Francine Matthews

Sunday, February 8, 2015: my doctor called to tell me that—at 25, with a 4-year-old daughter and a year into my new relationship—I had thyroid cancer.

Thursday, May 11, 2017: my doctor called me to tell me the cancer was back—I had to fight this cancer again. I was then 27, with a 6-year-old and an amazing boyfriend, who stood by me. Little did I know, that after 8 months of trying to get pregnant, we were also expecting a baby. 

After another 9 months of stressful doctors’ visits to check up on the baby and to watch the cancer, I gave birth to a healthy, sweet baby boy. I was only able to enjoy 6 months with my new baby before I had to have my second surgery to remove my thyroid, and the cancer with it.

I can’t begin to explain the feeling of anger, frustration and betrayal I felt when I was diagnosed. It wasn’t fair! Why me?

On the other hand, this disease has been such a blessing! I was given the opportunity to feel the most vulnerable I’ve ever felt, and survive. I was blessed to find true love and friendship through this disease. This disease has softened my heart and strengthened my love for life.

The fight is far from over. My doctor says I may have yet another recurrence in the years to come. My hope is that we cure cancer soon, because despite how awesome I look with my scars, cancer is hard for everyone!

Get checked! If it doesn’t feel right, fight for yourself! Don’t let your voice be silenced by the wrong doctor. Get a second opinion.

30 Stories in 30 Days

September is Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month. As part of that theme, we will post stories written by thyroid cancer survivors, caregivers and medical professionals for our 30 Stories in 30 Days campaign. We hope their perspectives and insight will help others along their journey.