In honor of Beverly Pilcik
By Millie Diaz
Beverly Pilcik dealt with difficulty when Gus, her husband, went through open-heart surgery in September of 2015, but it seemed to prepare her for the months ahead as she nursed Gus back to health. In November Beverly was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and it was a double whammy because she’d just lost her mother-in-law the day before.
“I went to the doctor for a normal checkup a few weeks before, and he felt my neck and found a lump, a nodule,” she said. “They gave me a biopsy and said it was thyroid cancer. My husband almost broke down, but he’s been there beside me for everything.”
Within a month Beverly was at MD Anderson in Houston and had surgery on Dec. 18. Doctors told her she was only in the first stage of the cancer so they only took out the right side and left the left side in.
“What’s funny is I didn’t experience any symptoms until after they took my right thyroid out. I started to become forgetful and unable to concentrate, but they’ve put me on medicine since then, Synthroid, and it keeps my levels even now.”
Beverly has a tiny scar on her neck, and it’s a scar on top of a scar. You see, Beverly had a neck surgery five years prior because of a herniated disk. She now has a metal plate in her neck.
“After surgery I had to drain my throat, it was awful. But after three or four weeks and a lot of liquids, because the surgery gives you a sore throat, I was healed and was able to go back to work.”
Beverly’s diagnosis brought her family together in a new way, and they banded together, even though her parents are divorced and married to new spouses.
Dorothy Kirby, Beverly’s mother, said she learned so much about her daughter’s strength and disposition through the process. “Though Beverly was worried and scared, she didn’t let it get to her, she stayed strong. Plus, she was taking care of other people too, her husband and her dad. Beverly didn’t let her fears get the best of her,” Dorothy said. “She never complained, and I think this confirmed her faith in God.”
“I learned not to take anything for granted, because you don’t know when anything might happen to you,” Beverly said. “Now I go for checkups once a year and continue to take my medicine.”
Beverly works at McDonald’s as a cashier, and she always has a big smile on her face. Gus is retired, but worked for the highway department for 37 years. They have a daughter, Katherine, who lives in Caldwell, and Beverly has one grandchild, an eight-month grandson named Aidan Zuniga, who is the light of her life.
“My daughter sends me pictures everyday,” she beamed. “I love it.”
Beverly has been on the Relay for Life Committee for years, and this year she’s proud to be on the Purple Passion for a Cure team.
“A lot of people think when you have thyroid cancer it’s a ‘good’ one because it’s easy to cure --and it is because they remove your thyroid, but I don’t know if everyone realizes your thyroid controls almost everything in your body, and when they take your thyroid out it messes everything up,” Beverly said. “So if someone tells you they have thyroid cancer, don’t call it the ‘good’ cancer.”