Hi my name is Dana and I am a Papillary Thyroid Cancer survivor. I was diagnosed at age 24 and let's just say that getting cancer was certainly not on my to do list in my early twenties. It's safe to say I was absolutely never expecting to get cancer as a young adult - only kids and old people get it right?
Going through my thyroidectomy surgery and multiple rounds of RAI treatment I was really just in a survival mode blur. It wasn’t until after all of that, when I was released back into the wild with this gigantic scar across my neck, that I started to really struggle with my reality.
After my surgery and cancer treatment, that felt like the greatest accomplishment ever, in my head it was like little confetti bombs going off and a huge sign that said "you made it" as I crossed the finish line.... but that was only just the beginning...then it's like - okay bye you made it congratulations, high five, on with your life, you are now being released back into the world! But it left me with the biggest question of all: WHAT NOW? I was left with one big ole scar across my neck. Not to mention living without a Thyroid is harder than it looks....I never really knew what that thing did until it was gone... I hated my scar and I hated what it represented, I tried EVERY SINGLE (true story) scar cream there was and it only left me breaking out in itchy hives. I tried everything, I even contemplated plastic surgery. I was so embarrassed by my scar, it is highly visible and I couldn't shake the thought that I looked like some kind of Frankenstein doll. I could see people looking at it, I even got questions "wow what happened to your neck?!" I wanted to forget about my cancer and the scar was making it impossible.
It wasn't until I met other women who had gone through the same cancer I had that I noticed we all had a similar question we would ask each-other: "What does your scar look like?" I realized I was not the only one who had this insecurity and I began to slowly embrace my scar. I suddenly felt empowered by what my scar meant and the journey that I went through to have that scar on my body. This scar represents me kicking cancer's ass, it represents how strong AF I am and it represents my entire cancer journey that I no longer want to forget - I want to share it to hopefully inspire other young adults with cancer.
My mission with The Butterfly Scar Project is to help empower women AFTER their cancer to help them feel comfortable in their scars. The thyroid is shaped like a butterfly and a butterfly has it's own meaning: A symbol of powerful transformation...so Butterfly Scar Project was born! Life after cancer is hard enough and there is no guide book. Cancer DOES SUCK but YOU DON'T. I hope these necklaces help women to feel powerful, strong and beautiful when they wear them and I hope they can feel empowered by their scars. Wherever you are on your journey know you are not alone.