Thyroid Cancer Canada
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Stories of Strength

These are individual stories of thyroid cancer survivors. Each is unique and all are inspirational.


One day I was looking at my face in the mirror, and something caught my attention on the right side of my neck. I was surprised to see and feel a lump, I immediately want to see my family doctor. I walked in the clinic but she wasn’t in on that day. I requested to see another doctor, and he sent me for ultrasound. The result came back and I was ecstatic because he said there’s nothing to worry about.

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Stories of StrengthCindy Lee

Mandy is 31, and lives in Edmonton. She was diagnosed in 2014 with papillary thyroid cancer then later also had lymphoma. She kindly responded to some questions about her thyroid cancer experience.

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Grace Wright Eagan

From the age of 15 or 16, Grace noticed she was having trouble keeping up physically with her peers and had started having unusual food sensitivities; by the time she was diagnosed (at age 19) with stage II papillary carcinoma, the oncologists determined that her tumour had been growing for approximately three years.

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Emily, Chiropractor

Emily is a chiropractor, and was diagnosed in 2013 with a follicular variant of papillary thyroid cancer.

Once I was diagnosed I was most surprised by how common thyroid cancer is in young healthy women and that we don’t know the cause.

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Lisa was diagnosed in 2012 with papillary thyroid cancer.

I was surprised by how well I recovered from the actual thyroidectomy surgery itself – it was way less invasive of a surgery compared to others I’d experienced, although I did lose my voice for about 4 weeks (not as a result of any damage to vocal chords). I was also pleasantly surprised by how incredible most of the nurses, doctors and other medical staff were throughout my entire experience.

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Nadia Hohn, Blogger

If you are a blogger like I am, you have probably heard one of these statements from your close family member, friend, or spouse: “Don’t post that on your blog!” “Are you going to blog about this?” or even the helpful, “You should put this on your blog.” I have heard all three in my most recent attempt at “blogdom.”

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Chris LimNadia Hohn
Shana Keay

The most surprising thing I found was at how common it is in the general population. Every third or fourth person I would speak to about this would know someone that was affected by this condition. The other surprising thing I found was unfortunately how little there is that can be done for this type of cancer outside of surgery.

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Mary Van Diepenbos

Mary Van Diepenbos’s thyroid cancer journey story begins in much the same way as it did for many of us. On Boxing Day 1994, when Mary was 56 years old, she noticed a lump on her neck. Two weeks later, she had a neck dissection to remove a large tumor and three lymph nodes. A few days after that she was told by phone that the pathology was positive for thyroid cancer.

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Meike is 48, and was diagnosed in 2009 with papillary carcinoma, follicular variant (columnar cell variant).

Being told that I had a good cancer made me feel like I had a ‘fake’ cancer.

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Olivia Chow, MP

Thyroid cancer doesn’t discriminate. It hits young children, senior citizens and many in between. The disease doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, unknown or famous. Among our ranks are rock stars, entertainers and politicians.

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Chris LimOlivia Chow
Paula Smith

Paula was diagnosed with multifocal papillary thyroid cancer with follicular variant in 2007. As an active member in the Praise and Worship Ministry of her church in the Yarmouth, Nova Scotia area. Paula first noticed some changes in her voice during practices for a huge church production called “The Living Tree” staged at Christmas. During her weekly practices, Paula noticed she was not able to hit high soprano notes and had the sensation of a pea stuck in her throat.

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Ann Dreger

Ann was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in January 2003; however it was back in 1998 when she first felt something was not right. Ann says she was losing more hair than usual and had ridges on her fingernails. At that time her family doctor was not concerned of any thyroid problems and during her visit did not perform any physical examination of Ann’s neck.

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Elaine Savard

In January of 1997 at the age of 45, Elaine was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer. “This came as a total shock. My family doctor thought I was a picture of health” says Elaine. During her annual physical, an intern found a small lump on her thyroid. Her family doctor drained it and the results of those fluids came back as normal. However, the cyst kept growing back and larger in size.

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