Rhinos and Milestones


I’m a bit of a stickler for Cancerversaries. I’m not being morbid, quite the opposite, I think that every milestone reached is something to be celebrated and something to be grateful for. Plus, although I never need any encouragement to have a knees up, I like to have some value added purpose to my party!

We’ve already planned a little weekend away to celebrate 2.5 years without a thyroid and I was so busy looking forward to that milestone,  I realised I had totally overlooked another!

It’s 3 years ago this month that I got my first diagnosis and almost three years to the day since I had my first surgery. Wowzers! Time has gone fast. The second diagnosis was so much more serious and totally overshadowed the first.

However, in a bizarre way, the first diagnosis and surgery was like a trial run for “Cancer the sequel.” I had a teeny tiny malignant  nodule on my thyroid which I called “Adam,” only because  it was like a real life Adam’s apple, only smaller. Also, the name Adam sounded a lot more palatable than calling it Cancer. I had surgery to remove the nodule and the clever Prof kept my thyroid in tact.  It prepared me  mentally and physically for what was to come, in round two. In those early days, we laid good foundations; we  hooked up with the prof, were aided and abetted by his super secretary, Geraldine and I got a crash course in thyroid surgery. Everything was in place.

Of course, the second diagnosis was like a big kick in the nuts and sure, there was some fear about the recurrence of the Cancer and what it entailed,  but it felt so good that all other variables were known. From my doctor to my neck exercises, I’d done it all before. It was all strangely familiar. If I’d done it once, I could do it again.

That’s why in the weirdest way I’ll always be a little pleased that I got the first diagnosis. It broke me in gently.

Ever since I first went in to the Prof’s office, I’ve been mesmerised by his rhino collection. I never knew the reason for  his penchant for rhinos but I did know that one day, I would add something to that collection. The least I owe this man is a rhino.

Me and the Prof

I’ve been looking for years. 3 years, in fact! Finally, I spotted this guy, last weekend. The search was over!


I popped over to the  office bearing  rhino for the Prof and fudge for Geraldine, who finally revealed the secret behind the Prof’s penchant for rhinos. It’s all because the parathyroid gland was first discovered in the Indian Rhino, way back in 1852 which I’d say makes the rhino VES (Very Endocrinologically Significant.) You really do learn something new every day!


I got a  thank you  letter from the Prof  today which said that my rhino, and I quote,  “will join the collection of rhinoceros models” in his office. Now I’ve given the Prof a parting gift, I feel that I’ve finally arrived.

I gave him a rhino. He gave me the gift of  a healthy life. And for that I’ll always be grateful.