My name is Rachel. In December 2009, while my husband was serving in Afghanistan, my nightmare journey to an eventual cancer diagnosis began.
From my family history I knew that I may be genetically predisposed to thyroid problems and so when the classic symptoms appeared I was not at all fazed. However, when the lump on my thyroid quickly grew my GP initiated tests.
After an initial delay things moved along at a steady pace – more tests were done, specialists were seen – culminating in a biopsy where half my thyroid was removed. As you may imagine, it was a very tense time but it was nothing compared with what was to come.
There were weeks of waiting for the biopsy results. Time and again I was told that these things take time – it was a ‘very complicated lump’. After seven weeks and still no definitive diagnosis I was told “you probably have cancer”, but I still didn’t know.
I couldn’t even give any answers to my husband when he called from Afghanistan and I was worried that it would affect his concentration. Not surprisingly, during this time I lost faith in the hospital and the pathologists but I didn’t know where to turn.
My mum, also feeling desperate, got in touch with the Butterfly Thyroid Cancer Trust. That was the turning point.
Kate Farnell, the founder of Butterfly, made sure I got the help I needed to receive a definitive diagnosis through an amazing team up in Newcastle.
I discovered that there are several types of thyroid cancer and for any treatment to be effective it is absolutely essential that the type of cancer be established.
It may sound strange, but after all the months of uncertainty being told that I had follicular thyroid cancer was a kind of relief! More importantly it meant that I was given the chance to receive the treatment I needed to save my life. I was given back my future.