So, I am going to rip off the bandaid right away, just like my doctor did Thursday night when he called me with the full results from my biopsies.

The bad news: I have cancer.

The good news: I have one of the best endocrinologists in the world and will be meeting with a chief endocrine surgeon who is also one of the best in the world and has his hand in every piece of data and research (old and new) relating to cancer and the thyroid.  I am in good hands.

I have seen it stated on the web, largely as quoted from Brooke Burke, that this is a ‘good’ cancer to have.  I disagree.  Yes, the percentage of people who beat it are high – and trust me that I plan on doing everything in my power to be within that high percentage – but it is cancer.  There is no such thing as ‘good cancer’ in my humble opinion.

As my cousin put it this weekend, “There is really only one type of cancer and that is fucking cancer.”

You know I don’t ever swear on this blog, but I think I this is a valid time to redeem my ‘one free pass’ from the swear word patrol.  There really isn’t a replacement word available in this case.

My main emotion is still shock.  Even though I suppose the fear and anxiety I felt during the past two months of tests probably stemmed (sometimes subconsciously, sometimes in the forefront of my mind) from worry that this could be the final discovery, I didn’t really think this would be the outcome.  As I prepared for each new test, my family reminded me to stay positive and the doctors told me how unlikely it was that they would find cancer.  How very, very unlikely.

At the end I finally let myself fully believe everyone.  I had tried to act positive throughout, but there was always a seed of fear, based on the unknown.  By the end, I wasn’t acting anymore.  I truly believed that the fact that there were so many nodules (cancer is more commonly found when there is only one nodule), I felt healthy, that the incidence of malignant nodules in general was so low, that the people conducting the biopsies said the preliminary examination of the nodule material looked benign, all meant I really was fine.  I unclenched my jaw, relaxed my shoulder blades and stopped stuffing cookies and sticks of butter in my face.   All was well.  When the following Wednesday came around and I still hadn’t received a phone call from my doctor, I knew everything was fine.  The letter telling me so must already be in the mail.

Giant sigh of relief.

And then the phone rang with an unknown number while I was with a client Thursday evening.  Something told me to answer it (even though many of you know I don’t actually believe in answering my phone pretty much, meh…ever) and my stomach dropped when I heard who it was.  He told me to finish with my client and that he would call back in about 20 minutes.  After managing to finish up our session, I rushed outside toward the subway, ducking into a brightly lit orange and green cafe just outside of the subway entrance.  I understand Murphy’s Law very well and was quite certain he would call back the moment I was underground on the subway, so I sat on a stool, sipping on a Coke and watching New York pass by.  In a random twist called fate, God or chance, depending on in what you believe, my parents were visiting for about 48 hours, so I called to tell them I would be a little late and to please kiss the boys goodnight for me.

After almost an hour, he called.  He did exactly as I did above:  I have your biopsy results.  The bad news is, you have cancer.

Oh, hi to you, too!

I actually don’t blame him.  He took time with me where it was important: In his office, looking over test results, assigning appropriate new tests, not stopping until he got to the bottom of what was going on.  I am so thankful.

But his delivery was…well, humorous, actually.

The rest is all nitty gritty, really.  I have a consultation set up next Wednesday with the surgeon.  We will then set up a time for him to remove my thyroid and give me a lovely scar that allows for all sorts of fun “He had a knife…in a dark alley…but you should see the other guy…”  story scenarios.  Surgery should let us know the stage of the cancer, based on if it has spread or not, and whether or not further treatment is necessary.

Obviously, I am hoping that once they open up my neck they discover that the cancer is truly very localized and that my full treatment is the surgery.

But to be honest, I am trying to let myself feel the fear of knowing that isn’t the only possible outcome.  Yes, there is only a small chance that it has spread, but guess what?  There was only a small, small chance that it was actually cancer also.   I can’t really handle allowing myself to be cradled in the safety of  ‘Of course you are fine!’ and then sideswiped with ‘Okay, not totally fine’ again.  I really can’t.

So, I am going to be cautiously hopeful.

Also?  It’s my body and my life.  It’s my two kids I need to kiss and hug every day for at least 16 more years.   It’s my husband that is being strong but who I know would be devastated to lose me.  I am the one who heard ‘You have cancer.’ as a 31-year-old mom.

I own those aspects of it and I plan on feeling whatever fear, sadness, anger and confusion that I feel connected to those things.

But please understand that none of that means that I plan on moping or focusing on the negative feelings.  I will use positivity as the medicine I know it can be, I will be as strong as I know I can be, and I sure as Hell plan on fighting.

My mom told me to pick a bathrobe that she can get me for my hospital stint.  While I ended up choosing a beautiful peacock robe, this one was a very close second:

Bring it on.

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28 Responses to Curveball

  1. I said it before and I’ll say it again-Cancer. Fucking. Sucks. This whole thing blows and I hate that it’s happening to you. I love you tons sister-let’s slap this bitch.

  2. Carly says:

    I also hate that this is happening to you! Please let me know if you need anything, playdates, wine, grocery trips to stinky Brooklyn. Anything.

  3. Anne says:

    I cannot believe how brave you are to share this news in such a public way.
    Thinking of you . I know you will ace this surgery:-)

  4. Integrator says:


  5. Mr. Will says:

    The Church Street folks (KPM, Caroline and I) are pulling for you. If I was the cancer, I wouldn’t want to be in the ring with you even if you had 16 oz. gloves.

  6. DJ Julia,
    Um…you’re kind of giving it away that I may cuss (or at least hang with cussers) more than I let on with this blog.
    But yes, there will be slapping.
    😉 xo

  7. Carly,
    Oh, you’re so sweet. I’ll email you my list for Stinky Brooklyn. There are only about 43 items. Oh, and they are out of the smaller jars of Luxardo cherries, so just grab the larger case for $230 – it’s not a problem. 😉

    Seriously, thank you for offering support. xo

  8. Anne,

    Thank you. Yes, I am trusting my neck to a very well-trained surgeon and am sure he will do good work!
    As far as sharing publicly, it’s all I really know how to do. While I do sometimes feel nervous as I hit ‘post’ after writing something, mostly it feels good to talk openly about my truths…especially when I hear from others that they are going through similar trials or situations.
    I think sometimes just knowing you aren’t alone can be more soothing than anything! Or I’m hoping that’s true for others, too, anyway! 😉
    Thank you so much for commenting and supporting me. (And my parents)

  9. Mr. Will,
    Hehe. I’m that scary, eh? Well, GOOD! 😉

    Thank you. Love you guys. xo

  10. Zoë says:

    I think your family and friends have been trying to stay positive and ignore/avoid the “what if it has spread” aspect of this because they literally cannot imagine life without you. Neither can I! Your kids, family, and friends need you a lot more than 16 years.

    Best of luck to you, Annie. I agree that looking at this thing with your eyes open to all possibilities makes you better poised to handle–with your typical courage and aplomb– whatever comes your way.

  11. I wish I had something wise and/or witty to say to you. I am sending positive vibes our way. And if you ever need to just vent about it, you got my number. I am here for you. xoxo

  12. Jess says:

    Annie! I don’t really have anything to say that hasn’t been said. Just know that I’ll be thinking of you and hoping for nothing but the best results for you and your family!

  13. DarleneMAM says:

    Damn, damn and triple damn. I am so very sorry your diagnosis is cancer. I’m in your corner. Please keep us posted.

  14. Monica says:

    Girl you are going to kick this cancer BS in its ass, I know it!

  15. Penny says:

    (I knew it would not be long before I became a bad influence, inspiring swear-words and such!) I greatly respect your willingness and ability to experience this life-changer as it happens. We know you are strong and we will embrace the statistics and optimism. You are living it, though, and I’m glad you’re calling it like it is.

  16. Ruth V. says:

    New reader here. Just wanted to let you know that I’ll be thinking of you and your family while you fight cancer – hoping you will beat the crap out of it!

  17. Zoe,
    You always seem to know the *exact* right thing to say.
    Perhaps because you are always flattering me? Yeah, I like that. 😉

    Seriously, thank you for being so supportive. xo

  18. Darlene,

    Thank you. Yes, I think five ‘damns’ pretty much sums it up. :/

  19. Monica,

    I think that is the first time I’ve heard you use ‘girl’ in that way, so you must REALLY mean business…and I am thankful for that! Thank you, seriously. xo

  20. Penny,

    Yes, you have just been a terrible, terrible influence! 😉 You said some things I really needed to hear this weekend and I SO appreciate it. I am honored to have your respect in any respect. Respect.

    Thank you so much. XO (Yup, all caps.)

  21. Ruth V,

    So happy to have you here. Thank you for commenting and being supportive! 🙂

  22. Allison Ouellette says:

    You are awesome and I admire you for your positive attitude – it is sure to help you along the way and during your recovery, it will also help others to hear your story and what you have been going through. Thank you so much for sharing, I am thinking about you and sending you happy thoughts. (and yes, you totally deserved the ice cream the other night – had to laugh at that one!!!)

  23. Allison –

    Thank you so much for those kind words and for taking the time to comment on here. That means a lot. I am trying to stay positive and definitely hope that it helps throughout everything. The support from everyone is also helping!

    And yes, that ice cream didn’t stand a chance. 😉

  24. Shannon says:

    Well. Damn it. You were already brave, brilliant and determined before you got this news- you are going to have all of that plus the love of so many supporting you as you go through this journey. When I say prayers, good thoughts, all of the above are coming your way, I mean it. X and O are going to learn Ms. Annie’s name because you are going to be mentioned out loud nightly.

  25. Shannon –
    Thank you so much for the compliments, love, support, thoughts and prayers. Seriously, thank you so much.

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