How Believing in Yourself Can Save Your Life

It's the moments when we're forced to face our mortality and question everything we believe in that truly shape us.

By Nicole Hess

July 29, 2013 4:10 PM
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Courtesy of Subject

Jessie Linton

Hometown: Novi, Michigan

Profession: Recent Graduate from the University of Michigan

Disease: Anorexia & Thyroid Cancer

Bio: When she was just 12 years old, Jessie, an avid dancer, developed an eating disorder. At 16, she discovered she had thyroid cancer as she was getting over her anorexia. According to Jessie, "I think that's when I got cancerat the tail end of my eating disorderit helped me put it into perspective. Having something so completely out of my control that could so easily take my life made me wonder, 'Why am I doing this to myself? I totally have the power in this situation.' So, [in a weird way] having cancer helped me get over anorexia."

Jessie first discovered her cancer when the lymph node on the right side of her neck was particularly swollen one day and she decided to go to the doctor. Post biopsy, Jessie found out that it was thyroid material that was sending out cancerous cells, and that her thyroid and "a ton of lymph nodes" had to be removed. Afterwards, Jessie went through radiation using a radioactive iodine, though she confesses that because she was so young, the exact details of how she recovered are a bit hazy. Yet even today, these events affect Jessie's life on a day-to-day basis. For example, she needs to take medication daily, something that has also created a hormonal imbalance which has caused a number of other issues. Still, Jessie is not bitter about her past and even jokingly remarked that the whole situation has "been a hell of a ride."

How It Changed Her: "It's definitely changed how I view myself as just a person, in general. I think I'm a much stronger person than somebody who hasn't gone through this [situation]. Not to say that I'm always comparing myself to people, but I see more value in myself now that I have overcome those things. And it sucks that I couldn't just see that from the start. But since it was forced upon me I realized that I had to do something, and [that something] was just to accept myself."

Why She Wanted to Tell Her Story to Marie Claire: "I see it now as a positive part of my life because I can use what I have learned to help other people with the same problems. I definitely know that I have knowledge to help someone. So I am willing to let people understand me on a deeper level so that I can help them on a deeper level."

Words to Live By: Although Jessie doesn't have a particular quote that she refers to, she did explain that after all she's been through, "I'm going to do whatever I need to do to make myself happy, no matter what."

Twitter Handle: @jesslinton11

Her Advice for Someone Who's Going Through a Similar Situation: "I mean, [the two issues] are very different, that's the thing. But, if I had to give one piece of advice that would [apply] for either it would be [that] you just have to trust yourself and trust that your body is going to do everything it can to keep you alive. You have to do what it says, it's the boss. And sometimes that's scary, but you just have to accept that."

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