Today marks the anniversary of having my cancerous thyroid removed. This day always makes me think about the power of intuition and, how you should trust it.

It’s real.

Maybe because my dad was only 50 when he died, I was able to entertain the idea: I might get cancer, too.

I knew.

Breaking into tears on a run surrounded by girlfriends, a year before my diagnosis. I feared. I had it. Something wasn’t right.

Months passed. But with gentle nagging from my accountability partner, I finally made an appointment. It wasn’t until the end of that meeting, I casually (and reluctantly) mentioned the strange symptoms I had been experiencing.

She ordered the tests.

After a colonoscopy (because of my family history) and an upper scope . . . I was squeaky clean. 

<deep sigh>


Only, the anonymous doc who did the procedure asked in passing, why they were doing this test in the first place? I told him my symptoms. He suggested an ultrasound.

Weeks past.

I eventually called.


Thyroid ultrasound completed. Then, radiology reported nodules. Next, schedule a follow-up with an ENT.

I opted for a needle biopsy. Holy cow. That sucked.

Next, hurry up and wait . . .

The call came. Pupillary Carcinoma.

Perfect. Military orders had taken us 3,000 miles from home, and I had a spouse who would soon be deploying to Afghanistan.

I couldn’t believe it.

“At least it’s curable. A very good cancer to get,” everyone kept saying. I didn’t feel entitled to be scared. Or mad. Or anything.

So, the surgeon took it out. I woke up with an incision across my neck and a secret fear.

I have cancer. I have two kids with special needs. What if . . . ?

What followed was a series of deep lows. I knew I should be grateful every time I traveled to the cancer center; I was the lucky one with the easy one. Others were in wheelchairs, losing their hair and/or emaciated. They were fighting for their lives. And I was not.

So I bottled it.

And now . . .

Here I sit. Years after. Cancer-free.

I am only beginning to digest the gravity of the impact that diagnosis had on me: as a mother and wife. Moreover, how IT changed me.

I had cancer.


At least it was a good one.

Originally published on the author’s blog

Valli Vida Gideons

I am a military bride, who writes about raising kids with cochlear implants, military life, and other things from the heart. Unrelated but not irrelevant... I have a degree in journalism and wrote my first short story in second grade about a walking/talking sponge; I've been an exercise instructor since my teen years (Flashdance sweatshirts, leg warmers and vinyl records to prove it); and may have been an extra on the vintage 90's hit, Beverly Hills 90210 (proof still found on VHS tapes). I got hypothermia in my first marathon at mile 25.5, but went on to kick butt the next six times I toed the line; I use to cut hair on Melrose Ave. in another life; and I am still besties with my two closest pals from elementary school, who encouraged me to share my story. This is my journey. I hope it provides a sliver of inspiration for anyone who is entering or in the midst of a fog. Follow my journey on Facebook and my blog!