October 31st, 2012 by Cherié


Cancer Baggage

Travel will always be my first love…it’s been there for me through awful breakups, deaths of loved ones, through sickness and in health. I’ve had to face some real hard truths abroad, and I’ve also discovered myself through a journey around the world. I could honestly live out of a suitcase for a long period of time, and I have been fortunate to do so. To me it is an escape and yet it grounds me at the same time. 
So when I found out earlier this year, right around my birthday that I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, in my neck.  It was only natural of me to want to pack my bags and just leave. I’ve seen what hospitals can do, what sickness can do to your mind. I didn’t want to bear all of that. I wanted to run to the nearest airport. But… I realized that this was a journey that I had to face, to get my health back on track and get back to what I truly love.
One surgery went by and then a week after that I had to face another thyroidectomy surgery. Despite my weak state from two surgeries back to back- I managed to travel little by little. Small towns and hometowns would have to do. Six months passed when I finally found a new doctor. Since the one back home wasn’t as proactive. Two surgeries when it should have only been one, he also skipped procedures, kept going back and forth between treatments. So I wanted the best of the best, and I found it in Salt Lake City, Utah.  During my endocrinologist appointment he clearly saw the mistakes my previous doctors made. With a discontented sigh, he said to me
“Let’s do a biopsy’ since your previous doctor skipped it- I want to make sure before we go on with the radiation treatment”
I got that sinking feeling again, I knew it was procedure- but yet I couldn’t shake the feeling as I lay in the dark room with the needle in my neck. I didn’t feel a thing, because my mind was racing, I really didn’t want the cancer to come back…
But it did. A week after the appointment, I got the awful news.  It was back. Just like that my life turned upside down again.  The cancer had spread to my chest, there were still more in my neck, not only that they found a mass the size of ½ of a lemon resting on my heart pressing on my blood vessels on  one of my aorta, it wasn’t good. I was completely utterly devastated, and broke down sobbing. I fought so hard this past year, I put everything on hold, my dreams, my goals, everything to beat this disease only to discover that it was creeping up on me again. Exhausted, it seemed as if I lost all hope but I decided right then to leave the following week to Portugal for the annual Travel Blogger Unite Conference.  
So I packed my bags and left. 

  1. You’re one of the bloggers I admire most and reading this post brought tears to my eyes. Good luck and stay strong! I hope you managed to have a good time at TBU despite the diagnosis.

  2. Anonymous says:

    You are beautiful, missy. Heather and I hope to feed you again soon! We’re thinking German, next time you’re in town. Stay strong, you can do this!

  3. You are amazing and I have always admired your perseverance. Nothing ever stood in your way…this won’t either. 🙂 I do adore “who” you are. Your travels your journeys through life. I love being a small part of it. Thank you….

  4. I have goosebumps! You are so unbelievably brave and courageous!!! What an inspiration!

  5. Ian Ord says:

    I feel terrible to say that I didn’t know any of this meeting you in London this past November – and would never have known, as you fill yourself with such positive energy, there’s always a warm glow around you. It’s that kind of energy that will win this fight! Stay strong and always stay positive 🙂

  6. CeCe says:

    Happy and healing vibes your way. I had a lesion that grew on my face this summer while I was on a cruise to Mexico. After months of arguing with doctors I finally got a skin biopsy that showed skin cancer. The week I found out was also the week I lost my grandma to lung cancer (she never smoked a day in her life).

    I had surgery to have it removed, and thankfully it has stayed away. Even post surgery, with a bandage on my face, I still kept traveling. It’s my addiction, my passion, and I wasn’t going to let cancer get in my way.

    I am also a cancer nurse for kids, and have donated my bone marrow to a stranger with cancer. It has been an eye opening experience for me to experience cancer in so many different levels.

    I have seen many children overcome cancer “recurrences” some of them are now married and have kids of their own. You can do this! BEST WISHES TO YOU!

  7. Teresa says:

    Cherie, when I met you at TBU, I had no idea what you were going through. You are truly an inspiration and I look forward to meeting you again soon x

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