Thyroid Cancer – Three Years Later

11 Aug


Three years ago today, I was having my thyroidectomy. Two years ago, I was having my first scans. One year ago today, I was pregnant. On all three occasions, I was frantically worried about my health and my future. Today, I only remembered that I had cancer because my TimeHop app told me so.

Life is crazy that way…so overwhelming when you’re in the moment, and then when you come out on the other side, you barely remember the anguish. I wish someone would invent a TimeHop app that showed you the future. I wish I could go back in time and tell myself more than the doctors were telling me.

Here’s what my fast-forward TimeHop app would have said on August 11, 2011.

In three years, you will be cancer-free. Your scar will be barely noticeable. You will have been on so many different dose combinations of Synthroid and Cytomel, that you will need a storage cabinet for half-used bottles. You will be within five pounds of what you weigh today, but you’ll still obsess about it constantly. You will have a totally different job and career path. You will have THREE beautiful, healthy, perfect daughters who make you laugh every day. Being abnormal will have become so normal, that you will ask questions like “am I cold, or not?” out loud. Having cancer will give you perspective about marriage and motherhood and happiness that you would never trade for your thyroid.

Also, it’s a good thing you like Coldplay, because repeating the same song over and over is the only thing that calms your youngest daughter down enough to sleep.

Three years later, I’m still here. I worry way more about grocery shopping than I do about not having a thyroid. Most days I am too busy to look back. I can’t trade my thyroid cancer because it got me here. And August 11, 2014 is pretty awesome.

13 Responses to “Thyroid Cancer – Three Years Later”

  1. recipesforsustenance August 12, 2014 at 8:06 pm #

    I love this: “Having cancer will give you perspective about marriage and motherhood and happiness that you would never trade for your thyroid.” I agree. Congratulations on 3 years!

  2. Lu October 20, 2014 at 5:05 am #

    So what about your energy levels and mood swings? Are those gone now?

    • Sarah Young October 20, 2014 at 6:19 am #

      I have more good days than bad days, but I definitely still struggle with low energy and mood swings. It is not nearly as bad as it was during my first thyroidless year, though.

  3. Mary Bogaudo November 11, 2014 at 4:44 pm #

    I read your first few entries and then skipped to August 2014. Thank you for the blog it was really encouraging to me. I just had a thyroidectomy because of papillary cancer and will be getting RAI in about 6 weeks. I was put on 25mg cytomel after surgery. It’s been 4days since surgery. Since my pharmacy was out of the 25 mg ccytomel, they gave me 50 mg tablets and told me to cut them in half. The first two days I did that but the third day I forgot and took the whole 50 mg. I felt really good, normal and had energy. Today I took the correct 25 mg dose and feel lethargic. I’m going to call and ask to take 50 mg.but there’s probably a protocol before RAI. I do not look forward to being off Cytomel for two weeks before RAI. Thank you again for sharing your experience.

  4. Kristine December 16, 2014 at 7:00 pm #

    Sarah I read through most of your blog, I’m sorry it was such a rough road. I’m 10 years thyroidless, and I still feel the same up and down of the mood swings, cold, hot, both but you’re right it definitely gives you a new perspective on things, and we are definitely cancer survivors. Congrats on 3 years.

    • Sarah Young December 16, 2014 at 7:22 pm #

      Thank you, Kristine. If nothing else, this experience has re-focused me on the things in life that are truly important. Cheers to 10 years!

      • Danielle January 17, 2015 at 8:44 pm #

        Hi there Sarah Young. I can’t wait for your book to come out~I really hope it comes out soon. You have said so many of the things that I am feeling at this very moment. I have recently been told that large nodule has an 88% chance of papillary cancer; they now are calling it a tumor and it is 1.3″ in diameter located on the ithmus the middle of the thyroid~yay…in the middle. They wanted to remove the entire thyroid but knowing what I know now after doing almost a month of research before getting the affirmed diagnosis, I want to keep as much of my thyroid as possible. So in the first week of February I am going in for a partial thyroidectomy. They will do a frozen cell test to determine for sure if it is cancer. If it is they will do a total thyroidectomy. I am worried like you that I will gain an exorbitant amount of weight. I too at this time have normal thyroid levels, but I have gained 10lbs and can’t lose it, am suffering from depression and mood swings, have thinning hair, am cold all the time, and I’m tired and lethargic one day but fine the next. All this for the past couple of years meanwhile a lump was forming in my thyroid and I had no idea and had no idea for how long. You are an inspiration to me and I’m so glad that you’ve made it ok to have a voice about this. It is not the best cancer, hypothyroidism sucks, and even though you’re cured your quality of life is never the same. Doctors don’t understand this, friends and family don’t understand this and I all I hear from everyone is, “You don’t have a choice.” No I don’t but isn’t that a problem that researchers should be aware of? Shouldn’t they be working on an alternative solution so more thyca patients can keep their thyroid? I’m upset and I still can’t come to terms that this is happening to me. So many wright this off like it’s no big deal because I’ll live. But it is and just because it’s very treatable doesn’t mean it’s no big deal to the many survivors out there. Yes we will survive~ but we will be forever surviving and living the effects of it for the rest of our lives. And that is what so many people don’t understand until they live it themselves. Thank you thank you thank you for sharing your story.

      • Sarah Young January 17, 2015 at 9:36 pm #

        I could not agree with you more…I find it incredibly frustrating that this disease is ignored simply because our life expectancy is fairly good. I have fought tooth and nail to extract the good from this experience, but I miss my thyroid every day. I wish you the best of luck that they give you an all-clear, and that you recover quickly. I wish I would have had a lobectomy…replacement medication seems to work so much better when there is still some thyroid remaining!

        As for my book, there is still much work to do! Three little kids and a full-time job are prolonging the process! But do let me know how you make out.


      • Danielle January 21, 2015 at 8:44 am #

        I really appreciate your response, I will keep in touch about my recovery journey. Let me know if there is anything I can be a part of to raise awareness. I’d like to help. I am a stay at home mom for a while so I do have a little time on my hands. I live in Illinois, but am willing to travel to participate. They need to learn more about how they can save people’s thyroids. It’s so easy to just a give a pill to a patient, but what they don’t know until they experience it themselves is, it’s not that easy for everyone. Thanks again

  5. Christine July 31, 2015 at 5:24 am #

    Sarah, so what are you taking now as far as thyroid medication?

    • Sarah Young July 31, 2015 at 7:19 am #

      I just switched to 125 mcg Tirosint/ 5 mcg Cytomel. I thought maybe since Tirosint absorbs better that maybe I might feel more normal and lose weight. I have yo-yoed up and down the same 15 pounds this past year. I am going back to 125 mcg Synthroid/ 5 mcg Cytomel, and just trying to watch my diet carefully and exercise. If it weren’t for my weight fluctuations, I would say I am doing great. That’s the last piece of my puzzle!

  6. trish October 28, 2015 at 9:51 pm #

    I have an ultrasound tomorrow (had 2 biopsies a couple of years ago, 2 benign nodules 1 non diagnostic – surgeon said it was my choice whether to take it out, the endo didn’t giveme a choice! He said he wasn’t worried about it) It’s been 3 years of trying to find a doctor to help, and I think I finally did, I am so scared it’s too late. I am scared, period.

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