My name is Kelsey and I am a Papillary thyroid cancer survivor. 6.5 years ago my life changed forever. At just 22 years old, I had my thyroid, a parathyroid, and 10 lymph nodes removed due to thyroid cancer. Shortly after my surgery I received my first dose of radioactive iodine. Nothing could have prepared me at such a young age to undergo the surgery and treatments. My fight against cancer was spending hours getting lab work, ultrasounds, biopsy’s, injections, CT scans, and radioactive iodine treatments. My doctors did not prepare me that the battle would be far from over after they removed my thyroid. They failed to tell me how sick I would feel for years, the struggle I would have with my weight, and lack of energy. They didn’t mention as they balanced my hormone levels with medication I would become depressed, fatigued, I would have skin issues, my hair would thin out and just overall never feel the same again. I didn’t realize that removing one small little butterfly shaped gland could wreak so much havoc on my entire body. I thought my one little thyroid pill (that I will have to take for the rest of my life) would just substitute what I had lost, but I didn’t. My body rejected my thyroid medicine multiple times and swung me into hypothyroidism leaving me wondering what feeling normal even meant anymore.
Even though it was hard and I wanted to give up so many times, I just kept pushing through and staying positive. I had my fair share of ups and downs but eventually I have always found my way back into the light. I decided to share what I went through in hopes of inspiring others and remind them that they are not alone. I also share the truth about thyroid cancer on educating others about the challenges thyroid cancer patients are faced with. Even though it’s been years since my thyroidectomy I still suffer from extreme fatigue and staying in shape is a constant battle. The lab tests and ultrasounds that I still undergo had become a part of my new norm at a point.
I am thankful for my life and that I am still here to live it. I am thankful and appreciate what my body still can do which is one of the reasons I fell in love with fitness. It became my escape, my place to challenge myself to see what I can accomplish.
For anyone who is just recently diagnosed with thyroid cancer here is my advice to you. You need to be your own advocate and take charge of educating yourself so you can have empowered conversations with your doctor. Learn about the thyroid, its different types of hormones, and how it affects your body. Understand your treatment options, symptoms, and understand what each step consists of in your battle. Please know this is as much a mental battle as it is physical. I still have to remind myself that I need to listen to my body and there is going to be days that I am not OK and that is fine. At the end of the day we have to fight to not only be a survivor, but a life thriver.
Kelsey, we want to thank you for your participation in Survivor Sunday!
To learn more about Kelsey, visit her Instagram account @thyroidfitnesschic or blog selfiesandsunshine.com