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  • Chloe McElmury

It’s not a sentence, but a story

Christine's Story:

My journey started last year… I went to the doctor for a routine check up and addressed noticing a swollen gland on the right side of my throat and the fact I always felt tired. Thyroid Disease(s) runs in both sides of my family, so I requested the bloodwork. Everything came back normal. The Doctor blamed seasonal allergies–though I’ve never had such allergies or any other symptoms that would point to that.

After two flare ups of extreme fatigue, body aches, fevers and flushing–I decided to switch to an internal medicine doctor for a second opinion, waiting nearly six months for the initial appointment.

Due to my symptoms and learning I have Raynaud’s, she ordered a full panel of bloodwork focused on the Thyroid and autoimmune diseases as well as an Ultrasound of my thyroid.

Weeks later on Memorial Day weekend, I received the phone call. A nurse explained my results showed a suspicious spot on the right lobe, possibly Papillary Thyroid Cancer. She explained it was nothing to let ruin my holiday weekend, but felt I should know. She said “I’ve been a nurse for over 20 years. You are young, and you will get through this. It is one of the most curable cancers, so your outlook is very good.” Still, I was speechless.

From there, by the end of the month I went in for a biopsy which confirmed PTC. My Endo explained it was up to me to decide after discussion to either have surgery to remove the right half of my thyroid, or “watch & wait” for a few months to monitor growth. So I dove into reading and researching statistics, studies, etc. As a 29 year old mom of a toddler, I didn’t want to rush into either decision without knowing as much as possible. I was an otherwise perfectly healthy adult with a healthy thyroid and no history of major surgeries or conditions.

I weighed every option and outcome, and decided to have the surgery in hopes to at least not feel so tired and miserable anymore and give myself a better outcome in the long run.

After surgery–despite all that came with recovery, I felt energized and like myself again! It was a huge relief.

Now a month post-op, I believe I made the right choice. I was informed the spot grew slightly in the less than 2 months from biopsy to surgery, and started creeping into my lymph nodes. One node was taken, as well as the two parathyroid glands on that side.

3% chance it was benign Less than 10% chance of spreading or growth

My advice to everyone is to stop at nothing for your health. Know your body, keep a log of your symptoms when you don’t feel right. Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion if you face a dead end. Know your family medical history. The best way of prevention is through knowledge and awareness. And trust your gut.

You can’t control everything that happens to you, but you have a choice about what you do next.

Find Christine on Instagram @christine.beee

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