Everything’ll be okay…
Waitin’ on a sunny day…
Hard times baby, well they come to us all
-Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band
“Everything’ll be okay”…that’s exactly what I needed to hear in the fall of 2008 when I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. I listened to Bruce’s music more than ever during that difficult time. It was therapeutic. I needed the Boss to tell me, “everything’ll be okay”. His lyrics really helped me cope with the diagnosis, surgery, and several rounds of radiation.
September 9, 2008- the day of my physical.
While examining my neck, my doctor asks, “does this (a lump) bother you?”
Surprised and so damn clueless, I answer her with…
“Does what bother me?”
She calmly tells me that thyroid issues are extremely common in women.
“There’s a lump. Don’t panic. We need to do some tests.”
My inner thoughts?
WHAT? A LUMP? WTF! I NEVER FELT ANYTHING!
Two days later, I have an ultrasound of my neck. The result of the images led to a biopsy at my local hospital.
FYI- having a needle shot into the middle of your neck without any painkilling drug or any type of relief whatsoever is torture! I’d rather be in labor. And trust me, labor isn’t as bad. I pushed out three kids (and the epidurals didn’t work!)
October 9, 2008- the day that changed my life forever!
The phone rings.
“Hi, Lisa. The doctor needs to meet with you. Can you stop by later today?”
Okay, breathe, stay calm, and don’t freak out!
Drum roll please…
“Lisa, I’m sorry. The lump is malignant. You have thyroid cancer.”
“Hard times, baby well they come to us all”
The hard time is knocking on my door and it’s loud. My head is spinning. Speechless for a brief moment, I stared at my doctor in a state of shock.
Suddenly like an automatic reflex, I kick into journalist mode. I started asking tons of questions. I just kept thinking…I don’t have time for this! I have three kids to raise!
November 10, 2008- the day I undergo Surgery
OMG! Scared is an understatement! I was so paranoid to have surgery. The days leading up to my surgery were filled with what felt like millions of Hail Mary’s and so much Springsteen!
Bruce’s music defines significant moments in my life. It helps me through wonderful highs and serious lows. His music is mood-altering and it’s an escape for me. If I’m pissed off or nervous, the music just brings me to another place. It’s my yoga. Please don’t ask me to relax and not talk…seriously? I’m from Jersey and I’m Italian! Loud and having a big mouth is what I’m all about! And Bruce’s music is so intertwined in my life. His storytelling has the power to lift my spirits and bring an enormous smile to my face.
I didn’t have time to stress. I just needed to get the cancer growing lump out! Thankfully, the surgery went very well. My magnificently talented and experienced surgeon removed my thyroid and several lymph nodes that appeared suspicious for cancer.
Amen! I survived… but since the surgery, my life just hasn’t been the same. Hormone replacement pills every morning for the rest of my life, mood swings from hell, weight gain, radioactive iodine radiation, and yearly scans to name a few. Honestly, I’ll take all of that over cancer spreading inside me any day! I routinely visit an endocrinologist who is a gem! Can you imagine being a physician to thyroid patients who just bitch, bitch, and bitch! Complaint department, next! My endocrinologist is amazing and has the patience of a saint! Oh, and P.S., yes, I’m a cancer survivor now and proud of it! I was blessed with a team of doctors that are rock stars to me. Speaking of rock stars…
Bruce’s “Waiting on a Sunny Day” is what I like to consider my diagnosis song. To me, the sunny day will finally come when there’s a cure for all cancers. So, in the meantime, we’re all “Waitin’ on a Sunny Day”. I cannot listen to the song without thinking about thyroid cancer and how I’m one of the lucky ones thanks to early detection. Along with my family, I have the Boss to thank for inspiring me to have the strength, hope, courage, and will to carry on.