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Thyroid Cancer Survivor Says Today Is A Gift

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Bishop - Thyroid Cancer Survivor
“There will come a time in life when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.”

Bishop was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in May 2018. She has successfully defeated her disease.

The Diagnosis

“May 2018 I was diagnosed after my biopsy results came back as suspicious. I had no symptoms, it was honestly a miracle when a good friend of mine noticed the lump on the right side of my throat as I was sitting across from her at dinner one night.”

The Journey

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“In early April I was diagnosed with a non-infiltrating yet aggressive type of Thyroid Cancer. I was living in Brazil at the time, volunteering for a project near and dear to my heart. The Rosemary Dream project creates and runs programs year-round to help people from all over the world maximize their full potential and live more meaningful lives. Although I was helping others do this, I don’t think I truly grasped the concept of what living a more meaningful life entailed until this diagnosis.

Going through this process I feel extremely grateful, knowing how much worse it could have been. The day I got on the plane from Brazil I had no idea what was in store for me, how long the process was going to be, the size or type of cancer, or if it had spread to my lymph nodes. I had to surrender to whatever was in store for me and accept that this time I was not in control. And just like that, the present moment began to hold more meaning for me than it ever had before.

It was a miracle that we even found it as it was appearing as a rather small lump on the right side of my throat. Although it appeared small, it was taking up about 90% of the right side of my thyroid. I was told I had two options, to have surgery and get half of my thyroid taken out or a full thyroidectomy. Naturally, there was a bit of hesitation on removing the entire organ but the doctor advised that I remove all of it due to the size and the fact that if it did come back it would not be as simple as this time around.

Fast forward a few weeks later, and the surgery was a success! Despite the rather depressing testimonies on the American Cancer Society Board, the recovery was smooth. As I researched I found more and more about how patient’s metabolisms suffered, they experienced weight gain, fell into extreme depression, and overall just never felt themselves again. As I cried in my mom’s bed two days after surgery I made a decision to never look at that website again, and that I would make the best out of whatever was in store for me. Sure enough, it took a few days for me to move my neck again normally, and a couple of weeks to get my usual energy levels back, and some days I felt as if my body was floating; however, overall I felt positive. I ended up not needing radiation for now and will be considered “cancer free” after 5 years. Every few months my doctor will check my tumor markers and check ultrasounds to make sure it hasn’t come back. Luckily, I was simply left with a tiny little scar at the base of my neck; but took away a rather large medical bill as a souvenir.

I don’t know whether or not I believe in coincidences but I do believe life is always giving us exactly what we need for the evolution of our consciousness. And how do we do know this is the experience we need? Because it’s the experience we are having at this very moment. It’s a bit strange that it took cancer for me to come back and begin listening to myself again. However, I realize now with clarity and a full heart that I can do absolutely anything and not even cancer can stop me from living my best life. ”

Motivation to fight cancer

“Honestly I never felt like I was truly “fighting” cancer. Being diagnosed with cancer really shook me in a way where I didn’t need to look for any motivation outside of myself to “fight”. It left me with complete acceptance and understanding that this time I wasn’t in control. No matter how much time I had left or whatever my life was going to look like after the treatment I just wanted to live it to the fullest because Cancer gave me the perspective of how truly fleeting life can be. Today is a gift which is why we call it the present.”

Biggest hindrance

“I struggled mostly with not feeling quite like myself immediately after the surgery. I usually feel full of energy and my friends often tell me I’m one of the most enthusiastic people they know. I even have a tattoo of the word Enthusiasm. However, the month after surgery I wasn’t feeling energized or enthusiastic about much at all, especially after researching and reading all of the negative testimonials on life after a thyroidectomy.

It took time for me to return back to my usual energy levels but none the less through this I learned to be even kinder and more understanding with myself. My body needed me on its side as it recovered.”

Message to other cancer patients

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“Our bodies are constantly communicating with us and this is a GOOD thing because it means our bodies WORK. They are miraculous machines and when something like cancer gets thrown at you it can be quite easy to identify with it and become consumed by what is currently not working with the body. However, even with cancer, there is so much more that is working properly in our bodies that aren’t and to keep this perspective I think is really important.

Although some cancers are genetic and some we really don’t know where they come from or why they surface, I find it more beneficial to continue asking what does this experience have to show me and trust that life is always giving us exactly what we need. Be kind to yourself and be your own best advocate on this journey.”

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