Thursday, 6 June 2013


I've been carrying around a lot of anger since my cancer diagnosis. It's not like me to sit and stew in anger. I'm more of a flashy quick rage type person.

I think I'm looking at it all wrong. I'm approaching it emotionally. I'm Hillary. I'm 30 years old. I have a toddler and a husband and a mortgage. I'm mad that I have cancer. I'm mad that throughout the entire process of finding out I have cancer I was told that I shouldn't worry because it likely wasn't cancer. 

I wasn't prepared to hear that my wonky thyroid was cancerous. I was blown away by my diagnosis. And it made me mad. 

The people who told me not to worry - the doctors and lab techs and my surgeon and even Dr. Google - they weren't approaching my situation emotionally. They weren't looking at me as Hillary the 30-year old with the toddler and husband and mortgage. They were looking at me as Hillary the thyroid with 5-10% chance of being cancerous. Of course they were telling me not to worry. It would be irresponsible for them to tell all of their patients they could have cancer when 90-95% end up having benign nodules. 

This realization hasn't wiped out my anger completely but it's softened my pointy bits. I'm still approaching my situation emotionally - it would be impossible not to - but I now know that I'm just a number to my medical team. And that's okay. I have family and friends and lovely internet peeps to support me as Hillary the person. I need my medical team to continue to treat me like Hillary the thyroid. And I need to stop being mad at them for doing so.


  1. Being angry in this situation is warranted. I was SO MAD. Sometimes I'm still mad it happened (and scared it will come back). Sadly, our docs can't get overly invested in us patients as much as I do believe many of them care. I want them to care enough to humanize me and whatever amount allows them to be level-headed about their approach to my medical care.

  2. I don't know, I still think it was a leetle irresponsible of them to go on about how unlikely it was that it was cancer. They're doctors, but they're not robots, you know? By which I mean, they have to understand the emotional side of this. If you tell someone it's unlikely that it's cancer, you're going to get their hopes up that it's not cancer. I don't know, I just... I totally understand why you are angry. I would be angry, too.

  3. I think your anger is warranted. If I was in your shoes I'd have a very similar if not the same reaction. I'd be mad, it's a maddening thing when you are told it shouldn't be cancer because the odds are so small and it turns out to be cancer. Be angry, if that's the emotion you feel just feel it. And know that if you ever need to send an angry venting email you have my address. Xo.

  4. You defy the odds. :-)

  5. Hey, if mad is what you need to get through this, then be mad, lady. You have every right. xo

  6. But, you know what? Your medical team shouldn't be in the business of crystal ball reading. You're right, they're scientists and into numbers and facts. And, they should only report the numbers and facts. Period. Sure, they can be empathetic to your concerns and fears, but they should let your family and friends do the cheerleading.

    It's like telling a marathon runner at Mile 20 that they're almost there. Well, yes, technically they are almost there with only 6.2 miles to go compared to the previous 20 miles. But, if you've ever run a marathon, you know that the last 6 miles are the most gruesome and hearing "you're almost there" is a sick joke.

    At any rate, I'm glad to hear you're figuring out a way to process your feelings and coming to terms with them.