July 3, 2015
Exactly one year ago today, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and what a year it’s been. I still think I didn’t need cancer to appreciate life, I was appreciating it very well before that. Nonetheless, it happened, it is now a fact of my life and the pills I take everyday are a reminder of that. The puckered scar on my neck is worse to touch than it is to see, but I force myself to touch the scar sometimes. It is a part of accepting my body. The scar has begun to keloid on one side and the rest of it is sunken, another reminder that I have no thyroid in that space.
I no longer feel the need to live my life by others’ expectations, because I trust myself and I have faith in my values and the way I choose to live my life. I believe that I am a good person and that is enough. That has allowed me to say words that I have kept bottled up within me for so long because of fear of repercussion. Perhaps an example will make that statement more concrete. Yesterday, an article I wrote was published in the online magazine PositiveLite.ca. The article is titled the Queer Muslim Conundrum. Some of you may underestimate what it means for me to have made that article public while others may appreciate the internal struggle I have gone through.
I have lost friends because of my diagnosis and I am learning to accept that. I no longer need to please everyone. It is exhausting and ultimately, futile. The ones who appreciate me are the people I need and want around me. I have learned that family is not only through blood relations. Family are the people who love and support without condition. The ones who show up when things are rough. The ones I can agree to disagree with and still know they want the best for me. In a twisted way, I suppose I am fortunate enough to know who those people are now.
I still miss my old body, but I’m working on making the best of this one. I will need to figure out why my joints are still aching. According to the specialist, one half glass of prune nectar juice a day will solve all my constipation problems. Too bad I don’t much care for the taste of prunes. My mind is getting sharper again. I don’t feel quite back to pre-concussion and cancer me, but I will hone my mind again because it is worth it. It’s been a draining and emotional year but as always, I’m taking it one day at a time.