My phone rang Monday at 8am, just as I was getting out of the shower. I knew that it would be Robin at my Dr.'s office calling with my biopsy results. She had called at the same time the week before with the results of my bloodwork. Those results had been perfect.
My biopsy, on the other hand, was very different. I had cancer. It was an awful way to start my week. I was stunned. I hung up the phone and told my husband. Who was also stunned and as he hugged me said, 'We will get through this'. Sure, I thought, as I looked at my baby daughter.
It took a few hours for it to sink in. I dropped off my son at school. I took my daughter to Music Together. As we walked around the room, singing 'Dancing dancing dance with me!' I thought, no one else in here has cancer. And then I felt my throat tighten.
I went home and called my mom, who tried hard to be reassuring. Thyroid cancer is so curable, you know. Which it is. But there is something so hard to hear about the word cancer. I was having a rough time with it. I sobbed on the phone to my mother.
And then sobbed later that day. I'm on my son's school's PTA board. We had all met at the school to make some plans for teacher appreciation week. I was not myself. I willed myself to act like myself, but it was nearly impossible. After the meeting, when a friend asked what was wrong, I burst into tears as I told them.
And then more tears as the day went on. I knew that things could actually be much worse. But the word cancer is tough. We have a lot of fear and anxiety wrapped up in that one word. Most adults know someone who has died of cancer. I have several great aunts and great uncles who have. And a guy who I was close friends with in college died of cancer the year we turned 40.
Truthfully, though, I know a lot of survivors too. And people who survived far worse cancers than this. That's the perspective that I have to keep in mind. Papillary thyroid cancer has a 95% cure rate. It is incredibly, highly survivable.