Friday, September 20, 2013

" what now my love? now that you've left me? { o.k. the surgeon took you out, i had cancer, but still....} how can i live through another day, { my synthroid helps } watching my dreams, turning to ashes {i have noticed my vision is not as good as it used to be- thyroid eye disease?} and my hopes into bits of clay. once i could see { again, the eye thing} once i could feel, now i am numb { not really numb, no, but my feet tingle sometimes } i've become unreal. " very loosely based on the lyrics " what now my love" by shirley bassey

sorry, i  had to poke a little fun at that song! it does bring up an interesting question,though, for thyroid ( or other) cancer survivors. what now? first there was the horrifying, up and down dips,catch your breath and hold onto your hat days of just finding out that you had cancer. i imagine that most people, like me, just spent those days adjusting to the "news", deciding on treatments, doctor and hospital visits, etc. there really was no time to think too far ahead.

next came the treatment and recovery period. reality is starting to sink in at this point. i took things in stages, or tried to. i waited a little while to find out what stage cancer i had( stage three), that sort of thing. i am a person who has to have information, but even i took a step back and slowed things down a little. there is only so much stress and worry that even  an expert worrier like me can handle at one time. i was fortunate to have great family support, access to good information, and i also discovered a network of fellow thyroid cancer survivors. no offense to family or friends, but NO ONE AND I MEAN NO ONE, understands what you are going through like another thyroid cancer survivor! it was so good to email my new friends and to make contact through my blog. and i have always considered my blog like a little" spaceship discovery"- traveling  through the blog-o-sphere looking for others like myself.( well, that may not be possible......).

now i seem to be in, literally, stage three of my journey- what now? i go for tests every six months- like clock work- and i would like to say that the testing anxiety is over, or at least a little better, but i can not say that at this point. i am not sure how it is  for others, but i still get anxious ( and my husband would say a little " testy") around my six months tests. i was under the impression that after 5 years or so i could stop these tests. but as i mentioned in an earlier blog, testing goes on for life after thyroid cancer. ( remember old 30% recurrence?)

i have a friend who is a colon cancer survivor. her cancer was detected during a regular "now you are 50 and you have to have this gosh darn colonoscopy" test- she was not having any problems. she had a small tumor and the cancer had spread to one lymph node. her prognosis after surgery and chemo are excellent, but she is a worrier,too. she had a scare last year- she thought her cancer was back and had moved to her chest, but found out that she had pulled a muscle doing something at work.i do not blame her for being cautious and having more tests. it is hard not to worry when you are aching somewhere. i was sure i had something wrong with my back until my husband said, " well, jeez, you did carry our 25 pound grandson up and down the stairs and all around this weekend". oh. that could probably be it.

the challenge is to be diligent about having the " required tests" and taking good care of yourself, versus being like a character from a woody allen movie.( i am afraid that i am moving towards the latter). live a good life, enjoy every moment that you have here on this earth without worrying too much. i have heard some people say " oh my cancer does not define me". well, i do not know if i would say that cancer defined me, but if my name was in the dictionary, and you cared to look me up, it would be part of the definition. that is just how it is. you had cancer, you got through it, but things will never be the same. and i do not mean that in a bad way. i thought that i always knew what/who was important in my life. now i feel like i have special glasses, and life has been magnified about 1000 times- i can see what is really  important.

so what now? i am still figuring that out. i feel pretty good ,especially since i have gotten my thyroid medication straightened out. i have thyroid testing starting next week- i feel confident that  i will live through it -although i might have a rocky day or two. my daughter has had her baby and i am going to take a two week leave of absence to help out a little. i am really looking forward to our time together.  past that, i am not sure what the future holds. but then no one has a guarantee, right?

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