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Life following my Thyroidectomy/Thyroid Cancer (2 years post removal)

Updated: Oct 18, 2023

2 years after the Thyroidectomy

This part of the post was written a year ago:

Well, it’s been a bit over a year since I have had Thyroid Cancer. I guess you could say this year was a breeze. I thanked my lucky stars that it had not spread and I didn’t need more treatments. I easily moved forward because when they took my thyroid they replaced it with a man-made hormone called Synthroid to regulate my hormones. It was all easy and I am so thankful I got the “good cancer.”

The above paragraph is all false, although it truly sounds lovely. I’m not going to lie though, I kind of feel like that is how some people view my situation and it feels hurtful and defeating. At times, condescending. I don’t know, maybe it’s all in my head but I am learning to go with my gut feeling and that’s what has resulted.

This year has been really hard for me, mentally but also physically and socially. I feel like I have been on an up and down journey with my ways of thinking. The same person has not come out of the other side of this journey and I am okay with that, actually, I am starting to like this new me a lot better. I know there are some out there that do not and that’s okay, too. That has been the hardest and at times, easiest part of this journey for me; accepting that I cannot change what others think of me. It does not matter and in the end, I will be okay with it.

It took me a little bit to figure out what this transformation inside of me needed to be to settle myself. I still don’t know for sure but a big part of it was to start not being afraid to be the me that was inside and to show others that I have not always been the truest me. It also means that I have started to really speak out when something has bothered me or rubbed me the wrong way. At first it was hard for me. I would shake and sweat and feel all agitated but the more I have practiced this behavior the less of a painstaking task it has become for me. In the end, it just feels right to say what I am thinking, even if the other person may not agree. I’d have to say this has been the biggest part of this past year for me and it has made me feel a lot freer.

In a way, those of you that know me may have thought I have hidden away, in a way I kind of have. I took some time to step back from a lot of social situations (complications) to re-evaluate some things in life but also to focus most of my energy on my family. If all else fails, I feel like focusing on my family is something that I will never regret. More than anything it fills me with hope to see how far my children have come. I am proud of our little minions. That is for sure.

Written around the two-year mark:

Now, I am at two years and I have found it much the same. It has truly felt like a soul-searching journey and I am thankful to say that through it all Shannon has remained by my side in a supportive manner. I feel that the last year has been a tad bit easier than the first year but the changes that have happened positively have been because of my own changes I have had to make. When you are feeling miserable, and sadly a lot of these last 2-3 years have been kind of yucky, you look for answers in all of the places. So, what have I done in my search? Well, many times I have tried to eliminate parts of my daily diet to see if that helps with the aches and pains. I have eliminated gluten for 8 weeks, sugar for months and in the end dairy for two months now. Oddly enough, the one that has given my life the most improvement has been the elimination of dairy. Ugh. Not what I wanted but at the same time, if it is working, then that is what I shall do.

In the quest of figuring out what the hell is going on with my body, I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Mainly because we have still not found the cause of my ANA and muscle inflammation numbers to get so high here and there and fibro seems to be the default for many. I mean, I have all of the symptoms and there are many, so we will go with that for now. With fewer flare-ups since I have cut out dairy and not having to take my acid reflux meds, we will call that a win.

When I have a flare-up, it literally feels like I have the flu. My body hurts all over and usually there is a trigger point that hurts a bit more than the rest, this past week it was my sciatic nerve. I never had that pain when pregnant but here it is now. I usually have an aching head/face from my TMJ and I feel like my shoulders and back are super tight.  My body sometimes feels super inflamed, as in I feel like I am puffy and this burning feeling like a fever. Laying down doesn’t really help unless I take a higher dose of ib-profen. The brain fog is awful and it feels like sometimes I have a hard time getting out complete sentences. I cry a lot. I try not to do it around the kids often because I don’t want to scare them but it is a very lonely, self-loathing time and it’s hard. When I finally come down from a flare-up, the pain does not go away but there is some relief. My body still hurts but I don’t have the constant ache, fever feeling of chills and such and my brain is usually not foggy. You kind of feel like you are hungover after a really hard work out. Is this fibromyalgia? I am not 100% but that is what it says on my paperwork. I don’t really get much relief, so I am still hoping to find a more in-depth answer, one of these days. I will never stop trying.

Yes, the pain sucks. I can say that confidently. BUT, the steepest mountain that I have had to climb is most definitely the mental health portion of my health. I had heard, before having my thyroid removed, that people that have never had to deal with anxiety or depression were dealing with it and feeling lost. I thought that I was ready for the challenge but honestly, I was not ready. Not at all. This bout of severe depression and anxiety has been going strong for about 10 months. It sucks. I will have moments when I think it is getting better but that is usually about a week or so and then it’s bad again. I have been going to a psychiatrist’s office consistently to monitor my progress and to try different combinations of meds and such. I think that I am finally finding something that is helping me and unfortunately, the only way to do it has been to take me off of meds that used to help me and find something new and different (and expensive). You can go ahead and disagree with me taking meds but until you have walked a day in my shoes, you truly do not understand.

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