Is this the ”Good” Cancer

Lateral Neck Dissection
Standard

Is there such thing?

Before I was diagnosed with the recurrence of medullary cancer, I had a conversation with a small group of people who I used to have as friends. One friends’ mother also had thyroid cancer, and seeing as I also had it I thought I was an expert. We joked indifferently about how it is the easy cancer to have.

“I mean, you basically get it, remove it, and take a pill for the rest of your life, right?”

That conversation, especially coming from  a survivor, is what propagates this feeling that thyroid cancer is the easy one to have. After all, you only have a slightly closer relationship to the possibility of death than you did before the tumor started to grow…and it hardly ever spreads to the lymph nodes, lungs, and to the rest of the body. Right? Doctors demean the patients struggle by saying things like,

“If you had to get cancer, at least it was this one.”

*Bzzzt* Wrong. All wrong.

The truth here is that it was an abhorrent conversation. Any cancer is bad cancer. Anything that interrupts and endangers a life is a bad disease. I belittled my struggles, my sons subsequent struggles (through mine), and anyone who had battled and either won or lost to this.

Last night the surgeon came in…

…and he was curt, rude, and refused to answer questions – only giving me a constant runaround and repeating what he had already said many times before like I was some dense 20 year old who only cared about the gaping scar that would run from the middle of my neck to the right side of it. (Yes, I care, but not enough to refrain from this surgery. Obviously.) But within all of this, I did extract some information.

My surgery will consist of another “thyroidectomy” to clean out the new tumor and a neck dissection to remove the lymph nodes on that side. According to him, this is not a wimp cancer, this is a dangerous thing that we need to take serious action about. I agree.

To be honest, I don’t feel strong enough today to deal with it, and I don’t feel guilty for it. I don’t know when this enduring strength will come. Maybe it will compile itself in seconds when I am looking at my son and I know that I would fight anything to stay with him, or when I am in my fiancés arms and I can’t think of letting it all go. Maybe when I am laughing so hard with family and friends that air can’t return fast enough.

I hear so often that I am strong and I have so much love and support. Even through that, on mornings like these and nights like last night, I feel weak and alone.

p.s. No, the picture is not me, just an estimate of how big the scar will be.

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