LINDA RYAN shares her amazing story about both thyroid and cervical cancers. She had considered herself the model of perfect health.
She is active with www.mestrong.com; Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Florida; and an ardent supporter and organizer to raise awareness about thyroid and gynecologic cancers.
At the age of 34, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer,
eighteen months later I was diagnosed with cervical cancer,
and seven years after that I was found to have recurrent cervical cancer.
When my cervical cancer recurred I was in the best shape of my life and I had just run the San Diego Marathon (26.2 miles). It came as both a shock and something I had expected to happen, as most survivors often do. It was in the back of my mind that one day my cancer would return.
The lump was in a strange place. The good news was that I felt stronger than ever both physically and mentally.
At first the doctors thought that my thyroid cancer was back. The treatment was a radical neck dissection and my research told me that I needed to see Dr. Clayman at MD Anderson in Houston. The week before I was scheduled to fly to Houston to see him, I found some lymph nodes in my groin area that were not consistent with thyroid cancer.
At that point, things became more urgent and my case was transferred to Gynecology. After determining that my cervical cancer was back with a vengeance, having spread to my lymph nodes, I participated in a clinical trial at MD Anderson. I flew from my home in Florida to Houston every 3 weeks for chemotherapy. The day after chemo I flew home to recover and get stronger so I could handle another round of chemo.
Because I felt strongly that exercising helped prepare me to fight cancer head on I continued to exercise as much as possible during my treatment. I ran, went to the gym, and did Pilates. Exercise was good for my mental health as much as my physical health.
While going through chemotherapy treatments I ran two half marathons and several 5ks. My finishing times were not important; my ability to be out there was important to me.
I tried to not let cancer or my treatments control me, I maintained control of my life. Chemo knocked me down every round but I got up and lived my life. I felt that cancer would gain strength as it took things away from me, so I prayed, I exercised, and I lived my life the way I did before I was diagnosed refusing to give cancer any power over me.
After eight grueling rounds of chemotherapy my doctor gave me the wonderful news that there was no evidence of disease in my body.
My friends and I continue the mission of the charity we started as we battle cancer with health, laughter, and friendship.
**PLEASE like https://www.facebook.com/mestronglinda
**SUPPORT Linda at www.mestrong.com
My thanks to Linda for her willingness to share her story. Cervical cancer is on the decrease and thyroid cancer is on the rise. Cancer can affect any one of us at any time...even when we think we are healthy.