Me? The big ‘C’?


Thanksgiving is tomorrow.


It’s hard to believe we’re almost done with 2021.

And I’m ready to see it go.

I have a story I’d like to share that a few private friends already know about.

It’s something that has indirectly affected my life on numerous occasions, but I never thought it would happen to me.

I have cancer.

During the late spring I felt lethargic, went on eating binges, had emotional days for various reasons, slept at odd times during the day and spent all night watching TV.

I thought it might be depression.

Then I visited my doctor for a routine physical and bloodwork.

My life quickly changed days later.

I had an ultrasound done on my thyroids. Large nodules had appeared on the right side.  I immediately thought it might be a goiter, but also realized my doctor never felt any kind of lump in my throat.

Two weeks later, Aug. 4, I had a needle biopsy done.

It took about 15 days to get the result and my stomach nearly sank to my knees when I was told “you have cancer.” Tears filled my eyes and I could feel an anxiety attack coming on, so I took a deep breath.

“Are you sure?” I asked the doctor.

“It’s a 70% probability, but if you want a second opinion, I can send you to Chapel Hill,” he said.


The big “C.”

My brother died from colon cancer at 47.

Seven years later, I’m given this news.

Full of despair and my head spinning in a million different directions, I failed to completely hear everything my doctor told me. We scheduled another appointment to further discuss the matter and he asked I bring a relative since my immediate family is gone.

We met again after Labor Day.

Thyroid cancer is common. It comes in three forms, according to different people I’ve spoken to since I’ve been diagnosed. It’s non-fatal and non-aggressive, which means the survival rate is 99.9%.

I had surgery Sept. 20 to remove the tumor and right thyroid.

My second surgery to remove the left thyroid is Dec. 6.

A radiation pill and a couple of “isolation” days may or may not be in my future.

However, I have been assured that I will survive this latest obstacle in my life and continue to live.

I’m thankful for a proactive doctor.

I’m thankful for my friends who have taken my phone calls, listened to my fears and added me to prayer lists at their respective churches.

Most of all, I’m thankful for the most three influential people in my life – my late parents and brother – who taught me love, courage and strength. They are my heart, spirit and soul; something that will never be taken away from me.

Rudy Coggins is assistant editor of the Mount Olive Tribune. You can reach him at


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