It’s been 8 years… 8 years since my last surgery. 8 years since I lost the last half of my thyroid. 8 years of waking up to a pill on my nightstand every morning. 8 years of life looking different. 8 years of deciding to live differently.
I remember returning to college after taking 2 years off, and traveling across the country to finish. I remember calling my dad the week before Summer break with a scratchy throat and my usual semi-annual sinus infection, and him begging me to go to the doctor. I didn’t. However, my dad did wake me up the day after I flew home with an announcement that he had made a doctor’s appointment for me and we were leaving in 30 minutes. I have never been more thankful for my dad than in that moment of forcefulness… Of course I went to the doctor kicking and screaming on the inside… it was just a sinus infection! It would go away in another week. I would be fine…
The doctor gave me a full physical and when his hands felt the lymph nodes in my throat he discovered something else… a golf ball sized lump on my thyroid. I was instantly a complete mess. I knew what it was… I just knew. That Summer wasn’t full of beach trips, a part time job and time with friends… it was full of doctor’s appointments, poking, ultrasounds and 2 surgeries. But I was going back to school… come hell or high water, I was going to finish this time. And I did.
I went through radiation over Thanksgiving break, then again over Spring Break… and somewhere in the middle of all of that Ryan and I started dating, got engaged, I made the dean’s list and graduated the following Spring Magna Cum Laude with a 3.87% GPA, and received a clean bill of health. It was a miracle. A miracle that was aided by a college staff that understood, friends that stood by me, and family that all helped me through every step of the way.
I had to choose to forgive God. Forgive God? Yeah… even though He’s perfect and can do no wrong… I had to choose to forgive and let it go. If I hadn’t made those choices I think I’d still be that angry girl standing in the corner stomping her feet with her arms crossed… because inside that was exactly who I was, and how I felt.
We all get our hearts broken, go through hardship, have friends that die too soon, car accidents that severely injure, lose good jobs and on and on and on… but I think in the aftermath we have the opportunity to choose whether we let those unfortunate incidents become wounds or scars… wounds that we carry around with us for the rest of our lives, or scars that mark what happened but that we choose to live and grow beyond.
My scar may be ugly… and it may have been followed by a rapid scarf addiction… but it’s mine. And it’s a constant reminder that although I went through something tough, I survived. I survived. *exhale*