Warrior Survival: Life After Thyroid Cancer

Warrior Survival: Life After Thyroid Cancer

January is Thyroid Awareness Month.
Check Your Neck.

Written by Jessie L O’Donnell

One year ago, I imagined waking up like Snow White surrounded by the smiles of friendly forest creatures, birds, butterflies and flowers with a partially functioning thyroid. Instead I woke up to the words ‘you have cancer’. Those words woke up the rest of my entire life.

After going into what I thought would be the removal of my right thyroid lobe, I woke up after a 9.5 hour surgery to be informed that both thyroid lobes were covered with cancer and had to be removed. Because of the sizing and location of the cancerous tumors, I was on a fine line of not being eligible for Radio Active Iodine (R.A.I.) treatment. By the grace of God, the tumors that extended off my thyroid did not metastasize beyond the thyroid lobes from what my surgeon could see. If they had, I would not have been a candidate for the R.A.I. treatment. The body has to heal after the removal of a vital part of itself and I needed a four month period between my surgery and R.A.I.. This past year has been quite the rollercoaster that has no stop button but boy did it have a repeat button for emotions that I had no control over.

For those of you who have had thyroid surgery and/or RAI treatment, I don’t need to explain to you what the recovery and preparation entails. For those of you who don’t know what the thyroid functions are or want to know how radioactive medicine works, let me paint a visual for you. I am not going to sugar coat any of my experience because people tried to sugar coat it for me which was honestly just flat out insulting and made me feel as though my situation had little to no importance.

The thyroid influences every cell, tissue and organ in the body. It controls your metabolism, growth, body temperature, muscle strength, appetite, brain, kidneys, health of the heart, and reproductive system to name a few. I like to consider it the engine of the body.

If your thyroid doesn’t work properly, neither do you.

I am now dependant on a pill to survive. My poor pituitary gland didn’t know that my thyroid left their relationship suddenly. What an awful breakup. After surgery, my body and pituitary gland needed time to figure out how and where my brand new synthetic hormones were coming from and how to send them to where they were needed. This isn’t something that takes a week. It takes months. Many months that drag on so slowly and doctors can’t prescribe a different drug until that time has elapsed. During this waiting period, I had mood swings so off both ends of the chart that they scared me! I would cry uncontrollably over nothing. Or my shirt and pants would tear and rip as I turned into the incredible hulk over the smallest things. One ‘episode’ I recall vividly was the morning that my boyfriend decided to do a nice gesture and cook my favorite breakfast of over-easy eggs on wheat waffles. When I cut into my eggs and there was no runny yoke, my blood began to boil. If I could have stood up and flipped the table over with hulk like strength I would have. I wanted to stomp down the street like Godzilla and scream about my over cooked eggs. That ‘episode’ was just a tid bit of the emotional extremes during my recovery. And God Bless my patient and loving boyfriend.

Once I started to finally be able to get my emotions under control, I then had to prepare my body for R.A.I. treatment which is a six week process. The idea is to starve the body of iodine since the only cell within the body that absorbs it are thyroid cells. Yes, mine was gone but not all thyroid tissue cells were. Once the body is starved of iodine, the radioactive iodine medicine is ingested and any leftover thyroid cells suck it in essentially burning off leaving no trace of a thyroid. So if the cancer tried to come back there would be no thyroid tissue for it to metastasize onto. I could choose that option or I could choose to stop taking my prescription for 6 weeks which I was told is a difficult and horrible process. It sounded like I was going to turn into an angry and depressed sasquatch so the iodine free diet it was!

The diet was much harder than I thought. No dairy, no soy, nothing from the ocean and no salt. Say goodbye to anything that is on the grocery store shelf. No problem…I’ll just eat dairy free. Ha! Most of those items contain carrageenan which is derived from seaweed. Everything I ate had to be made by my hands in my kitchen. One great thing from this difficult diet was realizing all the stuff that is put into our food. Since then, I read every single ingredient in a food product and most of the time I put it back on the shelf after reading.

My experience with RAI treatment was different than yours and everyone else. Every patient’s experience is totally different from the other. It is a practice by the doctor administering it. Every doctor gives different amounts of the radioactive medicine for each candidate depending on their situation. I was on a fine line of being a R.A.I. candidate and because of that fine line it was decided that a much higher dosage would be ingested than the usual amount of what my doctor would give. All I could imagine is something that looked like the fluid inside a glow stick seeping into my system. Did I have a choice? Sure, like any patient with any disease. I could refuse the treatment and hope that my left over thyroid cells didn’t have cancer cells on them and go on with life for them to find their way to my lymph nodes and lungs. I wanted to kick those cancer cells’ butts! I was going to do whatever my doctor thought was the best for me because I trusted him with my life and so did my family.

After two days of getting shots to pump my body full of TSH, I was ready for R.A.I.. I was put into a special room with doctors who wheeled my nuclear medicine dosage in on a dolly that was incased within a giant lead container. As I sat there in my everyday clothes, they wore gloves, special rings and other attire protecting them from the medicine I was about to swallow. It was put in front of me with a tube-like straw that pierced into the container and I was told to drink as they stood across the room and watched. Everyone then left except for two gentlemen that held a Geiger counter to show how radioactive I was at different distances. They told me to move quickly as I walked down the halls to the elevators which they stopped so we were the only ones onboard. A different route was taken to the entrance area of the hospital to where valet had my car ready and waiting. I was handed a card to carry with me for the next three months so when I went off at airport security, they would know I had undergone a nuclear medicine treatment and not lock me up for trying to carry bomb materials on board.

The days after were surprisingly not horrible. My stomach was a little queasy at first as expected. Within 24 hours, I started to feel the heat in my neck where my thyroid once was. This was a normal reaction to the treatment and a good one. I was literally feeling the left over thyroid cells burning away. I unfortunately had to be isolated during this period and follow myself with Lysol wipes everywhere I went in my parent’s home. I stayed in my room for the most part not wanting to leave anymore radioactive residue than I had to in other areas of the house. It was lonely and I had way too much time to feel sorry for myself. I was finally approved to head back to Florida after a body scan I needed to verify that the treatment was a success and it was!

It was not even a week after my return to Florida that I began to have awful symptoms of the aftermath of R.A.I.. I knew that there was no way my body could ingest such a large amount and not show any side effects. The medicine travels through the intestines and that is how 90% of it leaves the body. The medicine ripped through mine causing major intestinal and colon problems. I had to seek a specialist in Florida to help with the pain. If that wasn’t embarrassing and horrifying enough, the return home felt as if what I was going through wasn’t worth anyone’s time.

The frustration is immeasurable. It seems as though I am in my own category which society doesn’t really recognize since they are not made aware. I’m not diabetic. I’m not going through cancer treatments that a person can visually see. I have been told by some of the best thyroid doctors within the thyroid associates at the #1 hospital in the United States that because the amount of deaths from thyroid cancer do not measure up to all the other cancers, the National Cancer Society does not spend the money on the research for a cure. There are 62,980 new thyroid cancer patients in the US a year with 1,890 deaths from it. 20 million Americans are said to have a form of thyroid disease and many of them are unaware of their condition. Many studies for RAI treatment actually come from France and the UK. Well isn’t that merveilleux. While we wait for the United States to begin recognizing that this is affecting much of society, I’ll be here eating croissants, sipping tea and taking naps.

These are some of the things said to me over the past year:

“You obviously don’t need a thyroid because you are standing here now.”

“All you need to do is take a pill, so what is your problem?”

“You don’t know what tired is. I have kids.”

“But you aren’t fat so how do you have a problem with your thyroid?”

“At least you got the best kind of cancer.”

The best kind of cancer? Wrong. I didn’t realize that the words best and cancer even should be put in the same sentence never mind my neck. I recently had someone refer to me as a bad-ass cancer survivor. I was quiet for a moment and about to excuse her statement but then said, “I AM a cancer survivor!” I had never said it out loud and it felt good! I watched my friend challenge Hodgkin’s lymphoma when we were 16 years old. She lost the battle when she was 19 and I know she is by my side like I was at hers cheering me on. Does it really matter what kind of cancer a person has to have to be considered more important than the other? For most, if they visually can’t see the effects of cancer, then they assume it must not be that bad. Well it is bad. It has not only changed my life but my family’s as well.

I have always had good eating habits and exercised when I could but now that I have had something so evil inside my body I am more aware of what goes into it then ever. Not just with food but anything that is put onto it. I try my best to eat organic and cook for myself when I can. I use botanical vegan beauty products by Arbonne and I practice Hot Fusion™ Yoga at least once a week to keep my sanity in check and attend the gym as well for a minimum of 30 minutes about three times a week. I also walk every morning because I have a dog, thank goodness, because he is the one that gets me moving every morning. Believe me, I’d rather spend all day in bed. Sometimes I will give myself one of those special days but I will not spend my life sleeping it away no matter how weak, exhausted and bummed out I might be. Punch the voice inside telling you that you can’t do anything productive today so it will shut up. I punch it in its face pretty much every day so when and if the day comes that the cancer returns I am ready for that fight; a fight that will end with the trophy in my hands.

There are key elements that I remind myself daily:

Stay Positive! It is so important to find the positive from all your thyroid trials and tribulations. For me, that meant establishing a healthy lifestyle and sharing knowledge and awareness with others.

Don’t you dare let anyone make you feel guilty or shameful for the situation you are in.

Don’t you ever let anyone dismiss you and your health.

And above all, remember to make your well-being your priority. No matter what- You CAN do this!

You are a thyroid warrior.

Warrior Survival: Life After Thyroid Cancer

About Jessie L O’Donnell

Jessie L O’Donnell is a South Florida based portrait photographer, thyroid cancer survivor, artist, yogi, and hound mom sharing her love with the world. Through her powerful photography and writing, she captures the emotion of her suffering and finds much needed healing. She lives in Florida with her hound dog Walker. You can find Jessie on her website Jessie Lee Photography.


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I appreciate every share! Thank you.

About Dana Trentini

Dana Trentini founded Hypothyroid Mom October 2012 in memory of the unborn baby she lost to hypothyroidism. This is for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for consulting your physician regarding medical advice pertaining to your health. Hypothyroid Mom includes affiliate links including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.


  1. Rosaleen Lewis says

    I read your article and wept. My Grandson got Thyroid Cancer in 2016 , his treatment went on through 2017 and 2018 and has had check ups ever since. He was eleven years old and people expect him to get over it. He is receiving counselling from a Psychotherapist now because he has never gotten over his diagnosis and treatment properly. It’s like time stood still and he remained eleven. Thank you for highlighting condition. No one seems to realise you are on treatment for life and it’s a hormonal condition so very pertinent to your every day life. It is great to see you are well and hopefully my Grandson will be soon too. Thank you.

  2. Julie Read says

    I am so sorry to hear about your journey. I am dealing with this now. I lived in Colorado my whole life and had several surgeries to remove thyroid cancer. Over the last year I’ve had many struggles and my doctors suggested I move to a warmer climate, somewhere where there was humidity and to get away from the altitude. I just recently moved to Punta Gorda. I need to find a great endocrinologist and ent doctor:). Any suggestions would be helpful.

  3. I was diagnosed with malignant struma ovarii which is a type of papillary thyroid cancer that came from an ovarian mass. On 1/31/19, I had a total hysterectomy, appendectomy, and a mass in my right groin removed and the groin ressectioned. The pathology all came back as papillary thyroid cancer although my thyroid functions normal and is benign. Recently, a PET SCAN showed a lesion on my liver, which is also believed to be papillary thyroid cancer. I will be undergoing a biopsy on the liver, then a thyroidectomy along with RAI. What I have is extremely rare, but want to put it out there, because maybe, there’s someone else. I have three kids, and thank God this is not a genetic type that I can pass on to them. THYROID CANCER IS NOT EASY! This IS a big deal, I find a lot of people thinking it’s no big deal, BUT IT IS! I wish all of you success in your treatments and to lead healthy cancer free lives ahead.

  4. Stephanie Fender says

    Hello! I found my cancer (by complete accident) from extreme exhaustion, I had such a wave of tiredness that I threw up. I listened to my body and decided to make a doctor appointment. I thought I was anemic. It took months of biopsies, blood work, and ultrasounds for a decision that would change my life forever. In July 2014 (age 30), I had a total thyroidectomy, was diagnosed with papillary cancer in both lobes that also metastasized into my neck lymph nodes, then underwent RAI. Consistent bloodwork, exercise, eating well, and rest is how I maintain my “new normal”. I am a mother of three beautiful girls, work full-time, and have mostly good days now. Every time I have a scan to check for recurrence I thank my lucky stars cancer didn’t return. I always encourage friends and family to check their necks and listen to their bodies. Please do the same.

    • Oh wow Stephanie I’m sorry all you’ve been through. I have many Hypothyroid Mom readers here that read the comments and yours is an important reminder to always listen to our bodies. I’m happy you are cancer free after such an ordeal.

  5. Keryn Phillips says

    Thankyou for the information that I am not alone …I am 68 and had a total Thyroidectomy and neck dissection 2 years ago for Medullary Thyroid Cancer what a journey and it’s a long long one ….Would love to hear of someone on the same journey

  6. Hello all the feedback helps to know I’m not crazy. I had my thyroid and 3 parathyroid removed because of papillary cancer. Does anyone have info on other alternative options on taking levothyroxine or synthroid. I have researched natural Armor but not enough documented studies that supports using it or any other natural replacement. I do like the synthetics because of the side effects. especially hair loss. There has to be another alternative. You

  7. I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer October 2015, and went through 2 separate surgeries to remove the left then right lobes 4 weeks apart. I had to wait 6 weeks then was isolated for 30 days in hospital for my radiation treatment. During this time my adult daughter took custody of my minor daughter and never given me any chance to have her back. My entire family abandoned me, including my boyfriend. This had been the worst season of my life, it has taken me down a road of depression, bad choices, and borderline suicide. I have no idea if I’m cancer free, I no longer have insurance because I don’t have my minor daughter in my household. My household has been my car because I lost my place to live, mainly become just don’t give a crap anymore. The one and only thing that keeps me even wanting to get up is my dog. How she came into my life is a whole other story. I have one friend. He’s much older, but he keeps me going by saying to me “Focus on the solution not the situation”. Which I tattooed on my arm, along with the words “fight like a girl” under my cancer ribbon and boxing gloves. It sucks knowing that other families pull together during the hard parts but mine blew apart, I thought we were stronger than that, but I was wrong. I’m sure they had their reasons but dammit it’s been almost 3 years and I am still alive and I need them. Sorry for ranting and venting, i guess I’m hoping someone in my gene pool will come forward and rescue me.

    • Oh Sandra this is so terrible what has happened to you that I had to pause after reading it. I know tough times can break people apart and I hope will all hope that you are reunited with your daughter.

    • Sandra,
      I am crying after reading your story. I have health issues too. Still trying to get a diagnosis on some things. Have Fibromyalgia. I so identify with what you said about family abandoning you. All three of my adult children abandoned me in early 2018. It has been the hardest thing that has ever happened to me. It makes no sense. I have been in deep depression and grief ever since. I promise you that I will pray for you often. God has been my strength and sanity. He will be yours too. Trust him with what you don’t understand. He knows you’re suffering. I am so sorry. 🙏

  8. Mary Grabau says

    Thanks everyone for sharing! I too had Papillary Thyroid cancer and total thyroidectomy in April of 2017 also lost two para thyroid glands in the mess. Did the radioactive iodine. I feel pretty tired most of the time, head feels swollen and big, eyes feel swollen too. I found Dr Westin Childs online and am going to try his product T3 Conversion Booster. I am taking Synthyroid and he says it is to help me while taking that. Has anyone else tried this? Thanks and hugs to you all!!

  9. Hi,
    I was reading through posts hoping to find someone who is going through what I am or went through it.
    I’m 39, pregnant with my third child. During my first trimester visit I was handed big news. It’s a boy, and you have thyroid cancer.
    Everything is a mess. My doctors are still deciding if to do full thyroid removal now that I’m in my second trimester or to wait after the baby is here. They already told me I will need radiation following thyroid removal.
    It seems like there really is not the right type of decision here, just choosing lesser evil ( hoping thet I choose it right) .
    And then… preparing myself for the first year of newborn care and hell on wheels for the rest.
    I need to hear that someone made through this.

  10. These stories are awesome & very helpful. Had papillary thyroid cancer T4 . spread into my neck lympnodes. Had thyroid taken out & strong dose of iodine radiation. Exactly 4 years later I’m still very weak & my bones ache. Mood swings are horrible. My dr says my levels are good but I dont feel great. There are days I can’t even get out my bed. Would love some feed back! God bless & stay strong.

  11. Mary petrich says

    My thyroid is so messed up the doctors are putting me on more meds the moods very tired all the time my white cell count is high this is very frustrating

  12. Thanks so much for sharing your story! I am a 29y old female and was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer 3 weeks ago. I had my total thyroidectomy 3 days ago. I had severe headache for last 2 days but feeling little bit better now. Now I am trying to come to terms that I have to live my life without my thyroid gland and also with a constant fear of cancer coming back.
    But I am hopeful and want to try my best to be informed and make lifestyle changes so that I can live my life normally. Your stories are very inspiring and give me motivation to move forward with grace.

    • I recently got diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer and had a total thyroidectomy with three lymph nodes removed on December 13, 2018. Lately I have been thinking a lot about if I have cancer anywhere else in my body and what if it spread to lymph nodes not in my neck etc. I know it’s not good to worry but having cancer makes me worry. I feel like from your post we are in the same boat.

  13. Hello sorryTHIS IS LONG-My doctor ran tests after chronic complaints…even full cardio work up..all came up normal. Simultaneously, saw a company doctor for a different problem where an MRI of cervical spine caught view of nodule on left thyroid. Upon returning to doc with this news subsequent tests proved nodule on opposite side as well. After 2 biopsy appointments came back indeterminate (suspicious) the surgeon said should remove it. The Endo said my choice: remove left only, or both or WAIT to see what happens! I decided to have all removed Jan 16, 2013.
    Knowing the results would be revealed 7 days after surgery I studied about 4 types of cancer: Papillary, Follicular (very treatable) and medullary, anaplastic (very deadly) BUT did NOT know about POST surgery trauma until it happened to me!
    My family left close to midnight but I began to feel weird shortly after. Then beginning with my feet a strange tingling sensation started to creep up my body. With complaints and no response i had nurse call my husband to come back. IT got stronger, than painful. My husband arrived and asked for a doctor. (None on floor) so they finally woke one up at home but just had nurse give me chewable calcium. I got WORSE! The creeping sensation crept all the way up to my stomach, then chest and i could barely whisper and I experienced much PAIN muscle cramps. My husband saw my hands, arms curl up and I went in fetal position and pressure on chest prevented breathing. Felt i was going to DIE or stroke out. Still no response from nurses or doctors. My husband was googling and said I was having a hypo-calcemic attack, held up his phone to the ward’s head nurse and threatened “Get a doctor in here or I’m calling 9-1-1! WELL, that worked. A doc came in, got them to take blood and low and behold, calcium, magnesium, potassium had to be pumped into my veins for the rest of the night. I started feeling normal after 6 am . (NO one explained-but I got my surgery reports and found I was below normal). I was very upset AFTER my surgeon said my experience was HIGHLY unlikely. ( By the way it was stage 1 follicular cancer).
    THIS is confusing to me: My surgeon said, “radiation next”, but my HMO endo said not unless it spreads and would have to have a 2nd surgery 1st ! (2nd opinion doc said same thing)
    in addition, I now know the 4 PARA thyroids often go into shock or get removed (we need at least 1)
    READ blogs about hypo-calcemia. The symptoms did come back regularly but not as extreme I had to chew 1000 mg of calcium every 2-3 hours around the clock for couple weeks but for some the problem NEVER goes away and you cant keep taking high doses of calcium. Its bad for your heart.
    Most recovery wards have different surgery patients and everyone with thyroidectomy responds differently. JUST be informed and try to have someone stay with you in hospital. Nurses don’t know everything. YOU are the patient. It’s the only body you will ever have. Advocate for yourself. May God bless you today and every day.

  14. Thank you everyone for your stories. I had a biopsy on nodules on my thyroid and get the results tomorrow. I just want to know what to expect and appreciate the candor and courage of the survivors I found here.

  15. Krasandra Burdick says

    I loved your story!! I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 1993 at the age of 23. Everyday since then has been a struggle. I’ve went from synthetic meds to armor thyroid in the last couple years. No one can ever understand how much the thyroid controls everything in your body unless your faced with dealing with it. My doctor also told me that if I had to choose a cancer that I chose the right one. At 23 I really wasn’t thinking I was getting something great. I laughed at your mood swing stories and I can completely relate! I ripped apart my 5 year old nephews pumpkin while carving them for Halloween because he messed up mine. Turning into the Hulk is a perfect description to the ridiculous level of rage that goes through you. I also went through the radioactive iodine. I had to actually stay at the hospital in a room completely covered in clear wrap from the phone all the way down to the toilet. I wasn’t allowed to touch any surface and couldn’t leave until I wasn’t a threat to anyone. The nurses left my food at the door and wouldn’t come in to check on me because they were “within child bearing years”! Keep in mind I was 23! It is very scary when your drinking liquid out of a cement canister while the doctor holding it is wearing something close to a spacesuit with oven mitts. Over the last 24 years my levels have changed many times resulting in weight gain, weight loss, mood swings, hair thinning, hair growing, being so cold people think your crazy, and being so tired people think your lying. At this point in the thyroid game Im aware of my body enough to know when my level are off and then I demand action. If I’ve learned nothing else in this, I’ve learned that we ourselves need to do our own research and govern our own heath and welfare. When doctors say your levels are within the normal range question that because thyroid cancer survivors need to be at the higher end of the “normal” range. Not ALL doctor know or have studied the many complex aspects of the thyroid. At 23 they just gave me a pill and said take this everyday or you will die, at 47 Im not willing to just shut my mouth and take my pill. When they ask me if I feel good I’m always at a loss for an answer because I don’t remember what good feels like. It is a roller coaster that neither you nor I will ever get off. I’ve had my appendix removed, my gallbladder removed, and I’m now dealing with painful joint arthritis all of which are thyroid related issues. We ARE cancer survivors and I needed your story to remind me of that. I can say that because of this life I have been given I’ve help other people. I have diagnosed thyroid problems and even cancer in several people. So I continue to tell my moods swing stories and my hospital room wrapped in plastic stories and I laugh with everyone else because in the end i have my husband and my amazing son and daughter to remind me that I’m alive. I AM A CANCER SURVIVOR 💜

  16. Just this past Monday, I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid carcinoma (thyroid cancer). It was a complete shock to me and my family. I am 29 years old, and was not prepared for this news. Thyroid issues run in my family, and my primary has always been careful to check my thyroid at annual visits. He noticed that my thyroid was slightly larger than previous check ups, so he sent me for an ultrasound and biopsy. Fortunately, from what I understand, it’s early stages, and the cancer is contained to my thyroid only. I’m going to see one of the surgeons my doctor recommended tomorrow morning because I need to have my thyroid removed (he recommended another, so I’m planning to see both). It’s been a little difficult to stay positive, and I’m scared about the surgery and what to expect afterwards. This article gave me a better idea of what I could possibly expect from having this surgery, and what the long term effects could be for my health. All of your testimonies have put me a little at ease, and I’d like to thank you for sharing your inspiring, survival stories. I am strong enough to get through this, and I will beat this!

    • I had a total thyroidectomy in February 2017. I had found a large lump in my neck, I went for an ultrasound and they found 13 nodules and a large goiter. I had the biopsy’s done and one kept coming back inconclusive.The surgeon left it up to me, to wait or do the surgery. Because both my mother and sister had thyroid cancer I opted to have my thyroid removed. The surgeon said I made the right choice it was cancer. God was watching over me. It was contained to the nodules, it if I had waited it wouldn’t have been good. Take heart the surgery isn’t bad. The pain is minimal. Tylenol was all I needed. I went home the next day with a drain tube. That was taken out a day later. The place where the drain tube was caused a keloid, pretty ugly. I am going in for another surgery to remove it in a couple of weeks. I am having issues with the dosage of my medication. I don’t have the best endocrinologist, he hasn’t showed any compassion. I am having a lot of hair loss and some anxiety and depression. Nothing that affects my life to much. I going to switch to another doctor. So all in all your life is worth more than the discomforts after. You will join all of us CANCER SURVIVORS! Don’t let anyone say oh you had the best cancer to get, or blow off your symptoms or discomfort. You will come out of this stronger. Everything will be ok! My prayers and thoughts are with you. Your not alone there are lots of us survivors out here.

  17. Thank you for sharing your story. I had my thyroid removed at the end of last year. The doctors I had gone to in the past noticed my thyroid was larger than normal and I was diagnosed with Hoshimoto’s around the age of 18. They wanted to just let it go and keep telling me that my body would natural kill my thyroid on its own, so they were just going to wait for it to die. I had 3 nodules growing on my thyroid and continued to get bigger every year. I had numerous biopsies done and they always came back negative. Till, finally I meet a doctor who was not going to let my thyroid get any bigger. He did a scan and saw that it was growing done into my chest and up into my jaw, this at the age of 29. He let me know it was either remove it now or wait and my surgery would be just like an open heart on to get all of my thyroid out. I decided not to wait and went with the surgery. I was in the hospital for 4 days after words due to my body basically giving up, my calcium was dangerously low, iron, my pulse and blood pressure just dropped off. My mom was worried because my blood pressure was so low it was close to death, and none of the nurse or doctors could figure out a way to get it back up. Finally my numbers started to improve and they gave me medication to help keep my numbers going back to where they should be. But, before being able to leave the hospital my doctor came in to talk to me. He said I had 2 cancerous masses on each side of my thyroid glad. He isn’t sure how long they were there and removed another lymph node from my neck near it to have that tested. The lymph node came up negative so he believed it didn’t spread. Well, with my mom just losing her sister 5 months before after battling cancer, she didn’t want to take any chances. We went through with the radioactive iodine treatment. I thought my mom was going to hit the doctor who was providing the radioactive treatment. When he looked at me and told me “well at least you have to good type of cancer.” I have never heard any form of cancer be called the good type. And, if he was trying to make me feel better, he didn’t at all.
    I still don’t feel right and never really have my whole life. I am still always tired and come across mood swings that could give people whip last. But, my family, friends and my boyfriend have been super supportive and right by my side through the whole thing. Right now I still have more test coming up due to them also finding a pulmonary nodule in my lung, and my doctor is trying to get my approved for genetic testing due to the extensive history of cancer in both sides of my family. I keep pushing on and will because I have my family, friends, and boyfriend to fight for.
    I just want to say for any one going through this don’t let anyone tell you how you feel or that you look fine. Yes, we may look fine on the outside but it doesn’t mean there isn’t a battle going on inside our body’s. Keep fighting and stay strong. Every day is a struggle but take it one day at a time.

  18. flora rufer says


    I am flora rufer,i am from San Francisco,in USA,my Facebook Username is flora rufer you can also add me. i want to use this medium to testify of how i got cured from cancer, cancer is known not to have a cure, i have this virus since 2012, i have done all my best to get cured from this disease but all to no avail until a friend of mine told me about doctor oosa herbal home on the internet who helps people cure any kind of diseases including stroke cancer, Herpes etc, at first i doubted if it was real but decided to give it a try, when i contacted this herbal doctor he helped me with his herbal medicine and i was cured within (21 days) and i went for a medical checkup and my doctor confirm it that i am free from cancer.Contact this grate herbal doctor for any kind of disease or ailment via this email [email protected]

    • Stop. Just stop. You are a huckster and you are potentially delaying proper care for people who latch onto these false hopes you are selling. Cancer is not a virus and it’s not going to be cured in 3 weeks by a “grate” (sic) online doctor. I see these posts everywhere. Your callous disregard for other’s health and wellbeing is disgusting. So please, just stop.

    • Shame on you ‘Flora Ruffer’. How do you sleep at night. And please STFU.

  19. My favorite comment from my experience came just after I was diagnosed. I working a part time job with no insurance, so I applied for medicaid and was denied because “YOU DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT KIND OF CANCER”. I wasn’t aware that there was a right kind of cancer. I’ve been dismissed by almost every Dr. I’ve seen when I’ve tried to get my medication changed and am beyond frustrated with the attitude associated with having “the best kind of cancer you can get”. It’s refreshing to hear about people with similar experiences who aren’t sugar coating and covering it in daisies.

  20. Your post is refreshing. A friend sent it to me. After reading it, she said to me I had no idea what you’re going through. For me personally, the doctors I’ve been in contact with did not prepare me AT ALL for what life without a thyroid would be like. Next week, I have my RAI treatment. I’ve had many questions about side effects and I feel like they are just blown off. The medical field seems very ill prepared at dealing with thyroid cancer. 😞

  21. Annamarie Smith says

    Thankyou for sharing your story Jessie. I had thyroid cancer and a total thyroidectomy back in 2001. Things have been ok, except that my body doesn’t cope with any change of routine in terms of meal times or what I eat…and heat…and lack of sleep…Now I am entering the menopause my system seems to be going haywire again. At my annual blood test/check up last week, the consultant advised that the menopause symptoms combined with my thyroid-less system means that I have to become – and I quote – “a person of boring and absolute strict routine when it comes to your eating habits and exercise”! After 16 years its the first time a doctor has actually spelled it out for me, even though I know that’s how I should be. So this morning once again I’m finding the energy to get back into a semblance of routine, eat the right things, keep up the weekly yoga clas, etc etc etc…I wish you continued good health and thankyou for sharing your positive energy. Light and blessings to you .

  22. I lost my thyroid. To cancer in 2010 an it’s been a battle everyday of my life sence they was able to get all mine an I still loss my thyroid I live fighting the cancer still An fighting the everyday. Life of feeling sick an tired an depressed. Never feeling better always. Sad crying an weight gain God help me fight this please

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