Monday, 14 September 2015

THYROID CANCER AWARENESS MONTH : My journey with thyroid cancer

So September is Thyroid cancer awareness month so I thought what better opportunity to share my journey with thyroid caner and to bring some awareness to this disease.

So a little bit of my back story to finding out how I had thyroid cancer. First of all my story kind of starts about 8 years ago when my current husband and started to try for a family. After we had been trying for a bit over a year we started to seek help and tried several things and some surgeries before we finally found ourselves about 5 years ago starting our first round of IVF. we did 2 completed cycles and 1 frozen cycle with our first fertility clinic before we changed clinics. We continued on and did about another 9 cycles with this new clinic over the years until we came to early 2014 when we had 2 A grade quality frozen embryo's left and I was at the point where I really had just had enough and had given up all hope and didn't even want to transfer the last 2 embryo's. The embryologist rang me and told just how great a quality they were and persuaded me to transfer the last 2. So I did every bit of research possible and decided to try vitamin therapy along with this cycle so got all my vitamins ready and in August 2014 we started our frozen embryo cycle. Through doing the vitamin therapy I was talking to a naturopath at vitamin king and she seemed to think that I had some kind of issue with my thyroid ( even though all blood tests kept coming back normal) so she started me on a thyroid supplement and within 2 days I noticed some pretty big difference with my energy levels and some other things. Anyway our IVF cycle came to end  and was unsuccessful once again. So a few weeks later I went in to speak to the head nurse regarding a few things I had noticed in this cycle and she wasn't available so they sent one of the other nurses out to speak to me (one who had been very helpful before) so I was happy to speak to her. Anyway one conversation led to another and I mentioned to her about the thyroid supplement helping me and that the naturopath had said that sometimes things are missed in blood tests and you need an ultrasound to pick it up. She advised me to immediately go and see my GP  and to demand an ultrasound ( she later told me that when I had told her about this she noticed that my neck was quite enlarged and after I left she also checked with a picture that was taken when we started with that clinic.) Anyway my ultrasound came back saying that I had an enlarged multi nodular goiter and needed to have a fine needle biopsy done on the largest nodule . So a week or so later I went in and had the FNA biopsy done and on OCT 3rd 2014 (my husbands birthday) I got a phone call from my doctor saying that I needed to come straight in. Once there she told me that I had thyroid cancer and needed to go to accident and emergency to get them to process the paperwork and get me into to the specialist. with a very stressful few weeks and not getting any where with specialist so I made another trip back to accident and emergency and we finally got things sorted out. I had my appointment with the surgeon and he told me that the results only said suspected thyroid cancer and that I would be put on the waiting list to have only that left half of my thyroid taken out at first and if the result came back confirming it after the surgery I would be put back into hospital a few weeks later to remove the second side.
So I had my first surgery on the 4th Dec 2014 and a week later got the results back that I had a 2.7cm papillary carcinoma that was acting as follicular carcinoma and it only had a 2mm margin before moving outside the thyroid so I would need to have a further surgery to remove the otherside of my thyroid. The second surgery took place on the 21st of Jan 2015 and came back all clear. Then we proceeded to doing a round of RAI (raidation iodine treatment) in April and spent 3 days in hospital in an isolated room and then another 10 days at home isolated at home. Sleeping on my own and not able to prepare food for anyone else and taking care with cutlery and other things. I had a follow up full body CT a week after that and got the all clear and this month I am currently off all my thyroid medication (which makes you feel really crappy for the last few weeks with hypothyroidism) to have a follow up full body CT in the middle of OCT for another check then I will go to yearly check that I am still in the clear for the next 5years.
They say that thyroid cancer is the good cancer and whilst it is fairly curable in most cases it still comes along with being on medication for life and many ups and downs with hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism whilst getting a balance with the right dosage of medication.
So everyone if you are concerned check your neck and see your GP. If it wasn't for me pushing and giving that last go at IVF who knows how far it may have developed before we found it. Mine was only just caught in the nick of time before spreading. So our failed IVF cycle ended up being a blessing in disguise.
Everyone take care and remember check your neck regularly.

The thyroid cancer colours are Teal, hot pink and royal blue.