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My Thyroidectomy & Thyroid Cancer Story

This page may contain affiliate links. I am not a doctor, dietitian nor nutritionist and am not qualified to give medical advice. I merely share what has worked for me. I hope it can help you too x. This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of any condition. Please read the disclaimer for more info.

I share my story so you know you aren’t alone and things can turn around. I have to warn you it’s not for the faint hearted.

I Fell Asleep At The Traffic Lights

I woke with a start with the car behind me beeping impatiently. Frantically I tried to focus and drive. I had just fallen asleep at the traffic lights!. With my tiny kids in the car!. OMG What was happening to me!!

I was so exhausted I was frightened I wasn’t safe to look after my children. I was barely dragging myself through the day. My entire body felt like lead and I couldn’t wait to collapse into bed at the end of the day, usually around 6pm if possible.

These strange symptoms had been going on as far back as I could remember but had got especially bad since the birth of my second child. I thought it was normal to feel like this…

And it wasn’t just the exhaustion and fatigue.

Freezing In The Middle Of Summer

I was freezing cold all the time, wrapped in a million layers, even in the summer. 

I barely functioned in the winter, living in bed wrapped in pyjamas and a contact hot water bottle.

Financial Stress Weighed Heavy On Me

And the brain fog!. It was so hard to focus. I worked from home as a freelance designer and I would just sit, staring at the screen trying to pull my brain together as to what to do next. I seriously started to worry I had some kind of dementia.! I worked slowly and this had a big impact on my income. Of course this caused friction. My husband just couldn’t understand why I couldn’t do as much work as I used to be able to do. And frankly neither could I!. What had happened to me!

Relationship Issues

Like all financial stress this pressure started to seep into the rest of my relationship.

My husband was working more hours to support the family and just didnt understand why I wasnt “pulling my weight”. He would come home late and find me asleep on the sofa with nothing done around the house.

He thought I was just lazy and this caused many relationship issues and arguments.

I couldn’t explain why I was feeling so tired, confused and unmotivated. I just didn’t know. I just knew that it wasn’t like me though. 

And The Weight Gain

To make things worse I was putting on weight like crazy.

After my son was born I had lost the weight easily [I now know this was down to Post Partum Thyroiditis which initially sent me into a hyperthyroid state}. 

But now the scales climbed steadily no matter how little I ate.

I felt frumpy and unattractive and to make mattters worse my libido was non existent. My confidence was on the floor.

You can imagine I was frightened for my marriage. I didnt want to end up as single mum with 2 small kids to care for. 

My 3am Fears When I Couldn’t Sleep

I lay awake and night worrying where this was all heading. By this point I was struggling with my mental health. I was both anxious and jittery and heading down a slope into deep depression. The anxiety made it even harder to work.

I knew there was something very wrong but I didn’t know what.

Surely My Doctor Could Help!

I went to my Doctor and explained all my symptoms and asked for help. In hindsight they are very obviously the symptoms of Thyroid problems.

I wish I could say that My Doctor immediately knew what was wrong but sadly that wasn’t the case.

I clearly had Postpartum Thyroiditis after the birth. Looking back I can even see my swollen Thyroid in the photos of me holding my baby but I was told I had post natal depression. 

Over the years I was variously diagnosed with

  • Post Natal Depression
  • Perimenopause
  • Menopause {even though I still had periods}
  • Old age!
  • Depression

I was told to go to hypnotherapy and offered anti depressants and HRT. 

Not one Doctor ran a thyroid test. 

By now this had become my normal life. I was struggling through each day and living a half life.

Doctors Didn’t Diagnose Me For 10 Years

Over the next 10 years I would keep returning to see various Doctors with the same symptoms and getting no help.

Until things took a very bad turn indeed…

“Sorry – Its Thyroid Cancer”

I had gone to the doctors again after seeing a holiday photo of myself where it was obvious that I had a lumpy goitre or swollen thyroid in my neck. I gingerly felt my neck and realised there was also a large hard lump above my thyroid. How could I have missed this? 

I guess you don’t notice small changes year over year until they become very obvious. The angle and lighting of the holiday photo showed up the changes vividly.

Finally a Doctor took a thyroid test and ordered an emergency ultrasound

“Im sorry but the lab results are back from the 2 fine needle aspirations. We are pretty sure its Thyroid cancer so we need to remove your Thyroid as soon as possible. We need to book a date for your Thyroidectomy surgery.”

Untreated Hypothyroidism Became Metastasised Thyroid Cancer

At least 10 years of untreated Thyroid disease had now progressed to metastasised Thyroid Cancer

I realised that I had regularly been going to Doctors with a long and varied list of Hypothyroid symptoms for the last 10 years since the birth of my son. Not one of them had thought to check my thyroid.

My TSH was now over 10 and the ultrasound technician said he had never seen a thyroid so utterly covered in nodules. 

The delay meant that the thyroid cancer had spread into the lymph nodes in my neck. This was serious.

I had been Hypothyroid all my life but didn’t realise

Looking back I had been Hypothyroid all my life. I struggled with exhaustion and anxiety and I clearly remember visiting a Doctor at 16 to ask for help with this. He asked me if my neck was always that swollen and questioned if I had a goitre but then decided I didn’t. As a young teen I didn’t know to ask more questions. 

How my entire  life would have been different if he had just taken action there and then.

As a 20 year old student I struggled with all the symptoms including Exhaustion, insomnia, depression and anxiety, brain fog and aches and pains but by then I just got used to it. I didn’t realise something was going very wrong. 

In the pre internet days there was much less information.

I just struggled though my life. Always tired, always sore, always depressed…

That became my normal… I didn’t realise other people had energy

All Aboard The Thyroid Cancer Rollercoaster

But now things were moving fast. I was fast tracked to see a surgeon within 2 weeks and stepped onto the petrifying rollercoaster of Thyroid Cancer treatment.

I was soon in hospital to have my Thyroid removed in Thyroidectomy surgery. To cut a long story short I needed up having 3 major surgeries to remove the thyroid and also a neck dissection to remove 42 cancerous lymph nodes. 

At the end of 2017 I spent a week before Xmas in a lead lined isolation room being treated with radioactive Iodine. Thankfully I made it home to spend Xmas with my family.

Trying To Get Back To My Normal Life

I was determined to put it all behind me. I Tried to get back to my life but it was to prove impossible. 

Sadly I felt even worse than I had before I had the Thyroidectomy

My body and mind just felt wrong

I had tremors, deep debilitating muscle pains, deep depression, and overwhelming weakness and exhaustion. I had strange loud whooshing sound in my ears that kept me awake at night.

I was still exhausted. I was falling asleep everywhere. I was scaring myself.

I had muscle and body aches

I had terrible brain fog – My vocabulary shrank and I couldn’t find the right words for anything. This made me feel stupid and I stopped taking part in many conversations as I didnt feel I could string a thought together properly.

I had trouble breathing. I Felt like couldn’t take a deep breath which added to my feeling of anxiety.

I got confused and anxious in the supermarket

I was on an emotional rollercoaster of depression, anxiety and uncontrollable rage which affected my relationships and family

I still couldn’t work – I couldn’t concentrate or have the physical ability to do it.

I felt like a 90 year old woman.

Asking Doctors For Help AGAIN

I asked my Endocrinologist for help at every visit.They were just focussed on the fact they had removed the cancer. Not my quality of life. 

They had no suggestions for recovery other than increasing the T4. I ended up on a huge dose after a couple of months and they said that’s all they could do to improve things and washed their hands of helping me to recover. 

My blood tests were “normal” now!

There was no help, support or guidance about how to recover after Thyroidectomy

About how to get my life back.

I realised I was on my own

I tried everything suggested on the internet to recover

I was Juicing vast amounts of carrots and kale morning and night.

I had been plant based vegetarian for 31 years.  Now I took it further, cutting everything out until I was on a pure vegan diet. Nothing helped.

Rock Bottom

I hit my rock bottom – Around 6 months after Thyroidectomy.

I was lying in bed during the day, feeling like this was it, this is my life now. I would never recover. 

My 10 year old son  came in asking what was for dinner but I just couldn’t summon the energy to get myself out of the bed to make it. I had to tell him and my daughter to get biscuits out of the biscuit barrel until their Dad came home and could feed them

I was in a deep serious depression [which I would later realise was because I didn’t have enough T3 Thyroid hormone in my body}

I thought my family would be better off without me

I began to think that my family would be better off without me. I couldn’t even look after them. My relationship with my husband had suffered. I was a burden on them all. I started to cry

I was so fatigued I drifted off into exhausted sleep with tears rolling down my face

Back With My Beloved Grandma

I dreamed of my Grandma Florrie in her cosy kitchen, cooking and baking as she always had when I was a child. The radio was on and the cat was curled up on his favourite cushion. It felt so good to be back here.

She had been dead nearly 35 years and I still missed her

She turned to me and pointed to her old worn victorian Cookery book she always used. I heard the soft Lancashire accent I hadn’t heard for years. My Grandma was always brutally truthful with her opinions.

“Ooh!. You look shocking love. You need to nourish yourself properly. You need to get some good food inside you. Then you’ll feel better” 

She smiled gently and stirred the steaming soup on the stove.

A Revelation

I was woken suddenly by my kids coming in to check on me but I had had a magical revelation

My Grandma was right. What I was doing wasn’t working. 

I realised the Doctors weren’t going to help me. Their “just take the pill” attitude doesn’t fix your underlying health issues. 

You can never get back to full health if you don’t address those issues as well.

I had to take control of my own health and make some big changes If I wanted to get back to living a vibrant and happy life.

The underlying root problems were still there

I Needed to fix the problem at the root

I needed to go back to basics

I needed to go back to basics, otherwise I was destined to live a poor quality half life and watch my health deteriorate further from the burden poorly treated Hypothyroiditis was putting on my body

That night and for the months following I pulled out my laptop and did deep dive research.

  • I discovered the diet and lifestyle that works when you have Thyroid Problems {and what doesn’t}
  • I discovered which thyroid hormones my body truly needed to get back to full health
  • I discovered which minerals and vitamins my body needed to support my recovery
  • I discovered the pillars of thyroid health

I made some big changes

I turned my health around

Within months I started to turn my health around and one by one the hypothyroid symptoms started to fall away. I clawed myself out of the health hole I was in.

My energy slowly returned and I could keep up with my kids rather than lying exhausted on the sofa.

I woke up refreshed and was no longer having to drag myself though each day 

Mentally, my anxiety and depression subsided and I felt mentally stable, for the first time in my life! Plus I stopped having rage and rollercoaster emotions. Life became much calmer. In fact I could safely say that I was the happiest I had ever been in my life.

I even Lost weight. Over 25lbs

My face was no longer puffy and I got my cheek bones back

I could focus and think straight with a better memory and started to be able to work and bring in money again which was a huge help and took a lot of the stress off the family. 

I even went back to college to earn a Health Coaching Qualification as I knew I wanted to make sure others didn’t have to go through everything I had.

From Barely Surviving to Thriving

Today, 6 years later I am living a healthy vibrant life with no symptoms. I feel much better than I ever did for as longs I can remember. My energy levels are great and I no longer struggle with brain fog, anxiety or depression or any of the other things that dragged me down. I feel normal

I finally feel like ME again

I went all in and got my life back

I knew that if I wanted to get my life back, I needed to go all in. I needed to make big changes.

Now its your turn

I tell my story as I want you to know you are not alone and that it is possible to recover from Hypothyroidism, Thyroid disease or Thyroidectomy. No matter how far things progress It is possible to feel like you old self again and thrive.

It might feel like you will never feel well again, but I’m here to tell you that you can turn it around. 

I seriously don’t want your Hypothyroidism to progress to cancer like mine did.

I also don’t want you to miss out on the years of your kids growing up like I did. I wish I could turn back time and have the energy to play with them properly when they were little. But sadly I cant. 

But you can…

You just need to be willing to make a change and go all in. That’s when you get the results you want. 

It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. 

Trust me, I’ve been there.

Love and Light

Helen x



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This page may contain affiliate links. I am not a licensed medical professional, Doctor or Nutritionist. As a health coach I am not providing healthcare, medical or therapy services; or attempting to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any physical, mental or emotional issue. Please consult your licensed medical provider before embarking on any health, diet, exercise or lifestyle change. DO NOT stop or alter any medication. Always consult your Doctor. Please read the disclaimer for more info.