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With September being Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month, I thought sharing a personal story would be a great opportunity to raise awareness about thyroid cancer and Jenna’s story does a very good job of this.
She experienced thyroid cancer at the very young age of just thirteen-years-old.
Written by Jenna, Thyroid Cancer Patient
My Teenage Thyroid Cancer Experience
In 2016, I went to the doctors for a regular visit and check-up. Everything was normal, but my doctor noticed something.
She said my thyroid gland felt enlarged, so she wanted me to get blood work and an ultrasound done. I was initially diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Hashimoto’s caused me to have symptoms such as weight gain, fatigue, temperature changes and more, but that was nothing compared to what was coming next.
The ultrasound revealed that I had two nodules. The one on the left was very small, and not concerning. The nodule on the right however was very alarming. The boarder of the nodule was irregular, and it was calcified. Because the nodule looked suspicious, the doctors wanted me to have a second ultrasound to get some more answers.
That day changed my life forever. I will never forget the doctor telling me, “This is highly suspicious of thyroid cancer.”
They found two swollen lymph nodes, which was very concerning. I had a biopsy, and it was confirmed that I did indeed have Thyroid Cancer. I was only thirteen.
I had a full thyroidectomy, some lymph nodes removed, and Radioactive Iodine to ablate my thyroid gland. It was a very difficult journey, especially being so young. Most people are diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer in their forties and fifties, but I was a teenager.
I didn’t really have anyone to relate to or look up to at the time because Thyroid Cancer in children is not common. It was so hard mentally, but it was even harder a couple months after my treatment was over. I remember sitting in my room crying because I was so sad. There were so many mental scars and having a scar on your neck and having to take hormones every morning is a constant reminder about your battle.
It has taken me a long time to realise that things do get better, and that’s just with time. Time heals everything. Cancer sucks and sometimes I wonder what life would be like if I never had it. But then I look back at all the amazing opportunities I’ve had because of it and honestly, I wouldn’t trade my battle for it. One of the opportunities it’s given me is to connect with Paediatric Thyroid Cancer patients and other thyroid cancer patients, which has been so therapeutic. They say there is always light at the end of the tunnel, and there absolutely is. I am doing great now.
I created my instagram, @pediatricthyroid, and it is the best thing I’ve ever done. I’ve connected with so many Paediatric Thyroid Patients, and it has been so therapeutic. I want to be there for all the kids that are going through their thyroid battle too. I don’t want children to feel alone; I want to be the person they can look up to.
Connecting with so many people that have gone through the same thing as me is just incredible. September is Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month and my mission is to spread Thyroid Cancer Awareness, especially Paediatric.
by Jenna, Thyroid Cancer Patient
If you would like to submit a guest post, whether you’re a thyroid patient, doctor or anyone else, please get in contact.
Did you know that children can have thyroid cancer too?
Rachel Hill is the highly ranked and multi-award winning thyroid patient advocate, writer, speaker and author behind The Invisible Hypothyroidism. Her thyroid advocacy work includes writing articles, authoring books, producing her Thyroid Family email newsletters and speaking on podcasts, as well as being a founding board member for the American College of Thyroidology. She is well-recognised as a crucial contributor to the thyroid community and has a large social media presence. Her books include “Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate” and “You, Me and Hypothyroidism”.