I had a lump on my neck which I just ignored for a very, very long time. We are probably talking years.
I never really did anything about it because I am one of those typical blokes who do not go to the doctors. This lump became more visible as time went on and when I found myself trying to hide it with my t-shirt I thought I really should probably get this checked out. I went to the doctors and was referred for an ultrasound scan.
I can remember the doctor looking confused/amazed. He went to get one of his colleagues to come have a look. They called it a tumour, a word no-one wants to hear but they said they called lots of lumps tumours. After that things started to happen pretty quickly.
It was in December 2010 I went in for my operation to have the left side of my thyroid removed. It was a long surgery and I was told the lump they took out was the size of an orange but they told me they did not think it was cancer which was great to hear. I went home the next day with an appointment card saying that I was to return in the middle of January.
I received a call from the hospital at the end of December asking me to come back to the hospital at the beginning of January. I went back to the hospital on my own to see the surgeon. I kind of knew something was up but I wasn’t prepared for the news that I had thyroid cancer. It didn’t help that I knew absolutely nothing about thyroid cancer.
I sat there and managed to keep it all together whilst the doctor was explaining what was to happen next. I would need more surgery to remove the other side of my thyroid, then I would have treatment. I remember leaving the hospital, getting to my car and just breaking down in tears. I rang my sister to tell her the news but could hardly talk through the tears.
I’m a single parent with two little girls, all I could think about was them. Not long after my first operation I found the Butterfly Thyroid Cancer Trust. My first phone call to Kate is one I’ll always remember.
It was so amazing to be speaking to someone who had gone through what I was going through and to offer me advice and help but most of all just someone to chat to.
I went back in for my second op which was a much easier and quicker operation this time and I felt so much better after this op than I did after the first one. I got home and was recovering but then an infection developed in my neck. My sister took me to A&E where I had the infection drained and treated.
The radioactive treatment was a strange and lonely time and I had to go through it twice which meant going on the low iodine diet and coming off my thyroxine. This made me feel tired and miserable and during most of this I still had to work apart from when I was in hospital.
When it was time for further tests I took Kate’s advice and asked my Oncologist about Thyrogen. Thankfully, I was able to have this. It made things so much easier than withdrawing. In July 2012 I finally got the all clear. It had been a very tough time on me, my friends and family.
I look back now and think “why did I not get this lump checked out so, so much sooner than I did?”. It might have made this whole ordeal so much easier.