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What I Wish I Knew About Getting a Thyroid Cancer Diagnosis

by Justine MartinSurvivor, Thyroid CancerMay 1, 2024View more posts from Justine Martin

I wanted to write about some things I wish knew about thyroid cancer. I just know how scary and frightening a thyroid cancer diagnosis is. I went through thyroid cancer treatment and radioactive iodine treatment for my thyroid cancer. It can be a scary experience for anyone who has a family history of thyroid issues. As a thyroid cancer survivor, it can make you feel a lot of mixed emotions, and it can cause some toxic thoughts. Sometimes it can make me say negative things. I know what it is like to go through thyroid cancer. It can make you feel depressed, lonely, sad, confused, and lost. I started blaming myself for having thyroid cancer. It can make you feel angry, which is hard on everyone who is facing thyroid cancer or any type of cancer. Going through cancer affects your mental health, and it can be hard to not talk about it.

it was hard to know what to say to my friends and my family after I was diagnosed with papillary carcinoma thyroid cancer in 2020. It was shocking, surprising, and scary news. I had a total thyroidectomy surgery. I learned about radioactive iodine treatment for my thyroid cancer treatment and doing the low iodine diet. I dealt with a lot of anxiety and was nervous about going through thyroid cancer treatment. I wondered how it was going to affect my emotions and my mental health. 

If I met someone newly diagnosed with papillary carcinoma thyroid cancer, what would I say to them? It’s OK not to be OK. Ask your endocrinologist lots of questions, like about your diagnosis, symptoms, routine neck checks and ultrasound tests, surgery options, your life after thyroid cancer without a thyroid gland, and how to be confident about your scars. I prayed for God’s help and asked him to give me peace and strength and to help me overcome my fears about cancer. 

What advice would I offer? I would say to someone who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and is going through thyroid cancer treatment not to give up, be brave, be strong, and you can beat it. You are a fighter, a warrior, and an overcomer. I didn’t let fear win over cancer or my faith because Jesus is bigger than my fears surrounding thyroid cancer. For those who are going through radioactive iodine treatment for thyroid cancer, just keep yourself busy. Be prepared for radioactive iodine treatment, scans, and a low-iodine diet. Get ready to isolate yourself after being on the treatment pills, which require a low-iodine diet. Get low-iodine snacks, hard candies, and sour candies, and drink lots of water. Get a journal to write in and ask your oncologist about how to deal with the side effects from radioactive iodine treatment. I didn’t have too many side effects. I had dry mouth and was a little nauseous and constipated.

I want to offer advice about how to share your thyroid cancer story, your thyroid cancer diagnosis, and your thyroid cancer journey like I did. Sharing my thyroid cancer story and my testimony to others who are going through their own cancer journey and treatment gives them hope, peace, and healing through their experience with cancer. 

Remember to always ask for help when you need it.

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