Coping Together: Robyn’s Story
When Robyn Kunsman was first diagnosed with thyroid cancer, she was devastated. “I cried and cried,” she said. “I also looked on the internet to learn more about thyroid cancer. There was so much information. It was overwhelming.”
After finding out about the Cancer Support Community, Robyn decided to visit for a newcomer orientation in January 2008. She joined a thyroid cancer support group, where she was able to share her concerns, fears, and questions. “The first time I went to the support group, I felt like a new kid at school,” Robyn shared. “But everyone was great. We stayed connected through emails and Facebook. I was able to email my questions and have them answered.”
Robyn’s cancer treatment involved the removal of her thyroid gland. “First, the doctor removed one side. He did lab work, and then decided to remove the other side one month later.”
Having survived thyroid cancer, Robyn continued to come to the Cancer Support Community where she could share her feelings and offer support to fellow group members. “The size of the group would change from time to time,” she said. “People would come and go and come back again. But there always seemed to be a core group of about seven who were always there.”
In August 2012, after a gynecological exam, Robyn’s doctor suggested that she have an MRI. Since she and her husband planned to visit one of their daughters in California, Robyn decided to wait until she returned from their trip.
In November, she visited the doctor. Once again she received devastating news. “Robyn,” the doctor began, “you have stage three ovarian cancer.”
Potentially facing 18 rounds of chemotherapy, Robyn once again turned to the Cancer Support Community. “It was really a difficult time,” Robyn said. “Sometimes, I would leave my support group crying, ‘I don’t want to have cancer!’”
Meanwhile, Robyn’s lab work was sent to Johns Hopkins Medical Center to confirm her diagnosis. Two weeks passed, and then her doctor called to deliver an unbelievable message. “Robyn,” he announced, “you DON’T have cancer.”
In shock, Robyn and her husband went to the doctor’s office to see the test results for themselves.
Naturally, she was thrilled with this news. “But in the back of my mind I thought, ‘What if I had gone through chemotherapy?’ I think about all of the healthy cells that could have been destroyed.” Every three months, she has lab work done. “Today I feel okay,” she said.
When she thinks about the Cancer Support Community, Robyn notes, “The support groups work because we’re getting and giving valuable information. It’s because it is from our experiences.
“This place is wonderful. Here, you are embraced. The whole atmosphere speaks to you: ‘you’re here, you have cancer, and we’re here to help.’ I don’t feel like I have a terrible disease,” she continued. “Just a chronic condition to keep under control. I am my own little warrior.”