I am a cancer survivor.
Three months ago, I was telling the world (Facebook) that I was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer. Three months have passed and I’m in remission. What?
Where do I even begin?…
I remember… waking up to nurses sticking my arms with needles, trying to draw blood and check my levels. Being rolled down the hallway, into an elevator, and then down another hallway to what I would call my bedroom for the next two days. Throwing up every hour on the hour. Not having a voice, so having to whisper into the remote to ask a nurse to help me clean up. That God, awful band-aid on my neck that would fill up with blood every 12 hours.
And that, that was the easy part.
Being radioactive sounded fun; I was hoping I’d turn into the next Captain America or Spiderman, but that wasn’t the case. Instead, the doctor told me I couldn’t be around people or pets for 8 days and would have to quarantine myself to my bedroom and bathroom. At least I didn’t turn green. I remember coming home from radiation, and having to tell my dog I couldn’t pet her, with tears running down my face. In those 8 days, I finished Season 12 of Supernatural, Season 9 of Vampire Diaries and Season 1 of Riverdale.
When the 8 days had passed, I was due for another Total Body Scan. The results came back, and doctor said I was in the clear. I didn’t have to come back until next year. And just like that, it was over.
Coping with what I went through is a lot harder than actually going through it.
I guess you could compare it to going to college. You have a plan: graduate college. There are certain classes that need to be taken, a specific amount of volunteer time that needs to be fulfilled, so you do it. And when you finally graduate, then what? I’m at the “what do I do now?” phase.
On top of it all is the guilt. The guilt that I only had to deal with my cancer for 3 months. My sister dealt with it for 3 years, and didn’t make it. My other friends who are survivors went through surgeries, lived in hospitals at months at a time, and went through multiple rounds of radiation and chemotherapy. I didn’t have to, yet I still have the same title as them: “Cancer Survivor”.
“Nevertheless, she persisted”.
Over time, my story will make sense to me and the guilt will fade. I’ll start every morning for the rest of my life taking medicine to make sure my body functions properly, and will wear my scar proudly.
I did it. I made it through.
I’d like to thank Dr. Belles for carefully removing my thyroid and taking care of me for as long as I live, my radiation doctor at Mercy Hospital, and my friends and family who send me a text, letting me know I was in their thoughts, sent me flowers, or came to visit while I was recovering. I love each and every one of you and will continue to remember your kind words and generosity whenever I reflect on this chapter of my life.