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Madison Bishop: Cancer Survivor

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Utah chapter.

For Madison Kristina Bishop, the 2014-2015 school year will be one to remember. She went from being an enthusiast for art and music and a sophomore in college with big dreams, to being faced with a diagnoses that came as a surprise. After pushing off getting a check up for a couple months, she went in to her doctor where she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Now, Madison is cancer free and encourages other collegiette’s to always put themselves first when it comes to health.

Her Campus (HC):  When were you diagnosed and when were you officially cancer free?

Madison Bishop (MB):  I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer on October 9, 2014. In November, I had a thyroidectomy to remove the thyroid, the five tumors, and three of the four parathyroids (the parathyroids are located on top of the thyroid gland in the neck and regulate the body’s calcium). Finally, in April of this year I underwent a radioactive iodine treatment to eliminate the remaining cancer cells. As of April 9th, I have been cancer free! 

HC:  What was your reaction to the diagnoses?

MB:  I was more concerned with my diagnosis of hypothyroidism, an under-active thyroid, in September 2014. According to the hormones released by my thyroid, I had a thyroid disease for at least two years. 

HC:  How does having an under-active thyroid affect someone?

MB:  This is one of the diseases that alters your chemical balances because the hormones released by the thyroid aren’t either being received or put to use by the brain. Surprisingly, I was very grateful for the diagnosis. It explained all of the changes I was experiencing. At the time of the diagnoses, I was being treated for severe depression, anxiety, and sleep disorder; some of the symptoms of hypothyroidism. I was also experiencing memory loss, weight gain, and hair loss.

HC:  What gave you faith that you could beat the diseases?

MB:  The cancer was physically exhausting, but the thyroid disease was emotionally exhausting and to me, that was the hardest part. The only real hope I had came from the diagnoses and it was that I finally knew that the person I had been for the past few years wasn’t truly me.

HC:  What’s your advice to those who have friends that have cancer or a type of serious illness?

MB:  Love and attention go a long way, but everyone needs time to themselves and there is a grieving period that every patient has to work through. Be helpful, but not condescending, they’ve got this. Most importantly though, there is no space in the recovery room for pity. 

HC:  How has having cancer changed you?

MB:  The thing about any illness, cancer, mental illness, other physical maladies, is that the illness is not truly you. Your body is not only under attack but also your psyche. This experience is immensely valuable to me because I now know what I am and what I am not. The difficulty though is to stay motivated while I transition into the long lost “healthy Madison” from the more recent “sick Madison”.

HC:  Any future plans now that you are cancer free?

MB:  I am grateful to be cancer free, but even more interested in resuming an emotionally stable life.  I’m excited to again pick up the things that once made me happy and find the people who are interested in a meaningful life.

Julianne serves in the role of Community Development Associate, directly working with chapters and expansion. She graduated from the University of Utah in 2018 with a triple major in Political Science, Film & Media Art, and Communications with minors in Health and Theater. Julianne served as a Campus Correspondent for Utah for 3 years, as a Chapter Advisor for 2 years, a Campus Expansion Assistant for 2 years, and as a High School Ambassador Advisor. New to Boston, Julianne can't wait to eat as much seafood as was deprived of her after living in the mountains for most of her life. In her spare time, she loves to ski, watch an unreasonable amount of movies, and write!
Her Campus Utah Chapter Contributor