Like most cancers, mine began with uneasiness too. This was of the thyroid. Now thyroid nodules are common and malignancies extremely rare. Doctors were confident that I had nothing to worry about. However, the biopsy reports suggested otherwise and I was diagnosed with a rare cancer called Hurthle Thyroid Cancer.
The Mayhem Surgeries Brought
During the first surgery, the doctor accidentally touched my vocal glands. As a result, I couldn’t speak for days and croaked often. I cannot speak at length even today as my voice grows tired; I cannot sing at all. The second surgery damaged my secondary thyroid glands. I went into Rigor Mortis – a chemical reaction that happens to dead bodies. The muscles begin to die and the heart stops. I was saved in the nick of time. It happened because I went into a calcium shock and my body stopped producing it.
Treating and Overcoming Thyroid Cancer
Treatment for this cancer is also extremely different. I was locked up in a room and given a radioactive pill in order to mark the spread of cancer in my body. This one time I was asked to carefully consume a bottle of radioactive iodine and strictly instructed that it should not spill. Overwhelmed with everything, I spilled a little on the table and my doctor scolded me for it. It was the only time I cried. Simply put, I was as radioactive as Chernobyl. My clothes, sanitary napkins, everything was disposed of separately. I was locked up in a thick walled room.
Passing on the Light of Hope
It has been 11 years since I was diagnosed. I now work with an NGO called Cope with Cancer which is associated with Tata Memorial Hospital. I work closely with post op breast cancer patients and counsel individuals with lung cancer. Since my body doesn’t produce calcium anymore, I am on pills, without those, I could die. I am highly asthmatic and take scans at random times to check my body.
Cancer can happen to anyone, but the human spirit is the best gift from nature. It is challenging, but not impossible to come out. There’s a reason why I made it and that is to help others cope with the disease. That’s my life’s purpose. Overcoming thyroid cancer has been hard, but I am not backing out ever.
You may also like to read Kris Pereira: Expressing Depression Through Poetry