So in about 3 days (give or take, I'm posting at 1:45am on Saturday), Mom goes in for her surgery. It's funny, I kind of forgot how I felt in the few days prior to my first surgery.
I think I was feeling a mixture of things. I didn't have any prior experience, so I had no idea what to expect. I was probably just afraid of how it would feel going under and then after I woke up, but I don't remember if I was scared of the surgery itself. My family and friends definitely kept me busy during that month. I had graduation three days after diagnosis, my graduation party, other friends' graduation parties and outings, and my week trip to visit my lovely grandmother in Florida for Senior Week. Once I recovered from the craziness of the month, I had days before my surgery. The lull made me worried, and gave me more time to think than I wanted. Funny, though, I never really vented. I mean, truly vented. I blubbered and whined a little, but I never really let everything out. That's always been one of my problems: holding things in. I don't let them out unless someone really hurts me or if I feel it's definitely necessary. Go figure I'll get pissed off and chew someone out for being unfair to me in some serious way, and I won't even truly talk about my cancer diagnosis. I'm weird, I guess.
To be truthful, my surgery wasn't so bad. I had my entire thyroid and ten lymph nodes removed. Two of those lymph nodes tested malignant, so it had definitely spread. I never really imagined that it would have gotten more complicated over time.
Looking back, I feel that I'm very different from then. Funny how something can change you in a moment's time. The second I received my diagnosis, I changed. Everyone noticed. A lot of very bold friends actually told me I'd changed, that I wasn't the same person anymore. I'm not sure if I'm happy or pissed. Why does something like this have to alter my personality and turn people off from me, when I'm still surviving? I'm still living; I'm still Dori. So why does something like a fatal disease or any other serious event have to change us entirely?
I see how my mother and sister are, and it amazes me every time. They both are still the same people. Janina had two cancers (yes, two) when she was around my age and older, and she still is the same lovely, wonderful, beautiful person she always has been. My mother has hardly changed since her diagnosis. She's still working, still bustling about the house like the queen of the household she is.
Maybe I simply grew up. My sister grew up long before her diagnoses, and my mother, well, let's just say she's been grown up for a little while. Maybe I needed a big, strong kick in the ass to bust my head out of the clouds and drop back down into the reality that is life. I know I'm far, far from perfect, but I know I've had to grow up a lot since June 1, 2006. I've had to learn how to handle my doctor's appointments, medications, medical history, and all the while juggle school and work. Funny fact, though: I still lack a driver's license. Gotta' get on that, I think.
Long ramble short: In the end, the change has been good. I've learned how to advocate for myself and become more independent. I'm still learning, but I'm pretty sure I'm on the right track. And, no, I'm definitely not thanking my cancer for this. Cancer can still suck it. :)
Like Daughter, Like Mother: Our Thyroid Cancer Journey
Behind the Blog
Adelina is a full-time wife, mother, practice manager, and medical transcriptionist. After receiving an ultrasound and countless biopsies, she was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer on December 11, 2009. She successfully underwent surgery on December 29, 2009, and had her first radioactive iodine treatment in February 2010. Following treatment, Adelina now sees her doctor once a year for follow-up. She has been doing well, and refuses to let cancer slow her down.
Dori is 26 years old. She was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer at the age of 17 on June 1, 2006, just three days prior to her high school graduation. Dori endured two radioactive iodine treatments and two surgeries to remove her complete thyroid and 39 total lymph nodes from her neck. She is now under close watch by her doctors, and only time will tell if the cancer stays at bay.