Welcome Leanne! – No Longer One In A Million!

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Lacuna Loft is excited to continue introducing some guest bloggers!  These great folks represent a variety of perspectives on the myriad of topics covered here at Lacuna Loft.  Before everyone starts really getting into the nitty-gritty of all they have to say, we wanted to introduce them a bit.  Without further ado, here is Leanne!

“You’re literally one in a million.” That was what my doctors told me, when I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer at age thirteen. My terrible odds were due to several factors: my young age; the aggressiveness of the cancer; the relatively low rate of thyroid cancer at the time (though it’s now one of the few cancers on the rise in the United States). I liked to think “one in a million” also referred to my amazing personality, but my family was good at dispelling any ego I might have had over that!

I fought for four years, through multiple surgeries, radioactive iodine treatments (a treatment unique to thyroid cancer) and the process of stabilizing my thyroid hormone dosage. At seventeen, I was given a clean bill of health, and I’m happy to say I’ve been cancer-free for fifteen years, though there has been the occasional lymph node scare, and the fluctuation of thyroid medication is never-ending.

Since I was a teenager when all of this happened, I didn’t process the experience as well as I might have done as an adult. I’ve spent the last several years thinking and feeling through it all, and one of the things I’ve learned is that I don’t want to be “one in a million” in any sense. Those odds are much too isolating; I want to be part of the cancer fighter and survivor community. I’m excited to be here at Lacuna Loft, where I can get to know the amazing “cancer club” here, as well as members of other long-term illness “clubs.”

Speaking of other long-term illness, my life has recently been touched by chronic Lyme disease, which my sister and mother have both battled over the past few years. In addition, my best friend, the one who sat at my bedside after every surgery, contracted breast cancer last year. Long-term illness is a big part of my and my family’s lives, a fact I’ve accepted but not necessarily embraced.

One thing I’ve learned is that I can process all of these life challenges through writing. I have my own blog, Words From the Sowul, where I think deep and search for meaning in life (some might say “philosophize”) from a cancer survivor’s perspective. I’m also currently writing a book about living life with a cancer survivor’s/fighter’s perspective, which Mallory (Lacuna Loft’s proprietress) has graciously agreed to be a part of. If any other cancer survivors are interested in sharing stories of positive life gains associated with cancer, please contact me at leannesowul@gmail.com.

Thank you for welcoming me into the Lacuna Loft community! I look forward to getting to know you all!