Choose You Blog

First Steps to Choose You

May 13th, 2010 by - comments (6)

I will never forget that day.  It was just over a year ago, on April 18, 2009.  It was Saturday and it was raining.  I turned my phone on, and saw I had a voicemail message.  As I listened to the voice on the other end, my heart sunk and I knew. 

My ENT surgeon left a message asking me to call him at his office.  He had the results of my thyroid biopsy. I had suspicious nodules on my thyroid.  Doctors don’t call you at home on a Saturday for good news.  I knew before I talked to him he was going to tell me I had thyroid cancer. 

When the phone call was done, I crawled into bed and cried.  I thought of my two little boys, Ryan and Cole.  How could I have cancer? I exercised.  I ate lots of organic fruits and vegetables. I didn’t smoke.  There was no thyroid cancer history in my family.  And yet, on that rainy Saturday morning, my reality was I had cancer.

Thirteen months later, after a complete thyroidectomy and neck dissection surgery, severe hypothyroidism for months, radioactive iodine treatment (RAI), and thyroid hormone replacement therapy, I have been declared as cancer free as I can be- for now.  The real mark comes at one year after undergoing RAI, which for me will be in August after more tests and body scans are performed. 

I have had a lot of time to reflect on cancer and its aftermath.  Even though I thought I was doing a pretty good job with taking care of my physical health, I have realized I didn’t do a very good job of taking care of my emotional health.

Health is so much more than just eating organic vegetables.  It is a total connection with your mind and body, and making choices that ensures both are being nourished and supported.  I let everything else come before myself.  I let myself slide to the background because I thought as a mom that is what you have to do. I ignored and chose not to deal with a lot of problems that caused me enormous stress and anxiety for years.  And ultimately, this cost me my health for a period of time.

After battling thyroid cancer, and hearing so many stories from readers of my blog, I was honored to be asked to be a part of the Amercian Cancer Society Blogging Advisory Council last November.  When I heard about the Choose You campaign, I loved the idea. 

In September 2009, I started training to run in the 5K Susan Koman Race for the Cure in Denver.  I was hooked. I had never liked running that much, but I had a new appreciation for it after cancer. I am very excited to blog with Choose You as I reach my goal of running in a marathon.  I hope I can accomplish this goal by October. 

I have lived with the results of not choosing myself.  The example I want to set for my sons does not include putting my health on the back burner, and not taking care of me.  It makes me a better mom, and it ensures I stay on top of my health. 

I hope my experience and journey will inspire other busy moms and women.  It is very easy to give excuses, and to tell yourself “I can’t.”  But when you say “I can,”–even if it is going for a walk around the block- that is taking the first step to Choose You.        

Heather is a one-year thyroid cancer survivor, and a single mom to two boys.  She lives near Longmont, CO, and has blogged extensively on her cancer diagnosis, surgery, and recovery at her blog, A Mama’s Blog.  Heather enjoys spending time with her sons (ages 6 and 4), running, cycling, hiking, and gardening.  Heather’s Choose You Fitness Goal is running in a marathon this year.


6 Responses to “First Steps to Choose You”

  1. You’ve had a heck of a year, Heather – but you’ve gone through it with grace and dignity, and I’m so proud to know you. Cheers to being cancer free!

  2. Brandy says:

    You’re awesome Heather! I’m proud to be your friend. <3

  3. jpippert says:

    Nearly one year and a 5K — cheering for you!!! “I can..” amen to that!

  4. Thanks for the comments, and the support. Jpippert: good for you, on the 5K!

  5. Gonna Do It! says:

    hey all – just reported success after my first week on my Choose You commitment – eight weeks to go!

  6. Darryle says:

    Heather, your story is inspiring and I agree about the need to think about overall health, not just physically. I’ll be rooting for you with the 5K and all that you are doing to Choose You. Congratulations.

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