23 September 2010

Bye-bye Thyroid and other body parts

If you're reading this, consider yourself lucky, a part of one of history's defining moments (well in my history anyway :P). Why? Because this will probably be the last time (or one of the last times) I'm blogging with a thyroid. It's not everyday you get to read a blog post written by someone who's losing a thyroid after all.

It's sort of funny how when you can completely ignore your thyroid all your life, be totally oblivious to it and yet be so concerned about losing it. I mean, we don't really pay attention to our thyroids the way we do our skin, hair or even our nails do we? We use expensive creams and lotions and stuff to keep them healthy and glowing but the thyroid? A completely neglected organ, poor thing. It's only when you're losing it that you start giving it attention, and despite all those years of neglect, you know you're going to miss it. I sort of miss mine already.

And what's up with the past few weeks anyway?! It's almost been like 'give pieces of yourself away' weeks. I also bid goodbye to a mole on the back of my right leg exactly a month back. In fact, this whole trip started from that mole.

I noticed the mole growing in size and went to get it checked by a doctor. It was still really tiny so everyone thought it was totally unnecessary, Mizoram phone calls would be peppered with insightful advices like 'Just use Lelte lotion, that's what we all use to get rid of growing moles, why the expensive surgery?' But I have a great fear of moles that don't stay the same. The doctor thought it was probably nothing, I said I was scared that it could be cancerous, doc said 'I'm 99% sure it's okay but let's get it removed anyway.'

And so we did, and a biopsy was done, and guess what that itty bitty tiny little thing turned out to be? A malignant melanoma. If you Google that, you'll see that melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. And all my life, I've always thought that only Caucasians get melanoma, not brown-skinned persons like me.

I once worked on an online ad campaign for the Australian Cancer Council. I remember sitting there, writing lines like 'There's no such thing as a healthy tan!' and thinking how lucky I was that I am this skin colour and that I don't have to sun-bath or use a tanning booth. I did not even consider myself at risk at all when I was writing those lines, warning people about the dangers of skin cancer like melanoma. And yet there I was, melanoma very much on my body.

Anyway, under pressure from family, I saw an Oncologist after the melanoma was removed. He suggested a whole body PET CT scan just to be on the safe side. I thought it was unnecessary. The doctors had removed the melanoma, and assured me that it hadn't spread anywhere. What are the chances of them finding another unrelated cancer I thought.

Wrong again. They found a nodule on my thyroid which after further testing turned out to be papillary carcinoma. That was Monday, and now you know why I will be farwelling my thyroid. The scan also detected some other nodule on my cervical lymph nodes which was also supposed to be tested but it was so small the ultrasound couldn't detect it when they tried to perform FNAC so that's been put on hold.

Well that's about the end of my cancer story for now. I am undergoing a lot of tests right now in preparation for my surgery. The surgery will be followed up by radioiodine therapy. And I will regularly stand naked in front of a friend or a family member to check for any new signs of a rouge mole henceforth. Not too bad I think.

Getting two completely unrelated cancers at this age seemed a little unfair to me at first. But when I go to the hospital and I see all these little kids with worse forms of cancer than mine, I feel ashamed to even think about unfairness.

There are a million things that go through my head, and I would love to write them all down. But maybe I'll save all of those for later when I'm in the hospital bored sick in bed itching for something to do.

Anyway, my message to you all is this - get that mole checked if you notice any irregularity. My mole was so tiny people joked that I was getting a cosmetic surgery when I went to get it removed. I have always used sunscreen lotion. Get that lump checked even if it doesn't seem to be anything serious. I am very careful about what I eat - the greens lover, the apple-a-day-eater, I work out regularly and am very physically fit. Although not perfect at all, I do try to treat my body well. During all of these, I have never felt sick or tired, did not have any pain, no complaints with my thyroid, not even a peep, never even a lump that I noticed, there was just nothing that would suggest that I was even remotely sick. I even got voted 'the most athletic' on a team outing some months back :P

Smoking is one bad habit of mine that I hate. But with thyroid cancer, what they say is that there seems to be a lower risk of thyroid cancer in smokers especially if they're still smoking. Well, I'm a smoker and I'm still smoking. Just like melanoma, sunscreen and hardly no exposure to the sun on any regular day or tanning booths didn't help, smoking which was supposed to improve my chances also clearly didn't.

I think I have cancer genes and that I am just genetically predisposed to cancer. Cancer have always been in the family and if this had happened when I'm like 50, I wouldn't even be surprised. Now just seems a tad early. But then who's to say when is early and when is not.

Please keep me and my family in your prayers. And pray for me especially so that I can learn to listen and hear what God is trying to tell me through this because I know He IS trying to tell me something.

p.s: A friend was telling me the other day that I only have one in a hundred chance of getting thyroid cancer. That, and with the doctor's 99% surety that my mole was not cancerous and yet me getting the one in those hundred chances in both cases, do you think maybe it would be a good time for me to buy a lottery ticket? I'm sure to win if chances favor me the way they've been favoring me with cancer :-)

p.p.s: I really hate it when people treat me like I'm sick or dying just because I have cancer. Living leads to death, so anyone who's alive right now has as many chances of dying as I do so we're all in the same boat. And don't send me chocolates because I don't like them. Flowers are welcome :))

p.p.p.s: And appreciate your thyroids. Every once in a while, give it a little pat or a nice rub and say thank you!

36 comments:

sekibuhchhuak said...

ZAI PUI i lo tawk renga! :-)

parathyroid leh thyroid danglam na pawh kahirat phah :-)

Anonymous said...

dam leh thuai la ka duh e. Kei pawh tukin khan miita lungte awm min ti a sin. I thei hrang hrang post hi ka ngaina hle a, ka tangkaipui bok

aduhi said...

I hope everything goes well and you get back to being your lively efficient self. You must be thinking "Why me?" Well I believe everything happens for a reason, and maybe God allows this to happen to you because He knows you are strong enough to get through it. So, get well soon!!

Jerusha said...

Boss Seki - hahha ka chhungte pawh hian mihring taksa vel chu an hre belh nasa khawp mai.

Anonymous - Nia hei dam leh thuai chu kan tum chu ania. Miit a lungte awm hi awlsam deuh a treat dan te kha awm tawh an ti em khah? Thei post chu ka tuina lam ania, in lo chhiar a ka lawm. A hranpa in hetiang category tawp hi blog dang ka siam a, mahse ka khawi muang lutuk a, nakinah a in ready hunah ka la rawn dah ang min lo chhiar sak dawn nia.

Jerusha said...

Aduh - Thanks! Nia, I think it's not possible to go through something like this without ever asking the mandatory 'Why me' question. I think I'm going to keep asking myself that for a while.

virgochhas said...

an extraordinary illness for an extraordinary girl...

get well soon....our love and prayer for you and your family

Anonymous said...

OMG, Jerusha, I can't believe it. Those two cancers are pretty rare, especially for us Mizos. We do see papillary Ca in young ppl sometimes, but to have both! I thought your post was going to end with.. excerpt from so and so. I am so sorry. Will be praying for you and your family. Please contact me when you come home, if there's anything I can do. Take care.Doris

ku2 said...

Wow. No wonder you've been quiet around the blogosphere lately. Things like this make me realise how blessed I am to enjoy relatively good health. Im a lil paranoid cos new freckles and moles are poppin up all over me recently.
My prayers are with ya. And remember, God never deals you a hand which you cant handle.
P.S: Word verification is botoxy. Giggle

Nadu said...

I randomly stumbled across your blog and was stunned to read this post. I have to tell you how much I admire your cheer and good humour in the face of something so scary. I will pray for you, get well soon.

sekibuhchhuak said...

Hotunu, proxy ka hman avangin nimin khan i blog hi para hnihna thleng chiah a in load a, chhiar chhuak lovin ka comment a. I post thu kenpui ber pawh chhiar lovin. Sorry!

Kan tawngtaina-ah Pathian awmpuina, tih chakna leh tidam zelna i dawn theih nan kan lo tawngtaipui thin ang che.

Anonymous said...

Nizanah ka lo tawngtai pui che a. Pathian in a awmpui zel dawn che.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear: but of power, and of love, and of sobriety. 2 Tim 1:7

-bmw

Jerusha said...

Virgo - an extraordinary comment from an extraordinary girl :) Thank you for everything!

Doris - Not sure when I'll be back but will call for sure when I do. I know I seem to get all these rare ones, makes me feel pretty unique hahah

Jerusha said...

Ku - that's why you give God His dues and thank him every day for all your non-cAncerous cells :P And while you're at it, get any new freckles or changing moles checked out by a doctor.

Nadu - thanks for dropping in and the kind words! You'd be surprised how much humor the human soul can muster when there's nothing else to hope for :)

Jerusha said...

Boss Seki - pawi lo re re, ka ring deuh reng ani. Min lo tawngtaipuina zawng zawng ah ka lawm, min lo tanwgtaipui zel dawn nia.

BMW - what beautiful lines! Thank you for that and the prayers.

VaiVa said...

Dam thuai la ziak leh thuai thuai la anih chu a! Lungawi tak khan kal bauh bauh zel mai rawh...

nohiddendepths said...

Here's a nicceee kiss and a hug dahling! Need more? oh, I have lots! *smoochkins* :*

/Ya, wife is OK with it :)

Mos-a said...

And I will regularly stand naked in front of a friend or a family member to check for any new signs of a rouge mole henceforth. Not too bad I think.


ka in volunteer e. send me tickets! :)

nia keipawh ka meizial zu nasa ltk hi ngaih a tha lo deuh a. zuk tlem ka tum... tum .. tum .. tum :(

Anonymous said...

I damsam loh lai hian thei lam ngawt lo sawi ve ila (Pathian zarah i dam leh thuai ang a) I thei hriatchian loh Theiria i post hi Mizo theiria chu a ni lo. Kan rama mi hi chu a hnah bawr zingah hian a rah thin. Theitat/tuaihabet atan i post hi Theitat a ni. Theihai (langra, amrapali,etc) enkawl dante rawn dah thei la a lawmawm ngawt ang maw le.

illusionaire said...

@ Mos: Been there, done that. Bwahahaha... (yeah that was just to cheer Jeru up. Now don't go spreading rumors, that may be true. lolz.)

Jeru, hugzzzzzzzzzzzz. Don't worry, knowing how much of a fighter you are, you'll pull through this one. Will be in constant touch with you and I'm just a few hours bus drive away anyway. Keep updating us dear. Hugz againnnnn....

Anonymous said...

Blog hi ka siam ve a, mahse picture ka dah thiam miah lo. Help ka en a, Image icon atangin kal tur a ti a, ka blogah hian Iamge icon a long ve bok si lo, engtia tih chi nge maw ni aw.

Mama

luliana said...

maybe your nearing 50 :P just kidding :D

Lo dam thuai thuai teh, ka lo tawngtai pui che ania :)

nohiddendepths said...

Mos and Illu, awesome that you guys showed up. We now have two clowns cheer up Jeru. Isn't it Jeru? :D

illusionaire said...

Yup, we are the two clowns at the party, and you my friend, are the official PiƱata. Ready to spice up this party? :D

nohiddendepths said...

Cool! I'll be the pinata. Provided we talk about Jeru's faaavorite subjects - perfect boyfriends, perfect guys, perfumes, shoes and heels and oh, pRon...doh! Can we talk pR0n too? :D

illusionaire said...

So, that's what married guys like to talk about huh? I'll keep that in mind. Feel sorry for you guys, all the action you must be missing. bwahahaha :D

Yeah, see, I can hear Jeru laughing all the way from here :)

Evangeline said...

Contact har triah triah...Anyway, let me know if u need anything..;.Hyd is only one nite from here...Say Hi to u'r mom, sis n the baby...

Jerusha said...

Guys thank you all :-)) I never knew you were so capable of such sweetness. And Jim, 3 clowns not 2 haha

Luliana - hahah maybe but kum khat pawh a kar a a tlak chuan a la hla thawkhat ka ti mai ahha Kum 50 ah hian kan nei ang a cancer hi tun ai ai hian kan phun leh viau si ang tih chu a hlauhawm :)

Jerusha said...

The Vaiva - Mi mut san I ching e mai lungawi tak a kal bauh bauh pawh ka peih lo e! :D

Anonymous - I rawn comment a ka lawm e. haha Theiria kha chu ka hai nasa deuh anih hmel min rawn hrilh sup sup mai. Theihai enkawl dan chu ka hre bau lo, mahse chengkek family ho enkawl dan hi experience chuan ka la hre miah lo na in ka chhiar nasa a ka la rawn ziak ang.

Jerusha said...

Mama - Post ziahna tur text box chung ah khan icon te reuh te te, font te link te awmna ah khan a right lampang ber ami dawt chiah ah khan thlalak icon te pakhat kha a awm tur ania. I hmuh theih loh chuan I comp lam zir loh aniang a. A screenshot I lak theih chuan min lo hmuhtir chhin la ka lo enchhin ang.

Eve - buai chur chur buai chur chur ani tawp. Naute nen, chhuahvah tur tam nen, zan lam hi chu ka lak tlak loh top. In zai ni chu lo zin ve mai mai la :) Next Goa trip kan plan dawn nia.

ruolngulworld said...

Here's hoping for your complete recovery and many more posts. Will keep you in our prayers. 'Fighting' - as the Koreans say :)

keimah said...

Jerusha, i lo cancer tak a ni maw! I dam chhuah leh var var theih nan ka lo tawngtaipui ang che. Tun atanga treatment i lak that zel chuan engmah hlauhthawn tur a awm lo vang. (99% sure chu ti ve lo mai ang!! :) )

Jerusha said...

John & Keimah - thank you!! Min lo tawngtaipui tha ula ka tha hma ani mai :))

Anonymous said...

Like you said, i too believe that God wants to say something through you. . . I too was sick for a long period (not cancer though), away from family, and on medication for about 4 yrs, as my case was rare case, now i am slowly recovering. I too at first question, 'why me, at this age', but now as time goes, i think there is some sort of revelation...you will be alright , you are young and very strong Mizo female, infact i admire you, i am a regular reader of your blog.
You will be alright, my best wishes and prayers are with you.

Take care,
Z

Anonymous said...

Like you said, i too believe that God wants to say something through you. . . I too was sick for a long period (not cancer though), away from family, and on medication for about 4 yrs plus injection everyday in my butt or vein for about 2 and half yrs, as my case was rare case, now i am slowly recovering. I too at first question, 'why me, at this age', but now as time goes, i think there is some sort of revelation...you will be alright , you are young and very strong Mizo female, infact i admire you, i am a regular reader of your blog.
You will be alright, my best wishes and prayers are with you.

Take care,
Z

dean said...

hey there ... My cousin told me how good of a person you are and since I dig good people I'm hoping and praying (you're on my prayer list from now on just so you know) that whenever it is that you'll be coming home I'll get to meet a cancer-free Jerusha .. *hugz*

Jerusha said...

Thank you Dean and Z! Your words mean a lot.