T hyroid cancer isn’t a big deal. Doctors will tell you that if a person had to choose a type of cancer, thyroid cancer is the one to choose. As someone who works in the medical field, I was well aware of this.

Thyroid disease runs in my family, so it was no surprise when, at age 26, a year after the birth of my second child, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I had been feeling completely exhausted and had to push myself to get through the day. I was placed on levothyroxine, a synthetic thyroid hormone, and within a few months I felt better.

About two years later, I started feeling pain in my throat. I figured that it was either a thyroid issue or reflux, and I asked a physician’s assistant in the office where I work what she thought. “Probably reflux,” she said. She gave me medication for reflux, but the pain continued to get worse. My whole neck began to ache, and I had trouble swallowing. I consulted with a doctor, who said it was probably an inflammation of the thyroid that would take a few weeks to go away, but would heal on its own.

One day, a couple of weeks before Pesach, I was rubbing my throat because of the pain, and I felt a lump. At this point, my doctor sent me for an ultrasound.

“Do you think it’s anything?” I asked her.

“You never know,” she replied, “but I doubt it.”

The ultrasound showed a small, one-centimeter nodule on my thyroid. I went for a biopsy, during which I heard the radiologist ask the technician, “Are there calcifications?”

“Yes,” she replied.

My heart started to race. “Ein od milvado,” I whispered over and over. Calcifications, I knew, are a sign of cancer.

Waiting for the results of the biopsy was agonizing. Each day, I called the doctor’s office, only to be told that the results had not yet arrived. Finally, after a full week of waiting, I got a call from the doctor. The nodule was cancerous.

That phone call came on Thursday. Friday night was Seder night.

I felt as though I had been hit by a truck. But there was no time to digest the news, because I had to finish preparing for Yom Tov and dealing with pressing questions such as how much matzah I was obligated to eat, considering that I could barely swallow.

In the meantime, I took the word “cancer” out of my mind. Thyroid cancer isn’t really cancer, I told myself. It’s just a growth that has to be removed.

I resolved to focus on the positive and be grateful that it was nothing worse. After all, how could I complain when people with other types of cancer had it so much worse? It’s really not a big deal, I told myself. (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 654)