Yesterday I saw the surgeon who took my thyroid out.

I saw him the day after the surgery and he told me that everything looked good; there had been no sign of cancer. This was a non-issue to me. I’d had nodules on my thyroid for about 15 years so the idea of cancer seemed unlikely and the endocrinologist said there was only about a 12% chance of cancer from the cells she saw, so cancer wasn’t my worry at all.

Yesterday I found out that there was cancer in my thyroid after all.

At first, I thought, wow, isn’t that interesting. The surgeon said that it was pretty much taken care of. That’s what you do with thyroid cancer. You take the thyroid out, and we had, so, therefore, it’s done. However, he wanted to talk to my endocrinologist to see if there was anything she wanted to do in the way of further treatment. He asked me to wait while he called her. He said she might want me to take radioactive iodine.

I sat alone in the exam room and tried on the label, “Cancer Survivor.” It just didn’t feel like it belonged to me.

The endocrinologist said she’d call me so I left and called my husband. He was upset and wondered where we go from here. I wasn’t worried or even concerned. To be honest, I was more amused. How funny. I had cancer and I didn’t even know it until it was over.

I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t even upset. It didn’t even seem like it mattered.

Then I got home from getting the Boy from school and there was a message from the endocrinologist’s office. They want to see me this afternoon.

Okay, that seemed like it might be a little more urgent than I would have expected.

I looked up radioactive iodine and while it’s pretty much a safe treatment with virtually no complications, it would require me to be isolated, at home, from people for about five days. This doesn’t sound like fun and it got me to thinking about all this.

I had cancer.

It’s kinda scary now that it’s set in.

However, I don’t think I want to identify myself as a cancer survivor.

My brother called and said, “You’re a cancer survivor and a transplant survivor. I’m going to send you Gloria Gaynor’s CD.”

I thanked him and said please don’t.

I don’t want to identify myself with my illnesses or my health issues. I’ve never been the kind of person to focus on the medical issues I have. I have my life and those things are just bumps in the road. Yes, I’ve had a transplant and I guess now I have to say I’ve had cancer, but I want to identify myself as a Catholic Mom and Wife and a romance and fantasy author.

How do you identify yourself?