Thyroid Cancer Glorification

Honoring my 8th year anniversary of thyroid cancer diagnosis with an artistic photoshoot - DivineMrsDiva.com


Yesterday was the 8th anniversary of my cancer diagnosis.  It's probably why I've been getting incredibly more anxious and emo lately.  I can feel the depression sneaking back in, which is never fun.  At my most recent endocrinologist appointment this year, I graduated to only having to go see her in-person once a year, instead of my usual two.  I still have to get bloodwork done every 6 months, but I haven't had any recurrences or issues to suggest something bad is happening or will happen.  That's always a plus!

Earlier this year, Gabrielle of @MusingsofaFox started a "Glorification" series on Instagram, photos glorifying her chronic conditions.  In her words:
As a fat person on the internet, I’ve been accused of glorifying a whole bunch of things so I thought it was high time I lean in to that accusation and take the opportunity to artistically present the conditions that impact my existence every day. If you would like to participate, please use #healthisnotworth.
I knew I wanted to participate somehow, but it wasn't until a couple months later that inspiration really struck.  To honor my cancer-versary, I'm tackling thyroid cancer first!


Honoring my 8th year anniversary of thyroid cancer diagnosis with an artistic photoshoot - DivineMrsDiva.com
Dress:  City Chic  /  Butterfly Chocker: DIY by Me

Thyroid cancer diagnoses are on the rise, occurring in all age groups but most often in those 20 to 55. When found early, thyroid cancer can be highly treatable. Thyroid nodules themselves are very common and mostly benign. Less than 10% of nodules are cancerous, with any pain or symptoms not occurring until later stages.

I also have Hashimoto's, which is an autoimmune condition in which your body attacks your thyroid.  While hypothyroidism is very common, Hashimoto's can also be the root cause of hypothyroidism (when your thyroid gland isn't functioning optimally) & can put you at higher risk of developing thyroid cancer.

Symptoms can range from nothing at all (I only found out I had it because I ended up feeling the lump in my neck) to hoarseness, difficulty breathing  or swallowing, shortness of breath, and swollen thyroid and/or lymph nodes.

The back and forth of trying to find a doctor who would take my noticeable lump seriously and order the proper tests was incredibly frustrating, stressful, and upsetting.  After the first endocrinologist I saw laughed at me, I did all the research to find my own surgeon and a better endo!  Ultrasounds and a long-ass needle biopsy were involved, with treatment being full removal of my thyroid and a radiation treatment in the form of a radioactive iodine pill.

I wrote about my cancer journey (including my radioactive isolation phase) on the blog, and also have a full resource page for deciphering test results, how to check your neck, and many other sources of help and advice on thyroid issues!

For this "glorification" photoshoot, I set out to make a choker of butterflies (the symbol of the thyroid since it is shaped like one).  When I was told I had cancer, the doctor didn't sit me down and explain everything.  I didn't know what my prognosis was, and given that we had just said goodbye to Sean's dad the year prior because of leukemia, I assumed my time was short.  The butterflies represent not only my thyroid leaving my body, but the time in the waiting when I thought I was going to die.  The butterflies are the hopes and dreams I thought I had lost, and the flight of my life before.

While it isn't the path I would have chosen for myself, having cancer taught me a lot of valuable lessons.  I get more frustrated with people now because I don't want them to have cancer be their teacher.  My body needs lots more rest these days, I have trouble thinking of words, my body doesn't regulate temperature well, and I have to take a pill for the rest of my life to stay alive.  But overall, I'm much healthier now than when that Throat Monster was growing inside me.

I hope you enjoy the photos.  Please get your thyroid checked periodically and make sure your doctor is taking all the proper tests.  ADVOCATE FOR YOURSELF and know that you are worth it.


Honoring my 8th year anniversary of thyroid cancer diagnosis with an artistic photoshoot - DivineMrsDiva.com

Honoring my 8th year anniversary of thyroid cancer diagnosis with an artistic photoshoot - DivineMrsDiva.com

Honoring my 8th year anniversary of thyroid cancer diagnosis with an artistic photoshoot - DivineMrsDiva.com

Honoring my 8th year anniversary of thyroid cancer diagnosis with an artistic photoshoot - DivineMrsDiva.com





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