the strong friend
Over the last week, my inboxes and messages and texts have increased signifigantly.
In the wake of the two very high profile suicides being reported, one of which being a person known as very near and dear to my heart, a simple image has been circulating among my circles and channels.
And the check-ins have been coming. Which are humbling and deeply appreciated, for sure -- as a suicide survivor as well as someone who has been vocal about the ways in which mental health has been the complicated undercurrent of my existence, knowing that people think of me in times of unexpected loss as the "strong" one is a way of being seen and acknowledged that I do not take for granted.
Which is why I know it is now time for me to be more transparent about an ongoing issue in my life which I have kept fairly hidden from my online world.
This past February, I became unexpectedly severely ill and spent two days in the hospital. From that, I was diagnosed with Graves' Disease, a form of hyperthyroidism, which shed some light upon the extreme exhaustion, rapid weight loss, and confounding mental fog I've been soldiering through over the last year plus. Upon further investigation, it has been confirmed that I have stage one papillary thyroid cancer.
It is the most common form of thyroid cancer, typically occurring in women before age 45, and has a nearly 98% survival rate. I am currently undergoing radiation therapy to hopefully address the issue as least invasively as possible.
It has made this summer semester a living hell. It has sabotaged my internship with my department at my university, and it is wrecking my already tempestuous stomach and tenuous ability to sleep, as well as compounding my stress levels to the point of adrenal fatigue.
I will fight this. I've already dealt with cervical cancer in my 20s and then had babies I was never supposed to be able carry. I am navigating my endometriosis as any mid-30s mother can with a thyroid throwing hormone levels to hell and back. My diabetes is hanging in as it does and is the next thing on the list to be addressed once I get my body back to as functional as it ever gets. My therapist and I are staying on top of it all and I am forever grateful for her presence. Sure, I am tired -- exhausted, truly -- and life doesn't appear to be letting up any time soon.
But I'm still here. I'm still fighting.
I'm still strong.
It's what I know to be.
And I appreciate every single person who has taken the time to check in with me while I weather these storms, knowing fully of my situation(s) or just knowing that sometimes, it's the strong ones who struggle most of all. Thank you for being my village.