October 31st, 2012 by Cherié
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.