I watched my Ravens lose to the Steelers today. It was pretty painful to watch. We gave up three touchdowns because of penalties. I won't deny that I was quite pissed and yelling at the referees through my TV set (yeah, they totally heard me). Overall, it was a heart-wrenching experience.
A cancer battle is pretty much like a football game. Both teams battle it out, and, in the end, one has to win. Doctors make the call on what would be the best treatment for the patient, just like the referees make calls on the game to benefit one or the other. Family, friends, coworkers, and even strangers have to watch from the sidelines, shouting encouraging words for their loved one and booing the disease and all the hell that goes with it, just like fans rooting for their favorite team and cussing out the opposition. All the fans can do is watch and anxiously wait for the final score. All the loved ones surrounding the cancer patient can do is watch and wait for something to happen.
As I was watching the game today, Derrick Mason got badly injured. He looked like he was really hurting. A Steelers player fell on his leg and it looked like Mason had twisted it. The whole thing looked painful. What amazed me was Mason got up and walked off the field, and within about ten to fifteen minutes, the announcers stated that he was coming back into the game. I was floored. I kind of sat wide-eyed at the screen for a good while, wondering what in the world Mason was thinking. His injury seemed pretty bad initially.
Isn't that what we, as cancer patients, have to do sometimes? We need a breather. We need time to take everything in. But in the end, we have to get back in the ring and fight. If not, then we need to live our lives and not regret a single moment.
Sometimes I have definitely needed time to breathe. I felt suffocated most of the time. A lot of it happened so quickly. Diagnosis, graduation, surgery, driver's ed, treatment...all within about two months. And then school started almost immediately after I finished treatment. I barely had time to rest. Before my first semester was over, I had to go off of my medications (whoopee) and start becoming hypothyroid. I became even more exhausted than before! The low-iodine diet began a month later, and then I had treatment a little over a week later. By the time treatment was done, I was back in school for another semester. I was burned out, but luckily this semester wasn't so horrible. I finished with straight A's and made it onto the Dean's List. By the time summer came, I needed a breather. There were so many things I had to do, and I had no choice.
My family did so much for me during this time. They made my meals, talked to me, let me vent if I needed to. They encouraged me and drove me wherever I needed to go (oh, they still do, oops), and never denied me fun when I needed it. They sucked it up when I wanted to watch an old movie, or something just plain stupid on TV. But through all of that, it had to have been horrible watching all of this cancer business happen. I feel the same way about my mom.
She works so hard. She has so many jobs. Wife, mother, practice manager, medical transcriptionist, soap and jewelry maker, etc. The list goes on. I know that I'm going to become the woman of the house and take care of her, but I don't mind at all. I want to support her and help her get through this. I want to cook for her, clean (did I just say that?), watch movies and crazy TV shows with her, anything that would help make this battle easier.
Sure, players get injured. Cancer fighters get their scars. We all fall down. But the key is getting back up again.
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.