By Fonzy Mendoza
‘To all of the superb ThyCa warriors on the market, be your individual advocate—be your individual hero.’
The yr 2018 was a great one for me. I felt that my skilled and private life was fulfilling greater than ever: I had a secure job as an occasions supervisor in one of many main accommodations within the Philippines, I used to be blessed with very supportive colleagues, many new alternatives have been coming, I received to carry out (sing) as soon as once more on the aspect. And, to high that every one off, my physique was in one of the best form it had ever been!
Life was candy, certainly, and there was nothing extra in my life at that second that I might hope for.
I didn’t know, nonetheless, that issues would take a grim flip that very same yr.
‘I felt a lump’
In October 2018, I used to be backstage making ready for a present. Whereas I used to be busy placing on some make-up, I felt a lump on the appropriate aspect of my neck. I assumed it was only a regular lump as a result of a minor chilly I had. So, I simply shrugged it off and let it go, pondering it will finally be gone in every week or two.
A few months later, I observed that the lump nonetheless hadn’t gone away. Now, round this time, it received me pondering that in all probability one thing is perhaps mistaken. Even when I used to be not feeling any bodily ache at that second, I made a decision to hunt medical recommendation—simply to be protected.
In December of that yr, I made a decision to see a specialist every week earlier than Christmas. It was only a bodily examination of my lump, however he then requested me to do some blood work, together with a neck scan. Thankfully, I obtained the end result that very same day and had him verify the findings. Nothing alarming from my blood examination as all ranges are properly inside an ideal vary. The scan, nonetheless, confirmed a number of nodules—round 5 to be actual—on the appropriate a part of my thyroid. He additionally discovered that I had a swollen lymph node on my neck’s proper aspect, the precise spot the place I observed my lump earlier.
That signaled him to run additional exams on me to appropriately diagnose my scenario and supply me correct therapy. He then later inquired about my household’s medical historical past on any sure thyroid issues. I then advised him that two of my aunts from my mother’s aspect of the household had thyroid most cancers (Papillary), and in reality, my mother was due for a neck operation for her goiter. He continued to elucidate the check to be carried out, which was FNAB or “Wonderful Needle Aspiration,” to find out the nodules on my thyroid. He additionally talked about in passing completely different issues similar to hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, and thyroid most cancers. With a reassuring tone, he advised me that nodules are primarily benign by nature.
With none hesitation, I booked a check in a hospital. Nonetheless, as there have been no accessible slots and with most docs on depart for the vacations, I made a decision to ebook the earliest schedule—the primary week of January in 2019.
Throughout that interval, I made a decision to do a little bit of analysis. Like most individuals, Google and WebMD turned my mates for that transient second. As you’ve guessed, I’ve learn terrifying tales concerning individuals’s numerous well being battles, which led me to cease, taking the minimal data I wanted. In any other case, my nervousness would begin to pile up.
I made a decision to maintain it to myself first, not till I get a confirmative end result. I might simply lay low on any well being fear and simply hope for some excellent news.
‘Every part turned a blur’
The start of the yr was in all probability essentially the most tense I’ve ever felt in all my life. Laying in entrance of me was the envelope with the end result. I couldn’t get myself to tear it open and face what was inside. In some way, I might sense that my instinct was telling me one thing. There was no different means however to maneuver ahead. I took a deep breath, opened the letter, and in a single fast look, the phrases “Suspicious for Papillary Carcinoma” greeted me entrance and heart.
After that, cliché as it could sound, every thing turned a blur. I felt as if the entire world shut down earlier than my very eyes—one thing I solely thought occurred within the films.
I couldn’t hear something.
I felt numb.
I began to ask myself: “What is occurring?” “Why me?” “Will I nonetheless stay?”
The candy life that I assumed I’d tasted instantly left me with a bitter aftertaste—I’ve the Massive C.
Listening to the phrase most cancers could also be bodily and mentally paralyzing. It’s plain that most cancers has instilled nothing however worry in us. Fairly frankly, the very first thing I considered was imminent dying.
After some time, I took a deep breath and sorted my recreation plan. Time was of the essence at this level. There was no time for drama and, like a gladiator primed for battle, I charged on with nothing however sheer braveness and dedication. I needed to win this battle—not only for my household, however most particularly for myself.
In lower than a month, I met a military of docs: ENT specialists, oncologists, pulmonologists, and endocrinologists from the highest hospitals in Metro Manila. All of them stated I ought to have my operation carried out soonest whereas it was at its early stage. A few of them even advised me that thyroid most cancers is a “good most cancers.” The prognosis of this sort is promising. I keep in mind one physician telling me that statistically, persons are extra more likely to die from getting struck by lightning or a automotive accident than from this illness.
In February, what began as “suspicious” turned a multifocal papillary thyroid most cancers with a follicular variant. I didn’t waste time. I had a full thyroidectomy with partial neck dissection for the metastasis to my neck lymph nodes. Following the surgical procedure, I had a 120 mci radioactive iodine therapy (RAI) just a few months later, which I used to be once more hospitalized for every week because of the results of the medication. Proper now, I’m celebrating my second life and hoping for an entire “remission” soonest.
What’s thyroid most cancers?
Thyroid most cancers is extra widespread in girls and, to some extent, it’s misunderstood as feminine most cancers. In keeping with research, thyroid cancers (like virtually all ailments of the thyroid) happen about 3 times extra typically in girls than in males.
The thyroid is a significant gland of the endocrine system. It produces a thyroid hormone known as thyroxine. Its operate contains regulating physique temperature and metabolism, sustaining skeletal maturation, and controlling protein, fats, and carbohydrates. However the challenges male sufferers come throughout are usually not as properly thorough, understood, and even supported.
There are 4 kinds of thyroid most cancers. In keeping with Mayoclinic.org:
Papillary thyroid most cancers. The commonest type of thyroid most cancers, papillary thyroid most cancers arises from follicular cells, which produce and retailer thyroid hormones. Papillary thyroid most cancers can happen at any age, however it most frequently impacts individuals ages 30 to 50. Docs typically check with papillary thyroid most cancers and follicular thyroid most cancers collectively as differentiated thyroid most cancers.
Follicular thyroid most cancers. It additionally arises from the follicular cells of the thyroid. It normally impacts individuals older than age 50. Hurthle cell most cancers is a uncommon and probably extra aggressive sort of follicular thyroid most cancers. I’ve learn in some articles that Papillary and Follicular thyroid most cancers is “curable” with no less than a 98 p.c treatment charge if caught early and handled adequately.
Anaplastic thyroid most cancers. Anaplastic thyroid most cancers is a uncommon sort of thyroid most cancers that begins within the follicular cells. It grows quickly and may be very tough to deal with. Anaplastic thyroid most cancers usually happens in adults age 60 and older.
Medullary thyroid most cancers. This type of most cancers begins in thyroid cells known as C cells, which produce the hormone calcitonin. Elevated ranges of calcitonin within the blood can point out medullary thyroid most cancers at a really early stage. Particular genetic syndromes enhance the danger of medullary thyroid most cancers, though this genetic hyperlink is rare.
I wish to begin by encouraging everybody to take away the stigma connected to the phrase “most cancers” and do our greatest to coach ourselves and others about it. There’s a lot you may be taught from this journey the way in which that I did.
The largest lesson I discovered is that I spotted the internal warrior inside me all this time. I stunned myself, realizing that I used to be able to this energy in dealing with any adversity arising from this case. In spite of everything, you have to be sturdy first for your self. In any other case, you may by no means be actually sturdy for anyone else.
I will likely be mendacity to myself if I don’t admit that I feared dying upon listening to that I had it. However as I accepted my destiny, it was my household, psychological and emotional well being, doable remedies, and the standard of life that I used to be most involved about post-surgery. However being identified with any sort of most cancers would require your bravery, to start with, that can assist you by way of this journey. You must also arm your self with religion, prayers, and acceptance for the challenges you’ll face head-on.
The following lesson I’ve discovered to comprehend is the worth of real relationships in these attempting occasions.
We now have to face the fact that having most cancers will alter your relationships with individuals—both they stick with you and your bond grows stronger for good, or they are going to finally abandon you. This example made me understand who my true mates are, those that by no means left my aspect throughout this lowest level of my life. Two of them have been Raymond and most particularly Marlo, my pricey greatest good friend, who has been my rock till now, encouraging and cheering me on as I confronted each trial in my life—notably this one.
Disappointments will come and positively will likely be part of it, however by way of this, you’ll higher perceive easy methods to worth individuals extra, even the small moments in life that we’ve typically taken without any consideration.
Lastly, my ultimate realizations embrace how a lot most cancers is a monetary, psychological, and bodily burden. Whereas I think about myself a stable and resilient particular person, beginning this journey was by no means straightforward. I used to be nonetheless grappling with my new life, particularly as an advocate for my very own wants and therapy—issues that I wasn’t prepared for, nor do I believe anybody can be. You simply have to take a deep breath and brace your self for what’s to come back.
To all of the superb ThyCa warriors on the market, be your individual advocate. Be your individual hero.
Throughout your appointments, write down questions prior. Ask your well being supplier questions that actually concern you, no have to rush issues. Forgetfulness is a part of the problem, so it’s higher to have a great reference sooner or later. It’s good to deliver a good friend or member of the family with you to make sure another person can also be listening to the solutions. It’s a lot better to have somebody who has unbiased ideas and be an individual who can share some queries together with your docs, too.
Study to be affected person as your physique will bear a big change. It would take time to steadiness the precise quantity of hormone substitute your physique would wish.
Buckle up: It’s a little bit of a bumpy experience forward. However simply calm down and be in the meanwhile.
It’s regular to really feel down sooner or later as you modify to your new life. Don’t let your nervousness and despair get the higher of you. Having somebody to speak to about your feelings throughout this life-changing journey can assist ease the ache.
We now have numerous means to seek out assist. I’ve discovered mine at Thyroid Most cancers Assist Group on Fb and met many superb mates worldwide. Particular point out to Emily Baltazar Cordera, Philip Roxby, Greg Sable, Bilna Dalisay, and the late Martha, who has been there supporting me all the time. We’re all con-neck-ted to one another, in spite of everything, as we are saying. As well as, you have to construct your individual battalion, your medical workforce and other people near you can be your warriors on this battle.
Lastly, by no means lose hope. Dwell life to the fullest! My religion has revived me, giving me a renewed sense of goal. After I was on the OR throughout my surgical procedure, I used to be so scared and deep inside me, I haven’t solely accepted that I’m now on this scenario, however I wanted to.
I simply closed my eyes and prayed, and that was one thing actually unbelievable. That prayer took me to a unique realm, and I felt the divine grace of the Holy Spirit, who gave me energy throughout that point. I felt God’s presence, and it was certainly unbelievable.
Throughout these occasions of uncertainty, as we navigate ourselves by way of this case, might we keep in mind absolutely the presence of God.
In all of your troubles, God is all the time shut that we are able to hear His divine whisper in our hearts. Let’s hear fastidiously and open ourselves to seeing the lesson in each scenario that we’re in.
Religion is the important thing to make sure in life, and love is the first proof of our religion.
Concerning the creator
Fonzy Mendoza, 38 years of age, is an occasion director, speaker, entrepreneur, and entertainer. His decade-long skilled expertise in hospitality administration has led him to work as an occasions supervisor on the EDSA Shangri-La, Manila, certainly one of Metro Manila’s premier luxurious accommodations. Additionally, at Metropolis of Desires Manila, a luxurious built-in resort and on line casino complicated, as a part of its pre-launching workforce and as an assistant supervisor of Sights, Occasions, and Leisure Division. Moreover, he has additionally labored for Venetian Macau as an entertainer and supervisor of the inventive division. He has supported the Sands Cotai Central in Macau throughout its pre-opening.
Rising up with sheer expertise and fervour for the performing arts, Fonzy is a scholarship recipient from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York and on the College of Santo Tomas, the place he earned his Bachelors of Music diploma. He additionally beforehand sang with the world-renowned and two-time Choir of the World champion, the UST Singers. He served because the Choir’s president, the place he additionally traveled extensively and competed in essentially the most prestigious competitions in Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
Born a real chief and achiever even at a younger age, he has served as a Board Member and Director of the San Beda Faculty Excessive Faculty Batch 2001 and obtained the 2011 College of Santo Tomas Benavides Scholarship Award bestowed to the college’s brightest students. Fonzy presently serves because the inventive director and CEO of his firm, High Hat Leisure & Occasions.
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