Donya E.


All my undergraduate neuroscience coursework, pre-med requirements, volunteering: done.

All my medical school exams, clinical rotations, residency interviews: done.

I was truly on the brink of beginning my career as a real physician. I had known that I wanted to be a doctor since I was just a kid, and now I would have the opportunity to live my dream.

Then one day, I found myself reading an ultrasound report and biopsy results for a thyroid nodule. Usually this would be no big deal, but this time around things were different. I was reading my own medical records.

I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer just months before beginning a pediatric neurology residency at Mt. Sinai Hospital. Although this was unexpected and initially worrying, I did my best to treat my own situation the same way I would that of my patients: with calmness and composure.

I took the same medical advice that I had heard given by supervisors and colleagues throughout my training—to undergo total thyroidectomy surgery and begin taking thyroid hormone supplements.

There was an adjustment period of course. But soon enough, I got back to work and continued pursuing my dream again, training full-time in pediatric neurology. I wish the best to anyone who may be suffering from thyroid cancer or has loved ones affected by this disease. Keep calm and carry on!

30 Stories in 30 Days

September is Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month. For the next 4 weeks, we will post stories written by thyroid cancer survivors, caregivers and friends for our 30 Stories in 30 Days campaign. We hope their perspectives and insight will help others along their journey.