After almost five years of feeling lost and having the desire to express my views on thyroid cancer, I finally stumbled on the term “ghost butterfly”. Since my teenage years, I’ve had a fascination and love for butterflies which was unexplainable. I received my first tattoo at around age 20, which was none other than a petite pink solitary butterfly that I proudly displayed on my left shoulder blade. Through the years, my dear butterfly signified beauty and freedom. During my 30th year on this earth, my butterfly came to signify something deeper. In December of 2011, I had surgery for the removal of what I thought was a benign goiter on one side of my thyroid. About two weeks later after the new year in 2012, my lab results showed that the benign goiter was actually cancerous. I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, the follicular carcinoma version. Immediately following was the removal of the remainder of my thyroid, months of tests, treatments, hormone replacements and a struggle to find my new “normal”. Now during this 4th year, sans thyroid, I’ve finally decided to convey my thoughts and see how many people share the same struggles I have, with this less mentioned, often disregarded type of cancer. The stereotypical “good cancer” as it is often referred to. LAUGH and SIGH. The term “ghost butterfly” came to me a few months ago when I was trying to figure out how I best feel about my situation; logically I know I no longer have my thyroid and my body knows it too, but my heart still feels an attachment to this little butterfly shaped organ which is no longer present. A ghost butterfly. All that is left is a slightly visible scar on the front of my neck which I thank God for. With it, I am reminded every time I look into the mirror not to settle for less and to try (at least) make each day count. But it’s so hard most of the time. Especially when I feel like something is missing and I cannot quite put my finger on it. Am I the only one who feels this way?
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, two years ago I retouched my tattoo and had it completely filled in with black ink. I also added six more butterflies so she wouldn’t be alone.