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What Awareness for Thyroid Cancer Means to Me

Post Published: 20 January 2012
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Category: Join The Discussion, ThyCa Awareness, Thyroid awareness
This post currently has 6 responses. Leave a comment

Dear Thyroid.

Why doesn’t anyone know about you? When the surgeons removed you from my body, they told me you were 5 centimeters long. That’s 2 inches – smaller than my pinky finger – and 1 cm was taken up by papillary thyroid cancer. You were so tiny, and yet you were in charge of my body temperature, my metabolism, and regulating hormones I can’t even pronounce. As you malfunctioned, I felt a level of exhaustion I didn’t even know existed. Running, Zumba, TurboKick, counting every calorie…none of it mattered because you weren’t working. But worst of all…no one believed me.

Four different doctors rolled their eyes at me. I was told I had post-partum depression, sleep apnea, low B-12, low iron, chronic fatigue syndrome. I was even told I needed to get over my “body image issues.” No one believed me that it could be my thyroid. After all, I had no family history. None that I knew of, anyway.

It took me 18 months of fighting to get my papillary thyroid cancer diagnosis. Since I was diagnosed, my mother and aunt were both diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism. My sister was diagnosed with Grave’s Disease, and also has Hashimoto’s antibodies. Our thyroids are a mess. All four of us were dismissed, ignored, scoffed at and belittled for even ASKING about our thyroids. And even as we fight for optimal treatment, we have to deal with doctors, family and friends that think we’re crazy. They don’t think our thyroids really contribute to our weight gain. They don’t believe that our thyroids are the reason our joints hurt, our eyes are puffy, and we feel like we are walking through water. Even after we are diagnosed, we have to struggle. We have to be the ones who drive our own health care.

If more people were aware of thyroid disease, its symptoms and its treatment, millions of women like me could be saved this fight. We are not crazy. They are in the dark.

My name is Sarah, and I am a 34 year-old mother of two who was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer on June 22, 2011. http://sarahyoung1119.wordpress.com

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6 Responses to “What Awareness for Thyroid Cancer Means to Me”

  1. C~ says:

    January 7, 2012 was my five-year anniversary since my thyroid surgery .. five years to become a stronger person, five years’ not letting the little things bother me, five years’ realization that the next 50 yrs of my life will be lived differently — more carefree, less stressful, less worrisome, with an emphasis on taking care of my health.

    Every day is a gift. When we wake up in the morning and see the sun, we are lucky.

    My Motto:
    Trust your instincts; they have never, ever let me down.

    C~

  2. Karen Gohsman says:

    Sarah,
    I am so proud of all the research you have done, and you are right we do have to take control of our health issues and make sure not to stop until we get answers. You’re persistence helped other family members and I’m sure friends and many others too.
    Thanks for your persistence, it has made me ask a lot of questions to my doctors.
    Karen Gohsman

  3. Sue59 says:

    Isn’t it sad how many of us get rolled up eyes and blown off. I shudder to think at the sheer numbers. Why isn’t a thyroid imbalance one of the first things doctors check, seems logical to me. No family history for me either…Graves disease, papillary cancer and Hurthle cell neoplasms in just the last remaining half. Now we both have family histories. Let’s hope that will help. Thanks for sharing your story, and I hope you are feeling better.

  4. Marie says:

    I was diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid Cancer 2006
    I had all my Thyroid remove after 4 years I had a reoccurrence
    In 2010 they did a radical neck dissection I am in remission
    Marie Trujillo

  5. Julie says:

    Same story as mine!!!! I’m 2 weeks post I 131….. On the mend but a constant battle with doctors, hospitals etc…. I’m a mom to 6 year old Hunter and trying to get my life back on track. We have to be our own medical advocates.

  6. Laurie says:

    I could not get anyone to listen either. Since fall of 2010 I felt something was terribly wrong. One doctor from hell smirked when I said how little I was eating. When I told another of the history of thyroid cancer in my family she said…”well, it is slow moving, how are they now?” “DEAD!” I responded, “dead within months of diagnosis as I told you the first visit.” I fired them all, telling them they work for me, not the other way around, and found someone who would listen. It turns out I have a rare form of it, my surgery to remove thyroid and portion of my lymph nodes is in 14 days. I’m scared but also tired of being tired, choking when I try to eat, and the pain in neck and ears. NO ONE should have to fight so hard to get someone to take us seriously.

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