infancy of this new life blessing.
Despite all I had been through, I am extremely grateful.
I am grateful for the cancer because I’ve grown so much through my experience.
I am grateful to be alive.
I am grateful I can move my body now in areas that previously had been stuck.
I am grateful to walk my dog again and grateful to be able to drive my car on slow and steady occasions.
I am grateful to have a voice.
I am grateful to embark on a pivotal life path as a changed person, evolving like the seasons.
It has brought me to a new starting place in my life journey, and I am much more present. I have learned so much about myself, about others, about how challenges can bring about blessings and new opportunities. Getting sick forced me to look at life differently, and because of it, I am transformed.
I am still in the process of healing, which takes more patience than you know. I am learning to be more patient with the process and have more self-compassion and self-love for myself, which has helped me in my healing journey.
Through this experience, I am being transformed. Even then, I must admit to myself that I still need time to heal. I still have fatigue. I have trouble sleeping. My neck and shoulders get painful and stiff. It hurts me to turn my head while driving, and I often get headaches. My former workplace is calling me to return. In my mind, I want to, and I’m afraid if I don’t go back now, they will give my position to someone else. Yet, if I truly listen to my body, it’s telling me I am not ready to go back.
Perhaps, I must take a leap of faith and believe letting go of the past is the only way I can grasp the opportunities to come in the future. It’s easier said than done. I am afraid and oftentimes feel alone and confused.
My journey has brought me to a place of compassion for others dealing with cancer, specifically cancer of the thyroid, since that has been such a big part of my life. My desire is to raise awareness and provide support for others going through similar health challenges through blog and video platforms, offering encouraging tools to liberate communication blockages with intentional resources to release deep-seated patterns of fear, self-doubt and limiting beliefs. I want to get my yoga certification for thyroid health and continue writing my book.
It is my dream to inspire others to be strong and to overcome their challenges and aspire to greater passions.
Currently, I am getting therapy to help me get out of pain and to help align my mind and body, which in turn helps to balance my hormones, have more energy and remap my movement patterns so I can move forward. The treatment has proven to be so transformational, but it’s not covered by insurance. I have to pay for such alternative treatments and ongoing testing and monitoring out of my own pocket, which is a struggle, especially since I have been unable to work for the past six months.
I anticipate continuous monitoring and ongoing treatments costing me at least $8,000. I humbly ask for your support on my road to healing and recovery. I surely appreciate all of your support, as this will help me guide and heal others through the many obstacles I have to overcome.
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Thinkstock photo by natasaadzic