Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Life is AMAZING at how fast things shift, shimmy and change.  AMAZING.

On St. Patty's Day, I randomly caught myself swallowing in the mirror.  How often does ANYONE ever watch themselves swallow??  Apparently I do, for some reason.  And I saw a big LUMP move right next to my Adam's Apple.

I thought maybe it was something I'd always had at first, seeing as I am not a frequent watcher in the mirror of my own swallowing.

My Mom was in town, so I checked her neck.  Then checked my husbands.  They did not have the same special lump.

Well humdiggidy.  I knew immediately it was going to be cancer.  It made everything snap together with clarity, all of a sudden.  I've been exhausted for months and feeling just left of center.  I've gone through a lot of changes with getting married, having my own business, etc. etc., so I always thought the exhaustion was due to life changes.  Not so, said the gigantic lump.

I've since discovered that Doctors will suddenly have openings in their offices the minute you say:  "I am hoping to get in as soon as possible, I have a golf ball sized lump coming out of my throat."  They will MAKE the time to see you.  And thank God!  

Speaking of which, thank GOD I have health insurance for the first time in over four years, thanks to my hubby having insurance.  But that's a whole other Oprah.

Back to the lump.

The General Practitioner fella took a blood test, etc. and referred me to an Endocrinologist who took another blood test and performed a biopsy.

Lemme tell ya about a thyroid biopsy.  IT HURTS LIKE HELL.

Holy crap.  Thank God my rockstar friend, Maria Fagan, drove me to that little gem.  The doc put a "numbing agent" on my neck before jabbing me with 9 needles.  After several applications of the numbing sauce, it finally kicked in around needle jab number 7.  I was sweating profusely and just focused on breathing (thank you, Yoga Shelter) my way through it.  I had to take a water break after jab number 3 or 4.  It's no joke.  

It took me a couple hours before I felt like I could see straight again.

I knew it was probably nothing compared to what I was likely facing.

I still don't know WHAT exactly I'm facing.  I know I have to schedule a surgery, have the whole thyroid removed and swallow radioactive iodine that will either turn me into the Incredible Hulkette or maybe just burn the last of the cancer cells that the surgeon might miss.  

I'm not the least excited about any of it, truth be told.  I know I'm going to go through some hell before it gets sweet again.  I've also been, as all humans do at this moment, reflecting on life.

Anyone who sees my Facebook posts knows that I tend to lean towards being positive and ass kicking in my perceptions of life.  It's all true, that's me at my core.

What a lot of people DO NOT know, is that all of that positivity hoo hah comes from going through a lot of my own darkness.  How can anyone talk about living in the light and understand how precious life is who hasn't been abandoned in the dark without a torch or without losing people who are more dear to them than breathing?  

There's a reason I can be so sympathetic to other people's plights.  I have been through hell and back around again.  More than once.  

I have experienced more loss than anyone I know at my age who hasn't been through a war or some other high body count traumatic event.  It's insane, the number of amazing humans that are no longer in my physical life.  And it started young, with a very dear and special friend of mine taking her own life when I was 13.  13!  I have students who are that age and younger and I look at them and all the innocent light they carry in their spirits and it's astonishing to realize I had that light too and how fast it went away when I was hit with such a loss.

Even with amazing parents who were there for me, through thick and thin, I was just a mess.

The point is, I didn't handle loss well.  Every hit I took when someone skidaddled off to Heaven marked me heavily.  And I had zero coping skills other than being a fabulously self destructive human.  

I realize, looking over my years on this earth, that I have lived a lot of them... well, like a DUMBASS.  Not that I have regret, but I have clarity.  I wasted a lot of time in self loathing, in anger, in rage, in sadness and in mourning.    That's no way to live!  Not for any of us.  

I'd always believed in a God of some sort.  Over time, my "God" stuff got sorted out and got stronger.  And suddenly I was having a lot more faith.  True and simple FAITH.  Mix that strengthening faith with going to the Yoga Shelter and learning to be kind to myself and mix that with being fed up with unhealthy relationships both in the dating world and friendship world... And out came a girl who started to love herself.  And started to see her own self worth.  The most flabbergasting thing is, the self worth and self love didn't necessarily come FROM an external source, but was inspired by the external and then sunk well into my internal self. 

I am writing this in the hopes that other people will take a look at their lives and either go HELL YEAH or Hold on, I don't love myself and I want to.  Something.  Anything.  I've really only had my life on a solid and healthy track for almost 4 years.  It's been the greatest four years of my life as far as growing, stretching, learning, laughing and loving is concerned.  And I can't wait to see what the future holds.

We choose how we perceive our own lives.  None of us are victims.  Shit happens.  It just does.  If it didn't, life would be dull and without challenge.  

I will not be a victim of cancer.  

Even though this is allegedly the most treatable and curable cancer to have, I absolutely refuse to be a victim to any of it.  

This is a reminder to keep loving myself, to keep laughing, to keep loving others and to keep walking the walk of someone my living family, deceased family and friends, living friends... To have them be proud of me for handling the biggest health crisis I've ever faced with grace and humor instead of fear and victimhood.

Let's pay our lives forward, gals and guys.  We're all in this together.  Misery or victory?  We choose.


Michelle Tomlinson

I snagged this off someone's Facebook--can't remember whose, so if it's YOU, thank you!  :)


  1. You will take this cancer, kick its ass and move on... you aren't the Mighty McT without a serious reason... cancer picked the wrong girl to mess with.

  2. Hi Michelle,

    So sorry to learn this news and I just wanted you to know that you are in my prayers.

  3. You are beautiful and inspiring, and you have so much strength and poise... I believe you will get through this with that same inner strength you wrote about. And you are in my thoughts and prayers.

  4. Stunned.
    And then glad to know you and your strength.
    You are forever in my heart; a piece of me.

  5. You are a rock star Michelle, and I love you! I will be praying for your faith and peace to not only endure, but strengthen and grow as you go through this trial. You will get through it, I just know it. Your love for life and others is infectious, and your understanding of what it means to go through darkness and come out on the other side is inspiring. Hang in there, don't be afraid to ask for help, and know that you are loved. You got this. :)

  6. Please know Michelle that you are such a great inspiration in my life. More often than not your words of wisdom and love are exactly what I need to hear in the moment that I read them. You have always been someone to look up to, a fantastic role model, and this new challenge only strengthens that. I am keeping you in my prayers, to heal you and keep you safe with us down here on the mortal plane. Thank you for all that you do.

  7. If anyone can beat it you can . Just reading your posts i know you are a beautiful person and my hopes and prayers are with you but i know in my heart you will give it the kicking it deserves x

  8. You have been an inspiration to me. Let others be the same to you now. You are in my thoughts and prayers girl. You are truly awesome.

  9. in a lot of my simulations of having lived different lives (i have lived a lot of sh**y lives but some good ones too..have been horrible in most and a saint in some too) .. in a lot of the crummy i live, whether i be a boy or grrl, by the time i hit 44 or so..I hate My Job..i have no friends..but somewhere in all of that i lose my childhood resentment..its about the same time i start to believe in God..there is a lot of comfort in knowing an omnipotent force loves me {us} .. without that i know i would never have the faith to enjoy my life .. anyway .. maybe a little off subject .. not trying to take the spotlight off ya .. Amen, McT!

  10. You are AWESOME, Michelle, and I love you.

  11. this cancer has NOTHING on you- it has met its match- it has no idea what it means to be "MT'd" - love ya- and prayers are yours just the same

  12. Just heard about your diagnosis from Kevin Tenney's FB page. So sorry to hear about it. I so admire your view on all of this, Michelle. And God is indeed there for you holding you in His healing hands, even now. You inspire me and I will be praying for you!

  13. I love you. You are so full of love and light and contain a rare beauty that is astonishing for this world. You've already won. And that's THAT.

  14. Sending you love and kindness and have no doubt in your ability to beat this..

  15. Brooke Burke Charvet (cohost of Dancing With The Stars) just went through that sort of felgercarb, and seems to be doing fine. I think you will, too... you have too ornery an attitude not to. (This *is* a compliment.)

  16. A huge, huge thank you and much gratitude for all of your prayers and kind words in these comments, gals and guys. Much peace to all of you.