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My Journey With Thyroid Cancer: Diagnosis to Follow-Up Procedures

I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 1999. Since then, I've learned more about the thyroid, and thyroid cancer, than I ever cared to.

My thyroidectomy scar

My thyroidectomy scar

Everything You Need to Know About Thyroid Cancer

I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 1999. Little did I know I was about to learn more about the thyroid—and thyroid cancer—than I ever cared to. It has been a long road, and I have learned so much along the way. I hope by sharing my journey with this disease with you, it will help you with yours.

When My Doctor First Suspected Cancer

Back in the fall of 1998, I went for a regular physical examination. My doctor was feeling around my throat when she asked, "Have you ever noticed this lump in your neck?" I replied, "You said something about that last year." So she told me that I needed to go see an ear, nose, and throat specialist (ENT). She said it was probably nothing to worry about, but that I should get it checked out.

It took a couple of months before I got an appointment with the specialist. He was a great doctor, and he examined me thoroughly. He found what he believed was a nodule on my neck, and he told me that he thought I might have thyroid cancer. I just looked at him in disbelief! I think perhaps when you hear the word "cancer" that it feels as if your life stops at that point. I suppose it is the shock, especially when you aren't expecting to hear anything like that.

I was scheduled for some x-rays and sonograms. These tests determined that I had a two nodules in my thyroid gland.

What Is a Thyroid Gland?

Your thyroid is a gland that is located in your neck. It lays against and around your larynx, and is about where your Adam's apple is located (if you are a man). It is shaped somewhat like a butterfly, with the lobes of the thyroid being the butterfly's "wings." The two lobes are connected by the isthmus, which can change in shape and size.

The thyroid gland controls how you feel and how your body functions. It produces hormones that circulate in your blood throughout the rest of your body.

One of the main effects of thyroid hormones is to regulate your body's metabolism. In other words, how your body metabolizes carbohydrate, protein, and fat. This is why some people who have weight problems can attribute the gain or loss to low or high thyroid hormone.

The thyroid hormones also regulate your growth and development; and physical and mental development and function. It also affects your heart rate.

My Thyroid Gland Biopsy

Fine Needle Aspiration

The next step was for me to have a biopsy of the nodule on my thyroid gland. This is called a "fine needle aspiration." I was sent to yet another specialist for this. I laid on a table, and the nurse brought in what appeared to be an extremely huge needle. This was to deaden the area where the biopsy was to take place.

It was a horrible experience! The nurse slowly injected the anesthetic, and I had a really difficult time staying still! The biopsy? It was a piece of cake after that. The doctor simply inserted the needle through the skin into the nodule, and withdrew a bit of it.

It took a week or so to get the results, and they believed that yes, I did have thyroid cancer. I was referred back to the ENT specialist to discuss my options.

What Is Thyroid Cancer?

Thyroid cancer is the most common endocrine cancer. It is defined as a malignant tumor or growth originating within the thyroid gland. It is also called thyroid carcinoma. It is one of the few cancers that has increased in incidence over recent years. More than 48,000 people were newly diagnosed with thyroid cancer in the United States in 2011, and more than 200,000 people were newly diagnosed worldwide in the same year.

Thyroid cancer occurs across all age groups, but is more common in people age 20 to 55. It is common more often in women in than men.

The cause of thyroid cancer is unknown. However, you will have a higher chance of getting thyroid cancer if you were exposed to large amounts of radiation during childhood, or received radiation treatment for medical problems in the head and neck area at a young age. The cancer may not occur until 20 years or more after the radiation exposure. Most people who have thyroid cancer, however, were never exposed to radiation.

Thyroid cancer is highly treatable if diagnosed early. Prognosis depends on a number of factors, including:

  • Type of thyroid cancer (there are 4 types)
  • Size of the tumor
  • Whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body
  • Your age at the time of diagnosis

I was 39 years old when diagnosed with papillary/follicular thyroid cancer. This puts me in the right age and sex category, and like most people, I was not exposed to radiation when I was young. I guess I was just (un)lucky!

Decision to Have a Thyroidectomy

The ENT told me that it would be best if I had a total thyroidectomy. This is where the whole thyroid gland is removed. Some people only have part of it taken out, but there is always a chance of recurrence. Depending on what was found after surgery, I might have to have radiation.

Of course, he had to tell me about the complications of surgery:

  • Raspy voice (he said I might sound like Demi Moore)
  • Possible loss of voice
  • If they cut in the wrong place, I might not be able to swallow and/or breathe
  • Low calcium levels in the blood, if the parathyroid glands are damaged during the procedure.
  • Infections and bleeding

I have to admit, this list of potential complications scared me a lot. Mostly, I was scared of being put to sleep by the surgery and never waking up. After all, I was only 39, and had big plans for my 40th birthday!

So the next thing I did was get a second opinion. I had another fine needle biopsy, and this time, without the area being deadened. It didn't hurt near as much as the first one did. The results, however, were still the same—and so I decided to go with the surgery.

Removal of My Thyroid Gland

The surgery wasn't as bad as I expected. I arrived at the hospital early in the morning, got into my gown, and was knocked out pretty quickly. I don't remember what happened at all! However, when I did awaken, I was in pretty bad pain and was receiving morphine through an IV. When I reached up to my neck, I found the wound covered with steri-strips.

The doctor came in,and told me that they had found papillary cancer with a follicular variant. They removed the entire thyroid, in addition to one of my parathyroid glands. Everything looked good, and I should be out of the hospital the next day.

(As an aside to this story... I was released the next day, and I had a good afternoon. I woke up in the night coughing, and I couldn't breathe. A friend took me to the emergency room, where I was seen by a doctor. He said I looked fine, and sent me home. Two days later I was back in the ER, and learned I had pneumonia! I spent the next 4 days in the hospital recovering from that.)

Four Types of Thyroid Cancer

There are four types of thyroid cancer:

  • Papillary thyroid cancer is the most common type of thyroid cancer. It accounts for about 80% of all thyroid cancers. It generally grows very slowly, but can often spread to lymph nodes in the neck. It also can spread elsewhere in the body.
  • Follicular thyroid cancer accounts for about 10-15% of all thyroid cancers. Follicular thyroid cancers usually do not spread to the lymph nodes, but in some cases can spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs or bones.
  • Medullary thyroid cancer accounts for 5-7% of all thyroid cancers. Medullary thyroid cancer is easier to treat and control if found before it spreads to other parts of the body. Sometimes it spreads before a thyroid nodule is discovered. The treatment for this type of thyroid cancer is surgery. The long-term prognosis is not as positive as it is for papillary or follicular thyroid cancer.
  • Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma is the least common type of thyroid cancer. It accounts for only 1-2% of all thyroid cancers. It is seen more commonly in people over age 60 than in younger people. In many people, it is seen together with other forms of thyroid cancer. This rarest type of thyroid cancer is difficult to control and treat because it is very aggressive and can spread rapidly within the neck and to other parts of the body.

What Are Radioactive Iodine Ablation Treatments?

Some people, like me, receive radioactive iodine treatments after surgery. This treatment is also known as Radioiodine, I-131 or RAI. The treatment gets rid of any remaining cancer cells or tissue that the surgeon might have missed, or that are located in other parts of the body. This is a painless, but very strange, procedure.

If RAI is part of your treatment, you will probably receive it between 3 and 6 weeks after your surgery. You will swallow the RAI in the form of either one or more capsules (pills) or a liquid. RAI works because the thyroid gland needs iodine and absorbs it from the bloodstream. When you swallow the RAI (the isotope I-131), it goes through your bloodstream to your thyroid tissue. The radiation destroys thyroid cells, both cancerous and normal thyroid cells, with minimal effects on the rest of your body.

The dosage of I-131 used for ablation is measured in millicuries. The dose for remnant ablation may range from 30 millicuries to 100 millicuries. Sometimes the dose is higher (100 to 200 millicuries) for people with more extensive disease. The first time I had RAI treatments, the dosage of I-131 was 100 millicuries. The second time, it was 150.

thyroid-cancer-information

Radioactive Iodine Ablation Procedure

This type of radiation treatment is different than most, because it is internal. It is also one of the strangest things I have ever experienced.

Most people have this done in the hospital, mainly because you are highly radiated. When you enter the hospital, you have to give up your clothes, and wear a hospital gown and slippers. Everything in your hospital room is covered with plastic wrap, including the toilet seat, faucets, telephone, and flooring.

Someone from the Nuclear Medicine department will bring you your dosage. It is usually in a metal box, and only you can touch it. Swallow the dosage, and then be prepared to wait it out. You will probably not feel different, although you will have a slight metallic taste in your mouth.

When the staff brings you a meal, it is on disposable plates. It will probably be a low iodine diet, as iodine can mess up your RAI. After eating, you'll throw everything away yourself (no hospital staff to wait on you!). I had two bags in my room, with radiation markings on them.

Now, the best way to get out of the hospital is to take a lot of showers. And I mean a lot! Every hour or so, hop in and wash off. Any radioactive iodine that is not sucked up by the cancer or thyroid cells will be lost through perspiration. Your goal is to get it out of your system so you can go home.

Potential Side Effects

  • A burning sensation or tenderness in the neck area
  • Nausea and upset stomach
  • Swelling and tenderness of the salivary glands
  • Taste changes (usually temporary)
  • Dry mouth
  • Reduction in tear production

I always believed, upon leaving my hospital room, that I must glow in the dark from all of the radiation!

Precautions To Take After RAI

After you leave the hospital, there are precautions you have to take in order to not expose others to your radiation:

  • You must stay at least 3 feet away from everyone for approximately 5 days. This includes your pets. And do not kiss anyone!
  • If you are in the car or on public transportation, do not sit next to anyone for more than an hour. If you are in the car, sit in the back, behind the passengers seat.
  • You should sleep in a separate room, or at least 6 feet away from any other person. Use separate bath towels and launder these and all of your other clothing separately for one week.
  • Use separate eating utensils or disposable eating utensils. Wash eating utensils separately for one week. Do not prepare food for others.
  • Rinse the sink and tub thoroughly after using them. Shower every day.
  • Wash your hands with soap and plenty of water every time you use the toilet. Flush the toilet each time you use it, and wash the toilet seat.
  • If you need to travel by plane or other transportation after receiving RAI, carry an information card or letter of explanation from your doctor. This is because radiation detection devices used at airports, bus and train stations, trash collection sites, and some international borders and in some buildings may detect low radiation levels. Carry the card or letter with you for at least 3 months after receiving RAI.

Follow-Up to RAI Treatment

Between 2 and 10 days after your RAI treatment, you will have a whole body scan, which is also known as an I-131 scan. You will have this scan in the nuclear medicine department of the hospital or community radiology center. It usually takes between 30 minutes and hour.

Fully clothed, you'll lie still on a narrow bed that moves slowly through a scanner. Some of the newer scanners actually do the moving, and the bed lies still. A monitor will be above your head showing your progress. Unfortunately, since you cannot move, it's tough to see what is happening.

Normally, you won't know the results of your scan until your next doctor appointment. However, in some centers, a nuclear medicine doctor will meet with you afterwards for the result.

About 98% of people who have the scan show a small amount of thyroid tissue. This is because it is difficult for the surgeons to remove every tiny bit of your thyroid. If you see "normal uptake in the neck" in your results, this is what they are referring to. The scan will also show uptake in your salivary glands and digestive tract, and will also provide information about whether and where there is any remaining thyroid cancer.

Levothyroxine

Levothyroxine

Thyroid Hormone Replacement Therapy

Since your thyroid was removed surgically, you will receive thyroid hormone replacement therapy (levothyroxine) for the rest of your life. You will have to have blood tests periodically to determine your TSH, T3 and T4 levels. This is what your dosage will be based on.

Levothyroxine comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It usually is taken once a day on an empty stomach, about an hour before breakfast.

There are a lot of drugs that you cannot take at the same time as Levothyroxine. Some of these are antacids and iron tablets. Your doctor or pharmacist will tell you how to take all of your medicines.

After you take this medication for awhile, you'll learn what dosage makes you feel "normal", and also when to tell your doctor you need a change. Hair loss, cold intolerance and unexplained weight gain are all signals that your dosage might need to be changed.

Unfortunately, not all doctors will listen when you feel you need a change. If you've had thyroid cancer, your TSH level is different than someone who has thyroid disease. It's best to find a doctor who specializes in thyroid cancer, as he/she will have a better understanding of what you require.

Follow-Up Procedures: Blood Tests and Scans

Blood Tests

During the first year after your treatment, your physician will order blood tests several times to make sure you are on the right dosage of levothyroxine. Blood testing also helps monitor for persistent or recurrent cancer. Make certain to ask for your results, and keep track of them in a notebook.

After the first year, your doctor may order blood tests less often. Make sure to ask for one on your own if you are feeling tired, cold, or are gaining weight. This is a good indicator that you need to either raise or lower your dosage.

You will have these blood tests for the rest of your life, so get used to it!

The prognosis for any person with a recurrence is better if it is discovered early. This is why life-long monitoring is important.

Other Tests and Scans

Your doctor will determine what other types of procedures you will need for the rest of your life. These tests and scans include:

  • Physical neck examination, including feeling the thyroid bed area. Typically, this is done every 3 to 6 months for the first 2 years, and at least once a year thereafter.
  • Neck ultrasound
  • RAI Whole Body Scan (for people with papillary or follicular thyroid cancer, or a variant. ) This is somewhat like the ablation, but you don't have to stay in the hospital. First, you'll quit taking your levothyroxine for about 6 weeks. By the time you start feeling really crummy, you'll go to the Nuclear Medicine department at your hospital, where you'll receive a dosage of radioactive iodine. 3-4 days later, you'll report back to the hospital for the scan. Keep in mind that you will have to stay away from others during this time.
  • CT scan, particularly of the head and neck and/or the chest.
  • MRI of the head and neck and/or the chest.
  • PET/CT scan
  • Chest X-ray - normally for low-risk patients whose initial cancer was treated via a lobectomy.

Make certain you get the results from all tests, and write them in your notebook. You will be surprised how often you refer back to them.

Thyroid Cancer: A Life-Long Journey

It has been 15 years since I was initially diagnosed with thyroid cancer. For the most part, I am doing fine. My last whole body scan was done in 2005. I was supposed to have one the next year, but lost my insurance, and couldn't afford it.

I do have blood tests every 6 months or so, mainly to get my levothyroxine prescription renewed. Almost every time, it has to be adjusted. Sometimes I have to fight with the doctors about it, when I'm not feeling "just right." It's just one of those things you have to live with... and I'm thankful every day that I have that opportunity!

In late 2013, my primary care physician ordered a whole body PET/CT scan, that showed possible cancerous cells in the thyroid bed. A follow-up CAT scan of just the neck area did not detect any abnormalities. However, there was a lesion on one of my tonsils, and I'm now following up on this. When you've had radiation of any type (especially external beam radiation), it's possible for it to cause cancer in other places approximately 20 years later.

As of May 2014, it looks as if the lesion is gone on my tonsils. This is good, because the only way to learn if you have cancer in your tonsils is to have them removed. This is not a good surgery when you are an adult! After 3 visits to have it checked out, I'm now free to go on my way for another year.

As for the possible cancer cells in my thyroid bed, I'm still working on that. The doctor wants a re-check in 6 months. When I get a clear go-ahead, or have more tests or treatments, I'll let you know.

Additional Resources

If you, or someone you know, has been diagnosed with thyroid disease, you'll need as much information as you can find! Here are some additional resources to help you on your journey:

  • Thyroid Cancer Survivors Organization
    This organization has a great deal of information on all types of thyroid cancer, and what to expect before and after treatment. They also have a yearly survivors conference. I attended one year, and learned much more than my doctor - or any book -
  • American Thyroid Association
    More indepth information and up-to-date clinical information on the types and treatment of thyroid cancer. A good place to start if you are looking for a thyroid cancer specialist!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Questions & Answers

Question: My daughter had her cancerous thyroid removed in August. Allison is 23 and is now having unexplained anger, mood swings, and fatigue. Is that normal? She's also left her husband.

Answer: It might be a complication from her thyroidectomy. Her TSH levels may be out of whack. I suggest she make an appointment with her doctor to have her levels checked. Please make sure she tells her doctor about all of her symptoms so they can be addressed.

Question: What's the chance of gaining weight? I'm 30 and having my right side taken out due to thyroid cancer.

Answer: The thyroid is one of the organs that can affect weight loss or gain, so without it, you'll need thyroid replacement therapy. A doctor will check your hormone levels fairly frequently. If you begin gaining weight, your levels are too low. If you lose weight, they are too high. It will take a bit of tweaking to get the levels right, so hang in there!

Thank you for reading about my journey!

Joanie on November 12, 2016:

HI! I was just diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer this week, and am just starting to try to find out information. My experience with diagnosis was very similar to yours. I know I need surgery to remove my thyroid, and then take the radioactive iodine pills. Just don't have anything scheduled yet. Your experience is very helpful. I'm nervous, but hopeful that everything will turn out okay. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Country Sunshine (author) from Texas on August 05, 2015:

I hope all goes well with you, Chanel! Let me know how it turns out!

Country Sunshine (author) from Texas on June 22, 2015:

I hope it all works out well for you, Laura! The initial shock of being diagnosed is the worst part. It can only get better from there!

Laura on June 21, 2015:

Thank you for sharing all the information. I've been diagnosed with papillary carcinoma at the end of april 2015 and have had a total thyroidectomy two weeks ago. I hope you're feeling better and I really want to thank you for sharing your experience.

Country Sunshine (author) from Texas on May 17, 2014:

@jenny-gibbons-906: Jenny, how are you doing, now that you had the RAI? Please post here to let me know how your treatments are progressing!

gottaloveit2 on March 12, 2014:

I'm totally impressed with the vast amount of information you packed into this one article. I'll bet you've save a few lives by writing of your own experience. Amazing article.

jenny-gibbons-906 on February 01, 2014:

Thanks for sharing so many details. I had a total thyroidectomy for papillary carcinoma on Dec. 18th. I am scheduled to have my RAI this Wednesday, Feb. 5th. I am receiving 100 millicuries. I had 9 lymph nodes positive so I am anxious to see results of my body scan after the treatment. Praying this will all be behind me soon. Have a blessed week. Jenny

Country Sunshine (author) from Texas on January 30, 2014:

@LaraineRoses: I don't think many people realize how much a thyroid does for the body. Yes, you can easily die when one quits functioning. So glad to hear it was caught in the nick of time! My dosage is currently .137 (down from .15 a couple of months ago). I too have problems with small veins. It's the worst part now... they have to dig for them, and quite frankly, it hurts! Glad to know that you are still alive and kicking. Hang in there!

Country Sunshine (author) from Texas on January 30, 2014:

@MariannesWhims: Thank you! Luckily, my world is always full of sunshine. This is just a bump in the road. :-)

Country Sunshine (author) from Texas on January 30, 2014:

@MarcellaCarlton: I wish I had known all of these things when I was diagnosed! Having knowledge gives you power, especially when undergoing scary circumstances! Thank you so much for the visit and comment. Much appreciated!

katiecolette on January 30, 2014:

Sorry to hear that you will have to be on thyroid hormone replacement therapy for the rest of your life but glad you are doing well. Thanks for sharing this very personal experience.

MarcellaCarlton on January 30, 2014:

This is a great lens for people experiencing thyroid problems. May God bless you for using your illness to enlighten others to an ever growing challenge.

Laraine Sims from Lake Country, B.C. on January 29, 2014:

A most interesting account! I am one of the ones who lost my thyroid due to radiation exposure. I almost died before my doctor found out was wrong with me. It was 23 years ago when I was diagnosed with severe hypothyroidism and as you mentioned every 3 months I still have to have a blood test (that is the worst as my veins are not easily found.) Although I know more doctors are aware of the symptoms of thyroid problems these days, I truly believe that many still don't have a clue. Visiting care homes on a regular basis over the past two years has convinced me that many there with what is considered to be dimentia really have low thyroid function. My case was one of the first the doctors (and nurses) had ever experienced in this area. To think that it is all taken care of with one small pill! My My (My dosage is .15mg now which is probably the dosage you need to take.)

In my case my thyroid just stopped working .. there was no pain experienced. How scary it must have been to have the operation to remove it!! It is true, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going!"

This is a great lens and well deserving of LotD! Many blessings.

Country Sunshine (author) from Texas on January 29, 2014:

@kislanyk: I was on Armour Thyroid (desiccated thyroid) for awhile, but didn't feel any different than on Synthroid/Levothyroxine. The doctor I have now, in this tiny rural area, only prescribes levo, so that's what I'm taking now. I think it's a matter of personal preference, and what is available to you. Thanks for the comments, they are much appreciated!

Country Sunshine (author) from Texas on January 29, 2014:

@Lynn Klobuchar: Thank you! Positive thoughts certainly help, no matter what a person is facing!

Country Sunshine (author) from Texas on January 29, 2014:

@Janet2221: The biopsy isn't fun, but it doesn't take all that long. From what I remember, it only hurt while it was happening, and not afterwards. Good luck to you... I hope the nodule turns out benign!

Fay Favored from USA on January 29, 2014:

So glad that the recent test came back normal. I appreciate your sharing all the details here. My father had this many years ago. Praise God he is now 84!

Heidi Vincent from GRENADA on January 29, 2014:

Thanks for saharing this very personal experience, CountrySunshine, on a very useful topic! I wish you perfect health in 2014 and beyond!

Delia on January 29, 2014:

Congratulations on LOTD! I had commented a couple of months ago, but can't seem find it here? Great informative lens. I Pray all will be well with you... I am a (papilloma carcinoma) thyroid cancer survivor for 26 years.

Janet2221 on January 29, 2014:

Thanks for sharing your story. I have nodules on my thyroid as well and have had a biopsy in the past. Thankfully the biopsy came out benign. However, now I have more nodules and there is one they want to to take a look at. I am not looking forward to having another biopsy since as you say it is not a pleasant experience. But, it has to be done.

Lynn Klobuchar on January 29, 2014:

Quite the journey. Thanks for sharing with us what must have been terrifying and disheartening. So glad to hear you on on your fifteenth year post-op.Positive thought coming your way for all future follow-ups.

Titia Geertman from Waterlandkerkje - The Netherlands on January 29, 2014:

Oh WOW, that's a whole lot your were/are going through. I really hope these last tests will come out fine for you. Thanks for sharing your story, it sure might help others.

Renee Dixon from Kentucky on January 29, 2014:

Wishing you a great 2014, enjoyed reading your story!

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on January 29, 2014:

Hope that you're doing well and wishing you all the best.

floppypoppygift1 on January 29, 2014:

Great resource for people! Thank you for sharing your harrowing experience :)! Cheers~cb

Marika from Cyprus on January 29, 2014:

I'm really happy for you that it all went well. I do have, however, I few notes that I'd like to mention related to this.

First of all, Levothyroxine/Synthoid is a bad choice for thyroid medication. I know that it's what doctors routinely prescribe, however if you really want to feel better on a thyroid replacement medication, you should definitely look into NDT - natural desiccated thyroid. Many people who are taking the 'syncrap' as it's called (synthetic 'crap' - not my naming, it's well known among natural health lovers) are developing lots of other problems over the years. You should really look into it - and I won't give a website name or anything, but just google for 'stop the thyroid madness' - and enjoy the journey :)

Second, give iodine - Lugol's iodine a try - google the name Stephanie Buist and Lynne Farrow - they both beat thyroid cancer with high doses of iodine. I've been on it for several months now, and I wouldn't imagine my life without it.

Third - congrats on a well deserved LOTD!

SteveKaye on January 29, 2014:

Thank you for publishing this story. I'm sure it will help many who have to deal with such issues.

It's amazing how our vocabulary increases as we age. Notice the list of new words that you learned because of this experience.

Congratulations on receiving the LOTD - and more importantly - being here.

Joanie Ruppel from Keller, Texas on January 29, 2014:

Thank you for this informative lens. I have hypothyroidism and like you said, have been on a pill for 24 years. It does get adjusted occasionally but one time that was very important was during my last pregnancy. I had to go every month for a blood test and sure enough, my levels changed often. I also had a parathyroid removed last year. So combined with your information, I feel more armed in case I get a new diagnosis in this area of my body. Thanks, well deserved LOTD.

Merry Citarella from Oregon's Southern Coast on January 29, 2014:

Thank you for sharing your journey with us Country Sunshine. It had to be a scary time for you. Hopefully it will stay that way and the current test will prove ok. Excellent lens--congrats on LotD.

LotusLandry from Southern California on January 29, 2014:

I had .a similar cancer in 2006. I was not isolated for my RAI. I was able to use Thyrogen for some of my imaging. I maintain my health with ultra sounds and blood testing.

Samantha Lynn from Missouri on January 29, 2014:

Fantastic story, so glad you made it thru!

Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on January 29, 2014:

Back to read through this interesting information again (interesting to me since there's so much cancer in my family, including thyroid cancer in my niece) but especially to congratulate you on your well-deserved Lens of the Day! Continued good health you, always!

Stephen J Parkin from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada on January 29, 2014:

This type of lens is really helpful to anyone who suspects they may have the disease. Very often we go into denial and do not seek out the help we need. I know that I for one tend to fall into that category.

If this lens gets just one person to talk to their doctor in time it will have paid for the effort you took to write it many times over. Well done on a great lens and the well deserved LOTD!

Faye Rutledge from Concord VA on January 29, 2014:

Thanks for sharing your story. Congratulations on LotD!

chrisilouwho on January 29, 2014:

This is full of really useful information, thanks for sharing.

tonyleather on January 29, 2014:

What an incredible and informative lens! You have undergone something I hope I never have to, and come out the other side still intact. Well done!

Eugene Samuel Monaco from Lakewood New York on January 29, 2014:

A very detailed lens, I hope it helps other people, I wish you the best of luck going forward. Congratulations on LOTD!!

Bidnessetc on January 29, 2014:

Really an information and also helpful for future generation

JayPlant on January 29, 2014:

Living in Japan, thyroid cancer has been a big concern. I'm glad to know it's not the worst kind! Thanks for the great post.

shauna1934 on January 29, 2014:

Thank you for such a great informative lens on thyroid cancer. This is the kind of information those new to thyroid cncer want to see.

shauna1934 on January 29, 2014:

Very thourough and informtive. Thank you for such a great resource.

VioletteRose LM on January 28, 2014:

I never knew that we should not take antacids or iron tablets with thyroid medication, thank you for telling this!

Michael Yoshinaka from Honolulu, Hawaii on January 28, 2014:

Great lens. I also had thyroid cancer (benign) and had it removed about the same time you did. I am on Levothyroxine as well and did the whole radioactive iodine drink. Glad you are doing fine like me. I get regular checkups on how my dosage is doing. Thanks for sharing. I still wonder how I might have gotten it. Maybe an incident in High School in film development class I had accidentally inhaled the chemical being used? My throat burned after that for a few days.

Delia on January 11, 2014:

Very informative...I can relate to all that has happened to you, I had Papillary Carcinoma when I turned 47 I've been cancer free for many years. I pray all is well with you.

Lorelei Cohen on January 11, 2014:

Hope you are doing well. Best wishes for an amazing 2014.

darciefrench lm on January 12, 2013:

So happy to hear you lived through thyroid cancer to tell the story! A friend of mine's sister had it when she was very young - 18 or so. Many blessings to you and yours.

Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on December 26, 2012:

A niece had thyroid cancer when she was in college. She's four years out now and doing great. Very glad to hear that you're 12 years out now. Praying that you continue with no problems forevermore! Very informative lens. Thank you!

Country Sunshine (author) from Texas on December 20, 2012:

@SororPeregrina: I wish the best for you on your journey! I hope it isn't malignant, but if it is, the radioactive treatment isn't all that bad. At least it doesn't hurt! Good luck!

SororPeregrina on December 20, 2012:

Thank you for all the information. I just had a total thyroidectomy yesterday (18 December 2012) owing to a Hurthle cell neoplasm, and it will be another week or so before I find out if it's malignant. Not looking forward to the radioactive iodine treatment if it is!!!!

Magda2012 on December 01, 2012:

Thanks for sharing about this. very good information about thyroid cancer.

Country Sunshine (author) from Texas on November 22, 2012:

@JenwithMisty: So sorry to hear about your friend's mom. I hope she has a good doctor... and a positive attitude definitely helps. Wish her luck!

Jen withFlash on November 22, 2012:

Thanks for sharing your story! My friend's mom just found out that she has anaplastic thyroid cancer.

LynetteBell from Christchurch, New Zealand on November 20, 2012:

Thank you for sharing.

Country Sunshine (author) from Texas on November 11, 2012:

@victoriahaneveer: Cancer isn't always the death sentence it was so many years ago. Just having a positive attitude about the whole experience helps a lot. I wish the best for you and your parents!

victoriahaneveer on November 11, 2012:

Wow you're brave to have gotten thru this and lovely for sharing. Both my parents are fighting cancer right now. I think keeping positive is so important.

Country Sunshine (author) from Texas on November 05, 2012:

@tvyps: Ah, so you are part of the synthetic thyroid hormone club, like me! Better than having cancer, but can be a pain in the neck!

Thanks for the visit & blessing!

DeboraR on October 30, 2012:

Great article! Thyroid disease is hereditary in my family. Several family members are on medication for it.

DeboraR on October 30, 2012:

I've been taking thyroid meds since 1998. I was first diagnosed with hyperthyroid, had one dose of RAI and been on meds for hypothyroid since. The worst thing for me about having the RAI was my son was only 4 and I couldn't hold him for fear of the radiation affecting his thyroid.

Country Sunshine (author) from Texas on October 28, 2012:

@anonymous: Good luck to you on your journey with thyroid cancer! Just because you have cancer, doesn't mean your life is over. Thanks for the visit and comment!

anonymous on October 28, 2012:

Thank you very much in your article(im sorry my grammar and spellings im not good) i learn and i understand what i have done because i treat here in france that the can't explain me english well,i done same what you have now my question is answerd thank you very very much long live for us,thank lord

Country Sunshine (author) from Texas on October 19, 2012:

@anonymous: Thanks for the kind comments! If you have any more questions, let me know. I'm sure I left some things out!

anonymous on October 18, 2012:

Thank you so much for sharing your story and doing so in such a simple to understand way. I really appreciate it. You've answered more of my questions with this one article than all my previous hours of research and questioning of docs combined. Thank YOU!

renoveau on August 30, 2012:

My aunt has had this for about 5 years now, on and off... I guess she hasn't been so lucky she currently has it again... it can be devastating.

Country Sunshine (author) from Texas on August 27, 2012:

@Diana Wenzel: Half of the battle is the attitude, and refusing to give up! I hope your mother's treatments work for her. Keep in mind that she'll be a bit flaky from the surgeries & treatments... not having a thyroid can really mess with your mind & body!

Renaissance Woman from Colorado on August 26, 2012:

Stopping back by to leave a blessing. I may have mentioned before that my mother is going through this right now. She has one of the more aggressive forms of thyroid cancer. Thankful you are doing well and helping others by sharing your journey. It is encouraging.

Country Sunshine (author) from Texas on August 18, 2012:

@BLemley: Life is an amazing journey, and while tough things can be thrown your way, a positive outlook can get you far. I made it through, so I feel I should share what I learned along the way to possibly help out others.

Thank you for the visit, comment and Angel blessing. It means a lot!

Beverly Lemley from Raleigh, NC on August 18, 2012:

Wow, my heart and prayers go with you, for the journey you have been on. Thanks for a very comprehensive and thorough chat about this and the medical things to expect. You never know when it could be you or a family member who is facing this. Thank you for your positive outlook and thank goodness you are doing great! SqjuidAngel blessed! Watch for angel dust! 0 : )

pawpaw911 on July 24, 2012:

Thanks for sharing your journey. I hope it helps other who go through this.

anonymous on July 08, 2012:

Thanks for sharing your personal story! *Blessed by a Squid Angel!*

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on February 19, 2012:

It would be nice if they could find the key to curing many of the cancers which exist. I know that research has improved greatly and that so very many more people now survive this terrible illness yet it still such a prominent illness in our lives.

Gloria Freeman from Alabama USA on February 17, 2012:

Hi thanks for all the info.I had two sister to die of cancer in less than three months apart, both was young 47 and 49.That was hell for all of us.This all happen about two years ago sometime it fee like it happen yesterday Glad every thing turn out good for you.Cancer is big in my family so I try to read everything I can about it,thanks for sharing .

Renaissance Woman from Colorado on January 17, 2012:

My mother was a newly diagnosed thyroid cancer patient in 2011. She has been through every step mentioned here. I did a great deal of reading and researching about this process when I heard about her latest form of cancer. Thank you for sharing such important information for the benefit of others who are also wondering about thyroid cancer. I wasn't aware of it until our family was dealing with it. Wishing you much good health now and always. Thanks for sharing your journey.

anonymous on January 15, 2012:

When you say, "Everything you want to know about thyroid cancer", you certainly deliver with outstanding and easy to understand information on the types, the treatment and your personal experience...and everything else! Presented with excellence....and blessed!

Country Sunshine (author) from Texas on January 15, 2012:

@River_Rose: So glad to hear that yours was benign, although I'm sure the surgery wasn't fun! I guess you understand the whole thyroid hormone thing... Just something you have to live with! Thanks so much for sharing!

River_Rose on January 15, 2012:

I had half of my thyroid removed with a benign tumor when I was in my early 30's...God Bless you.