Thyroid Awareness Month



TEN years ago in October…

It was 10 years ago October 30, 2007 that I had prepped for surgery at Mayo Clinic (St. Mary’s Hospital) to have my thyroid removed. I was at the hospital by 6 am and got bumped several times to the point of not getting pulled back for surgery until 6 pm. It was miserable waiting…my husband and mom waiting patiently with me. Me, not so patient.

Ten years ago, I missed my little girls’ Halloween – Allison was 6 and a “biker girl” and Olivia was 3 and a Care Bear.

Ten years ago, I thought my health would get so much better. Having a thyroid removed was no big deal, meds would take care of it, and I had the “easy” cancer, anyway. That’s what most of the doctors and nurses told me. It was Mayo after all.

I thought wrong.

I had my whole thyroid removed as well as about 30 lymph nodes. The diagnosis was Metastatic Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma – the “easy” one.

Since then, I’ve had countless changes in medications with all the symptoms that come with that. I swear it takes like 6 months to feel somewhat human again.

I’ve had 4 PET scans, 3-4 Whole Body Scans, 12 Ultrasounds, numerous thyroid blood checks, 2 Radioactive Iodine treatments, 1 Radioactive Iodine diagnostic dose, and another surgery to remove malignant lymph nodes.

Now, I don’t really know what’s going on…I have never received that “clean bill of health” and I don’t even know if the medical world does that anymore. I have constantly had tumor markers elevated – low and high – when there really shouldn’t be any markers at all when you don’t have a thyroid gland. I’m in this weird place of the unknown and mostly try not to worry. That’s difficult when testing indicates “there could be lung involvement.”

This has messed with my mind even more than my body. I’ve had 3 or 4 backslides into thyroid HELL throughout this journey where I feel I’m starting from the day I walked out of the hospital with no thyroid gland.

It caused me to quit a job I loved as a teacher. I was given 2 weeks to recover and go back to work. Well, I did that because they said that’s what I should do. It sucked. I barely remember that entire year. But I busted my ass to do it and do it well and I don’t believe I did it well. That was a huge blow because I had been a great teacher! This happened time and time again…believe me, if you think teaching is easy, you have another thing coming. It’s just that most good teachers make it looks so easy! I couldn’t do it anymore.

I was too stubborn to give up. I persisted. Not well at times but nonetheless…here I am. I resigned from teaching. I went back to school to become a board certified and licensed nutritionist so that I could help people, who like me, were struggling and who hit their Rock Bottom. I had found a way through this time of HELL to feel better. It CAN and WILL happen if you learn how to do it and be your own advocate.

When I talk to people, I really, really do get it. It’s the same but in a different way. I still struggle. I’m not perfect. I eat like crap sometimes. I may or may not struggle with drinking poison in the form of Dt Mountain Dew – it’s my crack. I’m either on or off it. I truly have learned a lifetime of health lessons in 10 years. And, I did it on my own. My goal is to shortcut that for others.

I believe I am well. I don’t think thyroid cancer is going to take me. It just really sucks A LOT at times – more mentally than physically, actually. I am OK. I have had some hard issues to deal with in the last year. But you have to keep on keeping on. Otherwise, what’s the point of this awesome life?!

My journey into health has been a long one but it all started with learning about what I was eating and how it impacted my health. I then learned how to make adjustments and have improved my nutrition dramatically and my health has as well. I’ve got a plan to help you, too. This plan has developed over the years as I began to heal myself through nutrition. The result is a self-paced, online program called The Beginner’s Guide To Whole Food Eating. Click here to learn more.

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