I’ve had thyroid cancer for nearly half of my life. I can’t remember a time before cancer anymore. I’m 23, and have had thyroid cancer for more than 11 years now. I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer, and have since then I’ve have had: two more procedures, a second surgery, and multiple rounds of radioactive iodine treatment. Some of my lymph nodes have come back positive for cancer, so my full diagnosis is metastatic papillary thyroid cancer.
I was tween when I was first diagnosed, so I really wanted nothing to do with cancer. I would actually pretend that I wasn’t sick, and I would forget about my diagnosis during the times I wasn’t getting ready for an appointment or at the hospital.
During my college years, I found myself sharing more and more about my diagnosis and treatment. I began opening up. I created posts where I explained how scared I was or how uncertain it all seemed. I’m so glad since then I have opened up to others about my cancer story. It’s important for all of us to bring more awareness to thyroid cancer. I’m now becoming a better advocate for myself and hope to inspire others to do the same!
My most recent recurrence was last summer (2019). I was beyond defeated. I dealt with finding out my cancer was back in the midst of graduating from college. The only symptom I experienced was feeling beyond tired and I attributed it to the stresses of my final semester. This was my fourth or fifth recurrence, and my only one with a symptom.
I had a radioactive iodine (RAI) uptake scan after being off of my meds for two weeks and was expecting the uptake to be in my lungs—they are full of nodules. However, there was uptake in my neck… TEN years after my original thyroidectomy… it was quite a blow. But I haven’t had a recurrence since then! I still have not heard the words “no evidence of disease” but I’m optimistic and my levels are stable. I recently switched from Levothyroxine to Synthroid and I’ve had so much more energy. There is hope!
Thank you Chloe for sharing your journey with us! For bringing awareness to Thyroid Cancer & being an advocate for yourself and inspiring us to do the same! You can follow Chloe on instagram by following @chloeandthecancer