The Good Cancer

02/18/2021 By Marcy M.

I am Marcy from Buffalo, NY. I’m about to be 30, and 6 months ago, during this coronavirus pandemic I started a new journey called thyroid cancer.

I am a PTA in nursing homes with the elderly. I have never personally dealt with anything regarding cancer that wasn’t a senior citizen at my job or grandparent with cancer. Certainly never a young woman like myself.

I casually brought up a lump i assumed was swollen lymph node, like when you’re sick, during my annual PCP visit to my doctor. Three days later I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. This just after one full day of being poked, scanned and being cared for by some of nicest nurses and MDs at my medical group. Everyone put in so much effort to make sure I had appts ASAP and to not alarm me right away, even though we all have that intuition.

Shock is understatement.

Over next week i had so many appts and met so many people, I just started running on autopilot. Each appt I would find out how extensive it was and where it was, the plan for now and future.

Luckily, I had my boyfriend as my assistant and caregiver at every appt writing notes and keeping me on track. 8 weeks later I had surgery, 14 hrs long at a cancer hospital, with DRs saying they got it all. I needed treatment in a couple months after and then could move on was the plan. We spent time in between surgery killing time at the beach, fishing, kayaking, having fun because why not.

The transition to seeing my incision and scar took a bit to get used too and reality started sinking in. I started having anxiety and identity crisis in a way, adjusting to an addition to my body but also something missing.

Touching my new neck and anatomy I haven’t felt in years was quite a tough thing for me. Especially since they thought it had been disease ridden for 5-10 years! Feeling a “normal neck” along with new numbness and sensory makes your head spin, but I knew from day one that I can’t overthink this or control that. I had to put my faith in the doctors we chose and believed in. I’m not going to fight science or help anything, so positivity, while having days I let myself wallow was doing the trick.

I will continue with treatment once appropriate and can put a bookmark in this chapter, as it won’t ever be closed. I have years of bi-annual scans and bloodwork, but hopefully cancer won’t have to make up most of my days and life eventually.

I feel sharing this helps myself and hopefully others to know we’re not invincible and it’s always worth bringing stuff up to your doctor, no matter how “silly” you might think it is. I was in best shape of my life, running, training 5x/week never in a million years would I guess cancer would be sitting on my chest limiting my progress.

I now look forward to the possibilities that lie ahead of me physically and mentally. I’m not out of the woods yet, but I thank my amazing family, partner, mental health counselor, doctors and friends, acquaintances old and new for keeping my going during this. No one fights alone, or should be embarrassed & ashamed of your health. Sometimes we have no control and it’s okay to not be okay!

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