I seriously thought it was a goiter in my neck. Since it didn’t hurt I didn’t go to the doctor right away… ok, for a long time. I wanted to google “goiter” before I called and made an appointment but, didn’t seem to find the time.

Then it started getting larger fast, too fast. That did it, I’ll go to the Minute Clinic at CVS and get a cream or prescription or whatever and be done with it. The nurse practitioner took one look and said to see a doctor. I was in and out in less than 5 minutes. No paper work- just go. I asked her if it was a goiter and her only reply: “go to the doctor”. So I went home and googled goiter. I figured out enough to know it wasn’t a goiter… made an appointment.

I got in to see my doctor right away. Apparently saying you: “have a big bump” growing out your neck can get some action. My GP basically took one look and sent me over to the ENT doc. All I got out of my doctor was that it was likely an enlarged lymph node.

The ENT doc. did a basic exam and then said he wanted to do a biopsy right then and there. I was starting to get a bit worried. I wanted to know what they were looking for, what they thought it was and the doctor evaded the question. He never said cancer.

Of course this was all happening a few days before Christmas. My test results would not be back right away. Although my doctor was evasive my google findings were cause for worry.

That was one stressful Christmas. Distracted. Self-absorbed.

But, I had been going though a period of deep depression. Somewhere between being concerned about the outcome of the tests and the worse case scenario it occurred to me: “If I die it will mean I wouldn’t have to think about suicide”. It is strange though. Being in control of your own death is different than a disease or someone else taking your life. Having it out of your control, even if it is the outcome you think you want, doesn’t let you change your mind on the good days, on the days you are not depressed.

When I got the news that it was Thyroid Cancer and there was an effective treatment my emotions went haywire. Fear, disappointment, depression, relief… I was in flux from tears to calm in a matter in minutes.

My biggest worry was leaving behind my kids. Sometimes I believed they were better off without me. When I was more rational I knew I had to be around for my boys. This one thought caused me serious sadness, not depression– sadness. It messed with my head.

Surgery and radiation treatment worked. My stage 4 advanced level cancer was in solid remission. It is 7 years later, so I am definitely cured.

I am still at odds with having been cured. Some days I am disappointed. I thought nature was answering my deepest need to be dead. It was what was needed. When I go for an annual blood test to make sure the cancer has not returned, there is always a tiny spark of hope that it has… that something besides myself will take me out because it is more noble than offing myself. But, at some point I become relieved.

At some point I realize I want to be alive.