Monday, September 23, 2013

Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month {My Story}


I wanted to talk about something that is very important to me. The month of September is Thyroid Cancer Awareness month. I wanted to take advantage of this while I can, while it's still September. 

 Thyroid cancer is a cancer that starts in the thyroid gland. It can be treated with radioactive iodine or surgical resection of the thyroid gland. Chemotherapy or radiotherapy may also be used.

Seems simple enough right?
I am a Thyroid Cancer Survivor
 Here is MY story

I don't really remember when it was exactly. Back in the day of Myspace I took a lot of "selfies" and one day I just noticed this egg size lump on my neck. I asked myself "Has that always been there?" I shrugged it off but started feeling self-conscious about it. If you know me well enough sometimes when I am self-conscious I will just point it out sarcastically and laugh it off so there is no talk behind my back about it. I even would say that to doctors who were giving me an exam. I specifically said "Don't look at my adam's apple" !!!! I thought that's what it was. That all of a sudden I had a man-size adam's apple! :( This went on for a couple of years. Throughout my entire pregnancy with my daughter and afterwards. I literally just thought that I just had a new feature that I had to live with. 
It wasn't until the summer of 2009 when I was visiting my parents and I was showing my mom and my grandma a video of a song I had recently written. All my grandma said afterwards was concern for this lump. My thoughts were "really, nothing about my song?" 
That's when my mom joined in on the concern. They both started examining my neck, this lump moved around. Whatever it is I thought it was isn't supposed to move like that. We were in the middle of a move so I had to wait awhile to see a doctor. We moved from California to Colorado and we were still on vacation. I had to wait before all that was done and had to get a new doctor so they could refer me. That was all in July-August. They did an ultrasound on my neck and then we patiently waited for the results. They decided to send us to a specialist at the Air Force Academy. That's where they wanted to do an ultrasound biopsy on this "strange lump". {Similar to a regular ultrasound but they have way more people and they take a needle and take samples of this strange lump". Again we waited for results. A good three weeks I believe. It's not that I am always a negative nancy, but in the back of my mind I had a gut feeling. I knew this was cancer, I don't know I just knew that it was. 

The Doctor had us into his office and sat there to explain the results. 

"It's Thyroid Papillary's cancer."

I think my whole entire world slowed down, and my mind sped up. Here we were this little young family. Sitting there with this 8 month old baby. I quickly flashed to that scene in Stepmom. When Susan Sarandon is watching her kids sleeping and knowing she wasn't going to be their to watch them grow up. I felt like that was my future. My life had become a movie and not the happy ending kind. 
The Doctor started with giving information on what we were going to do. They were going to take my entire thyroid out, even though it was a slow growing tumor. They wanted to just get in there and get it taken care of. They scheduled surgery for October. 

We drove home and I was in a daze. I think we both were. I was 21 years old only two short years before we lost our son. How was it that we were dealing with something so huge again? I had a whole month to deal with this, and let it all settle in. It was an excruciating month let me tell you. There was a lot of fear and loneliness. I would lay in bed afraid of leaving my husband all alone. I would rock my baby to sleep with the same fears, and the same tears. Some of the people I thought that would be there for me weren't. I didn't hear from a lot of family either.  I felt pretty isolated. Time came for surgery and it was so scary. You don't know the outcome, you hear horror stories of routine surgeries going wrong. They had me countdown and I was out, when I woke up I was very out of it like a foggy dream. They wheeled me into my room and my hubby was waiting for me. {He's always waiting for me : ) } 
The aftermath of surgery was just a lot to take in. I had a ton of medication, we had a lot of things to look out for. Not to mention this huge hole in my neck that I was freaking about. Oh and I couldn't talk and you aren't supposed to for awhile. {no bueno for a singer and an avid talker}
Now I had to start this new life. Because it's not just over once you have the cancer removed. You are on medication for the rest of your life and it affects everything. You're mood, your weight....everything! You have to be checked all the time to make sure this cancer does NOT come back. Personally for me we opted to not do the radioactive treatment. Along with a few doctors opinion. {everyone's case is different}

Here I am four years later and you would've never guessed that I am a cancer survivor!
I have a new view on life. It has changed me in so many ways. I know the things that are important and I cling to those things/people. It has made me and the hubs even more stronger than we were before. We take the hits and we keep getting back up.

James 1:4
Consider it pure joy my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds. Because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete not lacking anything.

Riley and I getting ready for my 22nd birthday {with my lovely scar} 4 months after my thyroidectomy.

Me 3 years and 4 months after my thyroidectomy

It's so important to spread the word. Don't forget to check your neck! Anyone can get cancer these days. I did and I had no family history of Thyroid Cancer!



  1. I never really think about this form of cancer so THANK YOU for informing us about it. I can't believe you went through all that but I can see how it has made you stronger. I am so glad that you were able to make it through!

    1. Thank you Katie for reading! Sometimes I can't even believe I went through it. Or the fact that I can call myself a cancer survivor. It feels so strange coming out of my mouth. But it's happening to so many people these days. It's so important to get checked periodically of all types of cancers and just be aware of all health issues and not be afraid of the results.


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