Saturday, May 17, 2014

".... say what you wanna say and let the words fall out, honestly i wanna see you be brave. i just wanna see you be brave. " brave, by sara bareilles

on monday, may 19th, i will officially be a four year thyroid/parathyroid cancer survivor! i have to work that day, so i wanted to write a blog today. i have learned, and continue to learn, a lot about being a survivor. i have always been grateful for my treatment, doctors, friends, and especially my family who have helped me along  my cancer journey. i have also been grateful for every day that  i get to be here on this earth- it is truly a gift and i really do try to do something good every day, even if it is a small thing( and it usually is). i think about the small things that people- sometimes strangers - did for me when i was so sick, and i realize that small things do matter, and sometimes make all the difference in the world.

i have decided that it is hard to be a survivor, hard to be brave. when you are first confronted with your disease and are deciding about treatment options,etc. that is all that you can think about. you can only think about getting from point a to point b. you are not  quite sure if " long range plans" are in your future at this point. you are just trying to deal with a diagnosis that you hoped would never come your way. but as things progress, and you realize that you just might be able to survive this thing, new challenges pop up. cancer forces everyone, i think, to decide if they are happy with their life. what do you want to do? what is important to you? you may have limited time( although we all are faced with that ) so do you really want to stay the course, or do you want to head off in some new direction that would be better for you as a person? i always felt that i knew what was important in my life and what made me happy. but having a serious illness really makes you take a hard look at your life and what you need to be doing.

i have always tried to take care of my family. i have been happy with the work that i do, and i enjoy helping others take care of themselves, but guess what? i was neglecting my own good health and well being. i realized, from that moment that i was too weak after my cancer surgery to pick up my dog's water bowl, that i needed to get regular physical exercise( zumba was born then! ) . i also realized that i needed to improve my diet and get more sleep/rest. now i am not saying that i do a stellar job with these revelations, but i sure am trying my best. and to be truthful, i feel better not only physically, but also mentally ,than i did before i found out that i had cancer.

do not get me wrong,though- i still have bad days. " low energy" days that so many of my thyroid cancer friends talk about having. i also know that i will have to endure every six months cancer testing for a good while , but i am doing a bit better dealing  with that. i tend not to be "looking back, over my shoulder" as much as i used to. i was afraid that cancer was somehow trying to catch up with me again. there is a pretty high recurrence rate with the type of thyroid cancer that i had- 35% i believe. so it is understandable that a person would be concerned with this. but, this can not keep me from enjoying my life and i do not want to obsess with this fact. if it comes back, i will get treatment again and hope for the best.

i am very fortunate to have my faith, the love of my family and friends, and good work to do. this is what i try to  focus on, as well as trying to take care of myself for a change. it is hard to be brave- to look forward and not to  think about the chances of  getting sick again. a positive attitude makes all the difference in your world i think. it has been proven that radical remission patients all have a very positive attitude, and that is part of their success. i am trying to hold on to this positivity in my life- in all things. i am just trying to be brave..........