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.
What was most surprising for you about the thyroid cancer experience?
They told me it’s a quick surgery and I would feel better in no time. It wasn’t explained just how tired I would be most days. The lack of energy is horrible. I can go through 2-3 cups of coffee and still take a nap after. The brain fog. Some days I can’t even remember my phone number, or where I put my keys, I have to Google simple math and words now because I will just not know what they are.
What was most confusing and/or frustrating for you?
Being told I have the “GOOD CANCER” No cancer is good, and the aftermath of thyroid cancer takes a lot out of you. The hormonal changes. Some days I am very happy then will get very upset then get down. It can be all over the place.
What kinds of things did you worry about?
Will the cancer come back? Will it spread?
How did you talk to your family about your cancer?
My mom was diagnosed with Non-Hopkins Lymphoma around the same time so I put my cancer on the back burner. I found support with a lot of people online. I have met a handful of lovely ladies in online support groups.
What do you wish you had known earlier in your cancer journey?
That my body will change and my hormones will be all over the place. That I will lose some friends over this as I would cancel plans some days due to my sickness. The pain and the exhaustion would get the better of me.
What recommendations do you have for patients to help them feel more empowered/active in their care, and/or more in control?
Be patient. Your body will change a lot and it will take time to work out your medications. Join a support group.
What kinds of things do your friends, co-workers, or loved ones say or do to make you feel most supported?
I have a great group of family & friends. They are so supportive and helpful. My co workers understand that some days I can barely get out of bed and am unable to work.
What is your favourite inspirational quote?
"When life gives you 100 reasons to cry, show life 1000 reasons to smile."
"Whoever said that WINNING isn't everything, obviously never had cancer."