Thyroid Tumours & Dealing with them

Thursday, October 17, 2013

This straight away feels like an odd post to write. I'm not asking anyone to feel sorry for me, I'm not asking for you guys to pity me. I'm simply dealing with a life long illness and have done from a young age and what I'd like to do is raise awareness about it. I feel like not many people know about this condition but it effects a LOT of people. I hope writing this will help some of you, but at least open your eyes if you know anyone else suffering from this. It's not that simple when the condition you have normally happens to people much later in life.
That condition is to do with my Thyroid gland. Most people reading this will be wondering what's a thyroid gland? Personally I didn't know what it was when the doctors told me I had a thyroid problem.

So what is a thyroid gland?
- The thyroid gland is found in the neck, below the thyroid cartilage and is controls how quickly the body uses energy, makes proteins, and controls how sensitive the body is to other hormones. It produces hormones that are released into the bloodstream to control the body's growth and metabolism.

So this is when the story began. I was a normal 15 year old just enjoying life and spending time with my friends and this lump appeared on my neck. I had no idea what it was so I just got on with life and ignored it. After a few months it got bigger and after trawling through old Facebook photos of 15 year old me I found this one...
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(You can see the lump on my neck it was the size of a satsuma once it was taken out)
It feels like such a long time ago but I really didn't think anything of it at the time. Having suffering from anaemia from about 13 years old I felt tired a lot of the time and just run down for no reason. After going to the doctors with my mum to finally see what it was I found out it was a tumour. A tumour inside my thyroid gland which would be stopping my thyroid from working proper. At first they told me it could be cancerous but after several tests (and a lot of needles being prodded into my neck) they told me that it had to be removed.
A couple of months later around December in 2009. I was taken into hospital. I was doing my GCSE's and had to take a bit of time off school and what I had done was I had half of my thyroid gland removed. The doctors found out that after a lot of meetings, prodding at my neck with needles that half of my thyroid gland was still working but at the rate of how it was growing it was such an eyesore to my neck and could become a very serious problem if it wasn't removed.
Since then I've had a scar across my neck from the surgery and it take a while for the scar to start to fade and for months on end I refused to go out without a scarf on or at least clothing which covered the scar as I was embarassed. People thought I self harmed that why I had a scar and I felt scared to tell anyone about it. I never told any of my friends in high school much of what I was going through but once I'd left without a word for weeks people asked where I'd gone and teachers just said I was recovering from surgery. I received such a lovely card (which I still have today)
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After I'd recovered from the surgery I went back to school. I tried to rebuild that life again and just carried on as a typical teenager and studied hard and chilled out with friends! I'd started my blog at this point and had written a few posts but while I was ill I got into reading blogs more (as sad as that seems) blogging was an escape for me. Blogging made me feel normal again, blogging helped me rebuild that confidence which I'd lost through my surgery.
For the next 2 years nearly. I went for check ups all the time as the doctors monitored my progress, how the other half of my thyroid was working and then day came which I was dreading the day the doctors said my tumour had grown back but in the side of my thyroid gland which I had left. I was then told (on the same day I first failed my driving test) that I'd have to go back in for surgery. Surgery to have what was about 8 or 9 tumours in total which had grown inside my thyroid gland removed. Little did I really know much about the side effects or the surgery but I did know that I'd be on pills daily for the rest of my life.
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(Aged 18 just after my second lot of surgery)
So the day came. I had just started university and was dealing with a lot of issues there and I felt so unhappy and dealing with this at the same time wasn't easy at all. On the 5th December last year I had my thyroid gland completely removed. (I really do hate this photo of myself but it's the best way to explain this to you all and yes I was really that yellow from the surgery) When this photo was taken I'd just come out of surgery and I'd been on oxygen as I wasn't able to breathe properly and one of the first things I said to my dad was can I see what I look like and what it looks like. So here we are that's the damage which the surgery had done. I spent the next few weeks recovering from the surgery and a few days in hospital.
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After about 10 days my scar looked like this. I had recovered really well and started taking the pill I'd be taking for the rest of my life called thyroxine. They'd got my dosage mixed up the first time and so for a while I was on the wrong mg of pills without knowing but that was sorted in January of this year.
As the months went on i've been to the doctors each month to have blood tests, to have my thyroxine dosage increased and I've suffered from a lot of symptoms. Some of the main symptoms of thyroid problems are:
-being sensitive to cold
-weight gain/weight loss
-slow movements and thoughts
-muscle aches and weakness
-muscle cramps
-dry and scaly skin
-brittle hair and nails
-loss of libido
-pain, numbness and a tingling sensation in the hand and fingers (carpal tunnel syndrome)
-irregular or heavy periods

These are just some of many symptoms people with thyroid problems suffer from. I've suffered from a lot ranging from depression to hair loss and trying to stay positive is hard. I feel like a lot of people don't understand condition as it tends not to effect young people. I'm yet to meet another young person who's suffering from thyroid problems. But I know a few relatives and have come across some people suffering from this. Thyroid disease and problems effect 1 in 20 people in the UK and normally in people aged 40+. This disease effects 80% of women and about 20% men.
I've been struggling for a while as I have so many up and down days. I try and stay as positive as posssible and try and live my life to the full. I found that when I was spending all that time being ill that I thought a lot about life and what I wanted from it. I realised how short life can be and how you will never know what's round the corner. As much as I hate that photo of me just after my surgery looking at it reminds me to be strong and to work hard for what I want in life.
This disease has made a massive impact on my life over the past 4 years and It will continue to make an impact. I can't wait to feel fully stable and have some of my old life back and feel much better again. Taking pills everyday to survive is not how I imagined my life to be like at 19 but for the first time in years I feel happy. I'm happy I'm tumour free I'm happy that It's not effecting me like it was. It feels weird writing this as in 4 years since my first lot of surgery I've never spoken about it on my blog. I no longer feel afraid to show people my scar. It's a part of my life it's a part of what I've been through and It's made me who I am today.

(This is what my scar looks like today if you're wondering what it looks like now)

I hope this has given you all a new insight into thyroid problems and raised a bit of awareness about them. I never thought I'd be sharing what I have today on my blog. I would love to find out if any of you suffer from this aswell!
And a lesson for all of you out there who've got scars you once felt ashamed of or scared to show, embrace them. They make you you and they remind you have lucky you are to still be living your life!
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Anonymous said...

My word, you brave girl! That sounds like a horrible condition x

itsEmmaEye said...

Becca, you are a true inspiration!
When you're ever feeling down, try and remember that! I mean you inspired me to start my own blog!
Keep smiling beautiful!
Emma <3

Louise H said...

aw angel you poor lamb that sounds horrid x I have an underactive thyroid so I take lifelong medication but that is nothing compared to you x Such an interesting post and great for you to raise awareness and share your experience - you are a real inspiration x keep smiling gorgeous x the clouds will soon roll by xx

Olivia Williams said...

It's lovely that you have done something positive with your condition and shared it with others to raise awareness! You should be proud of yourself! It's a great thing you have done. xoxo

Olivia Williams said...

It's lovely that you have done something positive with your condition and shared it with others to raise awareness! You should be proud of yourself! It's a great thing you have done. xoxo

Lauren said...

I've worked with a few people who had this condition so I was already aware of it but it's still awful to see at such a young age. I had never even noticed the scar on your neck, or I would have guessed! It's a good thing to speak out about and I hope you get a bit better. Loss of libido is unacceptable! xxx

Sam said...

I've been reading your blog for nearly 2 years and had no idea you had been through all of this!

I think it's really amazing that you've decided to share your experiences to help raise awareness! And it's good to hear how positive and happy you're feeling right now. I totally agree with what everyone on here has been saying already. You're a true inspiration :)


Unknown said...


Deejay Speaks said...

this is very inspirational and brave of you to post, it's great to hear you're happy
Deejay Speaks

Rosie Cumberlidge said...

I've been reading your blog for so long and I really had no idea! You're so brave for talking about this Becca and I think it's really important to raise awareness of illnesses that people don't know much about.


Unknown said...

Such a brave girl to write a post like this. Love you lots.

Megan xxx
Thumbelina Lillie | UK Beauty Blog

Heather Nixon said...

My mum had to have her thyroid gland removed and she has the same scar on her neck and I had a lump on my neck which was quite big as a baby - it is a horrible thing to so though x

Heather | Of Beauty & Nothingness

Sophie said...

So glad you're feeling happier! Thank you for posting this, you are such an inspiration!Xx

Tomilola Vanna said...

You are BEAUTIFUL!!! Thanks for sharing. I know how you feel. My mum has thyroid as well. I know how scary it can be. And I just wanted to say thank you so much for sharing. You are beautiful

Sincerely Shug said...

I suffer with thyroid disorder its lovely to see someone writing about it as many people dont know what it is and how much it can affect a persons life. I was diagnosed suddenly at the age of 17 and will have it forever. Lovely to see this awareness. Best post.

Emily said...

Such a brave girl! You are really an inspiration what you have been through!

stay strong love!


JustPorsh said...

You are simply amazing!
No one would be able to guess all you've been through.
Keep being strong.

Mallory said...

Love this post , I had thyroid issues also I found out that I had thyroids when I was about 16 yrs ( Im 27 now) It was not easing dealing with having the condition I gained Alot of weight , and on top of that I had to go through this scary surgery to get this taken care of because I was not wanting to do the radio active treatment. After the surgery I also have battle scars (yours healed up nicely by the way) but mine on the other hand didn't I had to deal with excess scar tissue (Keloids ) that I have dealt with and now at 27 I have had to have steroid shots to reduce them down so now they are less noticeable . I have also had to deal people and their stupid stories on self harm lol due their lack of not wanting to ask a proper question . Continue to stay positive doll and thank you for educating people on this subject There are many people who have this condition but don't bother to check on the matter. so until later thank you again

Lizzi K 93 said...

You are very brave! I'm glad you have stayed positive!
Stay Strong xxx

Unknown said...

Awww bless, it's nice to know that your staying strong and didn't give up hope. you've really inspired me to blog and talk about my illness :)

Babylon said...

OMG it was gross!!!
Like a madam's apple

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