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Note: The purpose of this article is neither to draw attention nor to cause any worry, the pain was intense, the healing process was worth it more than anything in the world. My goal is to inform, share and remind that this does not happen only to others …
I shared this experience in my french blog when it first started (in 2011 and 2012), then due to fatigue, shame, discouragement, and also wanting to forget, I have not discussed this topic for over 5 years.
Why am I doing it today? Probably because a few weeks ago, I had a check up with questionable results, which fortunately turned out to be erroneous on the part of the laboratory, but this did resurface the possibility of a relapse.
It will soon be seven years since I was diagnosed with cancer and had to undergo surgery immediately to stop the progression of my thyroid cancer.
In this post, I won’t touch too much upon me learning the diagnosis and also on the operation itself, which I take you were able to find in previous articles that I wrote. I did, however, update a few of those articles due to a few spelling errors, sorry …
Learning to live with cancer
Although doctors told me over and over again that this is one of the easiest cancer types to treat, cancer is still one of the most misunderstood diseases and, aside from it being in your body, the psychological impact it has on an individual can quickly become difficult to handle.
Before being diagnosed with cancer I always believed, as I think most people do, this only happens to others.
Moreover, I always thought of it as a very serious disease that only happens to the elderly or to strangers far from my day-to-day life whom I did not know. But my awakening was that it can affect anyone of us at any age. Unfortunately, sometimes it has to happen to us to realize it.
The feeling of trepidation hangs over your head and remains there for a while.
I know the importance of being patient goes without saying, so does remaining positive, and not losing hope and to be able to cope.
This is not to say that if this were to ever happen to you, that it will be easy, I’m sure it will not be. It will be a quite difficult period, there might be moments when you feel depressed, feel like sobbing, you will not understand why this happened to you.
I believe these are moments through which we must pass before we can find all hope and say that everything will be fine because whatever happens, at that moment there’s nothing we can do about it and all we can do to cope is to remain positive.
The word “cancer” took a psychological hit on me
What I found baffling about this disease is feeling perfectly well and to be told that you’re sick, and that you’re in danger of dying all while feeling perfectly healthy.
Only hearing the word “cancer”, sometimes in group conversations, on TV or in everyday life gave me the chills, reminded me of my hospitalization, the months of waiting for the final prognosis … a very strange period in my life.
In retrospect, what I experienced feels as unreal as a movie script: it was both real and completely difficult to believe. At one point I think I just gave up trying to understand anymore, I learned to remain quiet and just follow all doctor orders, what else was there to do besides putting all my trust in them?
One lives normally today without thyroid
The first year after my thyroid removal, everything was very complicated. It is necessary to learn to live without this organ whose purpose I did not know anything about before this cancer.
The thyroid regulates all the functions of the body: without this, everything in our body gradually stops working, a bit like a plant without water, after a moment, it fades, then it struggles along, but theoretically one does not fully die at first even if this slowdown causes a coma, which eventually leads to death, according to various cases.
Then there’s, of course, the process of pinpointing the exact dosage of Levothyrox, a thyroid replacement medicine that helps regulate hormone levels. I needed multiple blood tests to reach an acceptable dosage and to finally be able to live a normal life again.
At the end of the second year, things started to become stable and finally found a TSH level that was the perfect dose. Here today, I’m completely stable and in the conditions expected by the hospital.
Four years of stability now, I finally stopped gaining weight (I was gaining weight without eating more than usual and reached about 81 kilos).
The first year, I had to gain 10 kg all while cutting down on a lot of things: soft drinks, treats, chocolate, Nutella … and a lot of other junk that I considered harmful to my body.
Finally, it paid off: in 2017, I weighed 69 kilos, the same weight as the day before my operation in March 2011.
It was necessary to remain positive during this period of my life, from the moment the doctor announces the diagnosis to the complete recovery. I ask you to stay positive: this is difficult but it’s for our own good, we must keep hope.
Since 2011, my outlook on life has changed, I now know that everything can stop at any moment.
We do not know how or when, so don’t take following my dreams for granted: at the end, best thing in life is to be healthy!