At the time of my diagnosis, I was running 40+ miles a week and heavily active in my CrossFit gym. I’m a big runner. I wasn’t training for anything in particular at the time; just maintaining a really strong base. I had run a marathon a few months prior, rocking a thyroid cancer ribbon shirt for my dad, completely unaware of the fact that I had it too.
We were about a month into the initial COVID-19 quarantine when my physician called with my biopsy results. I wasn’t physically at work at the time. I had so much free time and was really focusing in on health and fitness. When I started googling anything and everything thyroid cancer, I started to freak out. There were so many articles and blogs and forums where weight gain post-thyroidectomy were discussed. I was afraid of being forced to take a break from working out and thus losing progress.
I did fall off a bit that summer. I had to refrain from intense exercise after surgery so my incision could heal. Radioactive iodine caused a couple weeks of nausea. My TSH levels were sky-high and I was miserable – always exhausted. I would sleep for 12 hours a night, get out of bed with the intention to get a work out in, and end up taking a nap an hour later. It was one big pity party and I had lost all motivation.
Once my endocrinologist got me on the correct dose of levothyroxine and TSH came down to a normal range, I started to put myself back together. I had energy for the first time in months. I got back into the gym. I picked my running back up. I ran another marathon in November and cried at the finish. I was becoming myself again.
I will be one year post total thyroidectomy on May 4th and I’m getting pretty close to my pre-thyroidectomy fitness level. Getting back into the grind has helped me regain a sense of normalcy and control. I once again spend my free time at CrossFit and am training for a race with my favorite fellow thyroid warrior – my dad. We’re still both anxiously awaiting the day we hear “cancer free” or “no evidence of disease.” But in the meantime, we’re trying to keep an active lifestyle and keep proving to ourselves that we’re stronger than cancer. We’re looking forward to crossing the Charlevoix Half Marathon finish line together in June, and then sharing a father-daughter dance at my wedding a week later. We’re thankful for our family and our health. We’re good and getting better, every day.
Thank you Beca for sharing your journey with us! For sharing how fitness and exercise has helped you regain a sense of normalcy and control! We will be virtually cheering you and your father on during your half marathon and wishing a magical wedding day! Congratulations!