My Terrible Scare

I had a terrible scare … and now that it’s over and I am perfectly fine, I want to share with you three invaluable lessons that I learned in case you ever have to face anything similar.

In early September, I had a needle biopsy of my enlarged thyroid because my doctor was concerned.

The biopsy revealed “suspicious” cells. The doctor who relayed the biopsy report  (at 4:53 p.m. on a Friday) told me that the questionable cells were aggressive and cancerous, and that I needed surgery as soon as possible.

When I frantically began to ask questions, he told me to “Google” the information he’d given me.

When I did, I learned that I had three to five years to live.  For one very long weekend, I cried and buried myself in the arms of my stunned husband, and we tried to take in this news and plan for my departure from the earth.

Then I woke up and took action.

I reached out to the people in my life I trust the most.

By doing so, in short order I obtained the name of a world-class surgeon, who informed me that the situation was not likely as dire as I’d been led to believe; I talked with others who’d had thyroid surgery—more people than I ever imagined; and I made a clear, step-by-step plan to move forward that incorporated holistic care — hypnosis, guided meditation, healing touch.

Twelve days ago, I had the surgery.  The cells in question were benign.  There was a tiny carcinoma buried inside my thyroid, so it was a good thing that it was removed.  Afterward I teased the surgeon that she went looking for the farmer in the haystack and found the needle!

I am not mad at the doctor who gave me the death sentence.  In fact, I am oddly grateful to him.

The scare taught me this:

1.    I am surrounded by an even larger abundance of love, support and expertise than I had realized. All I ever need to do is ask for help.
2.    When receiving difficult medical news, “act swiftly and comprehensively.” (Thank you, Dr. Elvira Lang!)
3.    I plan to honor the clarity that came to me when I thought that my days were numbered and act on those desires now.  (That means that I’ll be going to Paris soon—and Rob promised!)

Bonus lesson: Do not rely solely on Google for your medical diagnosis!

So, in this official week of thanksgiving, I am one deeply grateful woman on fire.  Thrilled to be alive and well.