I work full-time in a busy hospital social work team in Newcastle. In November 2007 I noticed a lump in my neck near my collar bone and asked one of the doctors in the team what he thought it might be.
He suggested it was to do with my thyroid. I went to my GP and was referred to an ENT consultant here at Freeman Hospital under the two-week rule.
After various tests, we agreed the lump and left lobe of the thyroid should be removed because the biopsy had been inconclusive. The operation took place on 4th January 2008. What a strange Christmas that was!
My husband and two teenage daughters did all they could to keep things cheerful but we were all, understandably, quite anxious underneath.
Unfortunately, the lump proved to be a papillary carcinoma which meant a second operation to remove the rest of the thyroid gland and some radioactive iodine treatment.
I spoke several times to Kate from Butterfly Thyroid Cancer Trust on the phone and she was wonderfully reassuring! When I went to the Northern Centre for Cancer Care to see Dr Mallick in April, he told me about the trial and asked if I would be willing to take part.
Having worked in a medical setting for a few years now and, having had cancer before (acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in 1980), I knew that these trials and the research that goes with them are vital to developing new treatments and drugs.
Otherwise I wouldn’t be here today! I therefore didn’t hesitate and agreed before I’d even read the detailed explanation sheet! Chris Barron from the clinical trails unit was very nice and explained about the questionnaires that needed to be completed.
I feel I’m happy to help by doing my little bit because it means patients in the future will undoubtedly benefit.