Monday, September 6, 2010

Bringing Sexy Out of the Thyloset

This post is part of the Dear Thyroid Blog Tour, i.e. during the month of September, Dear Thyroid is going on a blog tour to promote awareness for thyroid cancer. 'For this blog tour, we’ll be asking bloggers to write a post on their own blog that addresses some questions provided by Dear Thyroid regarding thyroid cancer and thyroid cancer awareness. On the day we are scheduled to make a “stop” at your blog, Dear Thyroid will post a brief description of your blog along with a link from our website to yours.'

So, here’s the Q&A ;)

-What kind of thyroid cancer were you diagnosed with? How many years have you been a survivor?

In March 2005 I had a thyroidectomy, followed by RAI end of May for papillary thyroid cancer, 4,5 cm left lobe and spread to some 3 or 4 glands. I just found out that the Thyrogen test I took in August, shows there's residue tissue ...

-September is thyroid cancer awareness month. What does that mean to you? Why do you think awareness is important? How do you spread awareness?

This September, thyroid cancer awareness month, I want to take a moment here, on my blog, to remember. Remember what getting cancer---my 1st, 9 months later, I was dxd with breast cancer---meant to me. What it meant for my body, my relationship, my surroundings. My physical and emotional status, so to speak. But also, I post on this blog as my very small way to spread awareness. Thyroid cancer is rare, not many people know of it and often it just falls between the folds of the other cancers that get more talked about. I think that also has implications on early detection. I’d say, ‘peeps, feel your necks!’

-Many thyroid cancer patients have been told, “If you have to get cancer, thyroid cancer is the one to get.” What do you think of that statement? When you’re told this, how do you respond?

As a thyroid cancer patient/survivor, you’re often told ‘it’s the one to get.’ “Frankly, I’d rather not ‘get’ any, you?” is my default answer. I put that statement down to ignorance from an attempt to be comforting, easier to deal with for those who say it? And ignorance. Out of ignorance, hurtful things are said … The treatment trajectory and prognosis vary according to the type cancer you have, it’s not as straightforward as it seems-thinking that it is, is a cold approach which feeds the myth-after all, bodies differ…-that’s the warm approach.

-Dear Thyroid is constantly working to dispel the myth that thyroid cancer is the good cancer or the easy cancer. What other myth would you like to dispel regarding thyroid cancer?

There’s another cancer myth about it that roams, you can live your life the same way without your thyroid ... After a thyroidectomy, you’re thyroid IS a pill basically. You take a pill daily, for the rest of your life. Hopefully, you’ll be able to manage the hyper-level they put you on as a way to control the cancer that may lure in residue cells. Hopefully you don’t suffer too much from side effects. Hopefully you get on the right dosage easily enough. Hopefully they managed to spare nerves (vocal chords and shoulder) that are in the neighborhood while taking the thyroid out, hopefully they managed to spare most of the 4 parathyroid glands in the process, otherwise leaving you to also take calcium supplements for the rest of your life. Hopefully, hopefully ….

-What one thing would you tell the world about thyroid cancer?

Thyroid cancer sucks! It’s out there! Check your necks!

-What advice would you give to a newly diagnosed thyroid cancer patient?

A lot of information addressing treatments, follow-up, strategies, I looked up for myself on the web, in books, in support groups and by asking questions to my docs and fellow patients. I’m a person who wants to know. It gives me (the illusion of) some control maybe, it gives me peace of mind, reasonable stress levels, certainly. Nothing is more nerve-racking to me than not knowing what’s going on in terms of treatment.

Note to this post:

Very early on, for this blog I made “Moth,” to recall my thyroid cancer. It’s one of my most gripping and one of my best pieces, I think. I never really got to post a text with that painting. Too poignant. But this blog-tour post? Suits just fine! Thank you “Dear Thyroid.”

Moth, March 2005
acrylics on canvas
Dear Thyroid is a thyroid support community and literary brand. Our goal is to connect patients with each other, to create awareness for thyroid diseases and cancers, and to give all thyroid patients a voice. We come together as a united front to invoke change on behalf of thyroid patients worldwide. Thyroid patients are invited to submit letters to their thyroids, thyroid rants and raves, and other literary creations. Help us to create awareness for thyroid diseases and cancers by wearing your disease on your sleeve and by requesting one of our free awareness bands. Visit to learn more!


Joanna Isbill said...

Ria, thank you for participating in our blog tour! I love your post so much and your artwork is STUNNING!

Dean Grey said...

A powerful self-portrait indeed!


Momo Luna said...

Thank you....