Modeling After Thyroid Cancer: The Reminder I Got From a Photo Shoot
One year ago I was in between surgeries on my thyroid. I’ve thought a lot about the kind of person I’ve become since then.
I remember how terrible the lead up to the first surgery was — I was between finals, acting on set for a few student films and pretending nothing more stressful was going on in my life.
I remember the fear I felt after the first surgery, when I heard the right half of my thyroid was cancerous and how I’d need that second surgery to remove the other half, as well as a treatment of radioactive iodine.
I like to describe myself as an entertainer — I went to school for filmmaking but am constantly looking for opportunities to act, sing, model and perform. I was so worried when they sliced open my neck all of those opportunities would go away.
I was scared they would damage my vocal chords so I could never sing or project on a stage again. I was scared the scar on my neck would get me turned down for various modeling and acting opportunities. I was scared the dependence on medicine every day would prevent me from being able to make films in case I got too tired from needing to change doses based on my body’s needs.
This year has been a whirlwind. Last summer was a mix of constant fatigue and pain and having my body accept what is now the new normal.
I made my way across the country to Los Angeles for my fall semester and managed (successfully) to take classes, hold an internship and explore a new place. This first step helped me realize that maybe I shouldn’t have been as fearful as I was.
At the beginning of 2016 I made my way to the Pacific Northwest and, even though I was still a bit tentative, decided I needed to pursue those things that made me happy. Armed with my supportive family, boyfriend and dog, I started throwing myself into every opportunity, and it helped, a lot.
I recently got some photos back from a shoot where that scared girl was able to show confidence and happiness. I was nervous my photographers would notice my scar, but instead I received compliments on my hair color and makeup application. No one mentioned the squiggle on my neck.
Those pictures reminded me how strong I am and how my battle scar shouldn’t and won’t stop me from achieving what I want to. Only my lack of trying can do that. I know dealing with this condition will be a life-long issue, but I can’t let that stop me from doing all the things I want to do. I refuse to let it.
The Mighty, in partnership with Fuck Cancer, is asking the following: Write a letter to yourself in regards to a cancer diagnosis. What would you say or wish someone had told you? Find out how to email us a story submission here.