It was as if someone had opened a port in my big toes and drained all of the blood from my body. My doctor had called. “Are you driving? You should pull over.” It was 1:17pm on Thursday, August 9th. I was on my way to pick up my kids from their internship. The picture of the barren lot I stared at off of Hennepin Ave is forever burned into my mind. “The results of your biopsy just came in. You have thyroid cancer.” I almost didn’t want her to say the words. When she’d asked me to pull off the road, my deepest fear was already confirmed. It was cancer. I have cancer. My doctor went into a litany of words but I only heard two things. I have cancer and it’s survivable. Until five minutes ago, I hadn’t realized that I needed to survive anything. I had mistakenly thought that I was thriving.
I am 41 years old. Earlier this summer I had completed my second bodybuilding competition. A few days prior I had run five miles in preparation for a half marathon. I hardly ever drink alcohol, don’t eat a lot of sugar and don’t eat processed food. I am doing everything right. How did I go, in just one uttered phrase, from thriving to surviving?
My body is betraying me. That was the theme of my next series of thoughts. If I was doing everything right then my body must be against me. “My body is too sensitive. My stupid thyroid has never worked right anyway and now it’s trying to kill me. I’m going to just eat and eat to punish my body for its insubordination. Doing everything right hasn’t helped, so why not just go all in? Eat all the food and drink all the drinks?”
That line of thinking didn’t last but what came next was worse. Every single sensation in my body told me that I had cancer EVERYWHERE. The soreness in my abs (maybe from the 60 crunches I’d done that morning?) was certainly uterine cancer. I woke up with a sore neck and for sure I had neck cancer. There was a popping sensation in my ear and for sure I had ear cancer. My glasses felt too tight on my head and for sure I had brain cancer. Then all of these additional cancers were just increasing and increasing and increasing my anxiety so that lead to more pains and of course, more types of cancer! (All while working out as usual and doing all of my normal activities with ease.)
After lots of appointments and getting intimately familiar with the specialty clinic at HCMC, I finally was cured of all of my extraneous cancers when I saw my surgeon. I asked lots of questions and explained my irrational fears. “Hop up on the table,” she said. She felt my neck, lymph nodes and looked in my throat. “I don’t feel anything else. It isn’t impacting your lymph nodes and seems to be located solely in the lump.” With this one phrase, she healed my mind. Literally from that moment, all of my random physical symptoms that seemed so scary and threatening were gone. Crazy how I went, in the span of a few days, from fearing thyroid cancer to thinking, “okay, I only have thyroid cancer.”
In my work, I know how important your mind is. I believe that thoughts become things whether they are things that we manifest in our life or in our body. When my pain went away in that instant, it was a visceral reminder of the importance of my mental and emotional state. Reminding me that I have a choice. I choose to be curious and brave. I know that this isn’t an accident. I have thyroid cancer and there is something for me to heal and learn from this. The healing journey I’ve traveled lately has been centered around healing my inner child, my sick little child-sized body and my thyroid is intertwined in it all. I have so much more to tell you about this journey but for now, know that all will be well.
Under the careful hands of my surgeon, my thyroid will be removed on September 18th and through the care of my homeopath and family, I will spend the rest of the week resting at home. I will return to my practice and the work I love on September 24th.
I will be documenting my experience in the upcoming weeks so follow me on Instagram or login to my blog to stay updated.