Wednesday, April 22, 2009

six month update

Exactly six months ago today I was sitting in the doctor's office with my stomach in my throat. I knew what was coming, but exactly six months ago today, my doctor looked at me with pain and sadness written all over his face and told me I have cancer. I don't think I will ever forget his expression. His compassion at that moment continues to reassure to me that he is a blessing from God. He has never said anything stupid. He never told me this was going to be easy. In fact, he said it was going to be hard. He never told me that I had the best cancer there is. He never told me that being hypothyroid while preparing for radiation was going to be fun. He never told me I was on my own to figure out the best treatment for me. He has always been in control of the situation and has never seemed to lack confidence. He is optimistic that I will be cured. He is realistic that this is not over yet. He listens to me instead of just looking at my labs. He is willing to make adjustments to my medication if I need him to. He genuinely cares about me and I love him for it.

Today I had a check-up and my doctor had a very different story to tell than six months ago. My TSH level is where it needs to be and my thyroglobulin (tumor marker) level is undetectable. Does this mean I am cancer free? No, but it does mean I am headed in the right direction and that my treatment to date has been effective. Is it reason to praise God for getting me this far? Absolutely.

**Just a clarification regarding the previous post. I don't want anyone to think I stay in bed all day crying my eyes out. I don't. I am actually in a really good place. I was able to write that post because I am in a good place. Yes, I go through a lot mentally and emotionally some days, but who doesn't?

Monday, April 20, 2009

confessions of a cancer patient

I might look strong on the outside, but on the inside I am fighting a constant battle against fear. Most days I win. Some days I lose, and those are bad days.

I don't always know how to fit in because sometimes I think most people don't understand me anymore.

If one more person tells me how glad they are that this is all behind me I might scream. Because it's not behind me. I know they mean well, but it's still a very real thing. So cut out all that past-tense crap and help me fight the battle I'm facing today.

Don't tell me that thyroid cancer is the easy cancer or is the best cancer to get. I KNOW that my treatment has not been as physically harsh as other cancer patients'. I KNOW that I am fortunate to not have had the need for chemotherapy. I KNOW. I don't need you to tell me, because even though I haven't had to deal with the horrible side effects of chemo or external beam radiation, there is nothing easy or good about this cancer.

When I was first diagnosed with cancer I was bombarded with people who rallied around me. It's only been six months, and so many of those people are gone. That hurts. (If you're reading this, I'm probably not talking about you!)

I may sound like I'm looking for pity, but I'm not at all. I'm just looking for support.

I don't want cancer, but having cancer has changed me to the very core, and I know God is going to use this for something great one day. He's good like that.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Cancer with benefits

Apparently, having cancer in America entitles you to special economic stimuli. A few weeks ago I received a discount card in the mail that I can use any time I rent a car from Hertz. Just knowing that I can get a deal on a rental car helps me rest easier at night. Except I am too young to rent a car from Hertz. But let me tell you, come October 3rd I am headed straight to Hertz, using my cancer discount card, and driving my worries away.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

Hope. A word I have heard all my life. A word I use all the time.
"Hope to see you soon."
"Hope you do well on your test."
"Hope you can get some rest."
"Hope you don't get stuck in traffic."
"Hope you win the lottery." :)
"Hope you feel better."
Hope. A word I never really understood until I was diagnosed with cancer. Hope is nothing unless it is hope in Jesus. Hope in Jesus is real. It is life. It is what gives me rest at night and what gets me out of bed in the morning. It sustains me the few days before a check-up when gut-wrenching fear threatens to creep in. It conquers fears. It brings peace. Hope in Jesus Christ because He defeated death and rose from the grave. Hope because He lives. Hope because His power is not limited by cancer.