No Cancer is Good Cancer

11 Feb

In honor of World Health Organization’s “World Cancer Day” this month, we invited guest blogger Christine to share her story with us.  Christine was diagnosed with thyroid cancer a year and a half ago, when her kids were only 2 and 4.  The pain of her illness and various treatments has often left her in dire need of childcare.  Wanting to help others in her situation, Christine founded Babysitting for Kindness, a nonprofit organization that pairs up volunteer babysitters with families in need.  If you would like to volunteer, or if yours is a family in need, please visit their website at www.babysittingforkindness.org.

For more information on thyroid cancer, visit the Thyroid Cancer Survivor’s Association website at www.thyca.org.

People often say thyroid cancer is the “best” kind of cancer to have because it won’t kill you.  I can tell you personally thyroid cancer hurts.  Surgeries hurt.  Thyroid cancer spreads.  This means more surgeries.  Radiation is no walk in the park.  Thyroid cancer patients often do multiple rounds of radiation.  Many doctors are going by a playbook written forty years ago before diet coke and fertilizers consumed our population.

Today’s thyroid cancer is the one cancer that is on the rise with more diagnosis and more severity of symptoms.  Every cancer is unique to the individual that it is found within, and you can speak with any oncologist and they will tell you that even the “best” kind of cancer can kill you.

Don’t be complacent, and trust your body!  If you think you have a symptom, get it checked out.  The cost you pay in the long run is certainly dearer than the price of the doctor’s visit.

RESPECT YOUR INTUITION – You know your own body.  Listen to it!

I spent a year weak and at some points bedridden because of a doctor’s misdiagnosis and medication that caused me to lose almost all of my muscle mass.  I knew the problem was in my neck.  I had classic hyperthyroid symptoms including weight loss, weakness, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and twitching.  I kept telling the doctors that my thyroid was getting bigger, and I was getting progressively worse.

In October, when the symptoms disrupted my ability to care for my kids, I went to an ENT who declared that I had Lyme disease and dosed me with medication that tripled the intensity of all of my symptoms.  He even said that other doctors wouldn’t understand.  When I went to doctors seeking “second” opinions – call it complacence or just plain malpractice – they didn’t see what was glaringly obvious to the doctors I saw later at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.  (I had one neurologist who said my chart was so odd that he submitted my records to Mayo Clinic.)

I try not to gender stereotype and the aforementioned neurologist clearly isn’t implicated here, but while I was written off by five male doctors in DFW, three women physicians at Mayo Clinic saw my cancer poking through the skin and the misdiagnosis written in my blood work.  Of course ultrasound and biopsies followed to confirm.  I must say Mayo Clinic is one of a kind.  No wonder people seek it out from all over the world.  I had my cancer diagnosis within twelve hours of my plane landing, and surgery scheduled for two weeks later.  If you are ill, you can submit your case yourself at www.mayoclinic.com.

BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD!

I could barely climb stairs, and all the while I was trying to maintain normalcy as I crawled after my rowdy children, aged two and four, who were bouncing off the walls.  Thank goodness for television.  I didn’t want my kids to become couch potatoes, but when I could hardly chase after them, it was in some sense a lifesaver.

Being at home was by far easier than where I spent most of 2010 with my kids – in doctors’ offices.  I kept wishing I had a babysitter to watch them while I went to doctor after doctor trying to figure out what was wrong.  (Playing hide n seek in a doctor’s office only holds water for about five minutes; although, playing hide n seek with a small toy bought me about thirty minutes.)

Keep in mind I was seeing specialists, so the wait time was often several hours.  I wanted/needed/prayed for a person to babysit.  We were already leaning on our family and friends for support, but it only put a small dent in our big need.  As soon as I began to get my strength back, I knew I had to be this support for others.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?  BABYSIT FOR KINDNESS – http://www.babysittingforkindness.org

We are doing our best to build and share a culture of kindness.  Plus, it’s totally fun!!  Parents with cancer NEED support.  Kids need it, too!  Something as simple as playing peek-a-boo, tag, or monopoly can make a kid’s week.

We are developing a solid volunteer base in the metroplex as we begin to reach out to local cancer support groups.  If you are willing to babysit for kindness, please email us at babysittingforkindness@gmail.com.  Please include “Volunteer” in the subject line, and let us know what information you would like us to pass along to a family in need as well as your Name and Zip Code.  A family in need will contact you and let you know more about their children, their location, and the time(s) that they would be grateful for your help.  Volunteer as much or as little as you want.

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.” – Mother Theresa

“If you wish for peace, give peace to another.” – Dalai Lama

“If you have much, give your wealth; if you have little, give your heart.” – Arab Proverb

“It’s a gift to be kind.” – Shaker Song

Babysit for Kindness Today!

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One Response to “No Cancer is Good Cancer”

  1. Lisa February 12, 2011 at 1:40 am #

    Thank you, Christine, for sharing your journey this with us. I read this with my jaw dangling and I’m sending this to a (female) friend doing her oncology residency at the Mayo Clinic’s hospital (branch?) in Phoenix. It should be mandatory reading for doctors of all stripes-and both genders. Seriously scary stuff.

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