Thyroid Cancer: A Life Sentence

September 18, 2014

 

Thyroid cancer is not a death sentence, but it is a life sentence.

The reason medical professionals and people who have googled thyroid cancer call it the “good” or “easy” cancer to have, is because thyroid cancer has a pretty good prognosis. It’s a pretty great prognosis actually. The cancer grows slowly and if found at a young age, we can essentially “go for a cure” as my surgeon put it. The good news is that I’m young. People say that I look much younger than my age. I hope the same can be said of my cells.

We’re going to try and “cure” my thyroid cancer next week by taking my thyroid out completely. I have three lumps on my thyroid, the largest of which was biopsied and found to be malignant. So please imagine a drum-roll as I announce the date of my total thyroidectomy…………………………..

………………………….. September 24th, 2014.

Thyroid MedicationThat is the date that I will have to say goodbye to my thyroid. That little butterfly-shaped gland that I never gave 5 seconds of thought to prior to this fiasco. That’s a lie, I might have thought about it during biology and physiology courses, but that was all theoretical and detached from my actual person. My thyroid was in a book and on slides and in multiple choice questions. My thyroid wasn’t a part of what makes me a human or a person. When I think of myself, I don’t think of what’s happening at the micro-level because, like many people, I take those processes for granted. I still find it hard to believe that everything the thyroid does will be replaced by a once-a-day pill. I had to ask the doctor, “How big is this pill exactly?”

My brother and I googled the thyroid together. We were in a morbid kind of mood so we also looked up videos of thyroidectomies (I would not recommend this to the faint of heart). As the thyroid was removed from the patient’s neck, covered in blood, my brother remarked, “That looks important,”

I nodded silently. I was in total agreement.

Turns out that once you know that an organ or gland needs to be removed, you get overly attached to it. I haven’t gone so far as naming my thyroid but I do look at the lump on my neck at least once a day. Some lumps aren’t visible, but mine is. Especially if I look up.

Today, I met the anesthesiologist who will be in the operating room with me. He needed to assess my remaining cough from the bronchitis and ensure there wouldn’t be any complications during surgery. He asked me why I was getting my thyroid removed. I cringed internally while I replied, “Thyroid cancer.” I still can’t get used to saying the words. Now, this doctor had an appropriate response. I could see genuine concern and surprise in his raised eyebrows. We looked at each other across the desk. I know, right? Who would’ve thought.

Thyroid Cancer AwarenessSo on September 24th, this thing is literally going to turn into a pain in my neck. Maybe the pain will make it feel real. The pain will symbolize that a part of my body was sick and needed to be taken out so the rest of me could be healthy. I’ve been trying to figure out ways to avoid a thyroidectomy. But, with any other option, I’ll still have to live knowing that this malignancy is in me. So surgery is necessary so I can move on with my life. Although I’m coming to terms with the fact that surgery is necessary, I still don’t want it. I really don’t. I wish there was some way to keep my thyroid. I wish I didn’t have to get my neck sliced open. I wish I didn’t have to deal with this.

But, I don’t have a magic lamp and I don’t get any wishes. So instead, I’ll just hope that next week, the surgeon will find that the cancer has not spread to my lymph nodes. I’ll hope that I won’t bronchospasm during the procedure. And I’ll hope that this surgery really will be my cure.

 

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10 Responses

  1. Pingback: 16 Days of Silence | Nadha Hassen | Public Health, Social Justice & All Things Community

  2. Jessica says:

    Nadha, I am deeply saddened to hear of all that you are going through. My prayers and thoughts will be with you and your family. If there is anyone that can battle this, it will definitely be you.

    • Nadha says:

      I like your confidence in me Jessica ! I really hope that you are doing well, I’m not sure whether the Bike Event is over or not this year but all the best : )

  3. Tharique & Rizwana says:

    Dear Nadha, we are all praying for you, and may Almighty ALLAH the Creator, the Most Beneficent & Merciful take care and cure it for ever. Pls recite As-Ma-Ul-Husna (99 Beautiful names of ALLAH) every day with a firm intention & trust, this has solution for everything.

  4. Mehreen says:

    I am praying, and will pray more, and harder.. inshaAllah the surgery will take place smoothly with no complications, with any harmful cell gone forever *hug* Ur already a very strong person, stay strong through this too my love <3

  5. Sarah S says:

    Still praying hard for you, sweet, brave Nadha! This is all so difficult to read without tears welling up, but I understand that it’s even more difficult to experience. My grandma and sister have been dealing with thyroid issues since I was in high school, but I never gave it too much thought. Right after my wedding in 2010, I was also diagnosed with hypothyroidism. It’s obviously not the same thing you are going through, but I want you to remember that time and prayer will make the situation a bit easier to handle.

    I will be praying even harder for this surgery to be a complete success. Insha Allah it will be your cure, darling.

    Love, Sarah

    • Nadha says:

      That tricky thyroid!! It seems to be giving a lot of people issues. Thank you for reading and commenting, although I never wanted to make anyone tear up. It can be quite cathartic though. *Hugs*

  6. Ramzeen says:

    I’m in FULL empathy mode with you in this and know that the pros outweigh the cons. My only concern is for the surgeon to perform it cosmetically perfect – you get my drift?

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