I was alarmed since my daughter-in-law, Debbie had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer a few years earlier. Like Debbie, I endured the rigorous treatment of major surgery followed by radioactive iodine. This meant days of isolation from my family and hormone replacement therapy that we both must continue for the rest of our lives. We also must have consistent annual checkups to make sure the cancer has not come back, because thyroid cancer is a life-long, chronic disease. Despite the ongoing nature of our thyroid cancer treatment, we were both lucky to resume our normal lives until several years later, when Debbie’s daughter—my granddaughter, Audrey was also diagnosed with thyroid cancer at age 18.
Watching my granddaughter undergo treatment for the same cancer that both Debbie and I had endured was incredibly difficult. We were concerned, because she was so young, and it was so difficult to watch her struggle. Thankfully, she has also made a complete recovery, but we continue to worry about the hereditary nature of this cancer. Who else in our family might be impacted?
While we all received the very best of care and are all well today, we do have the constant battle of regular follow-up and thyroid hormone to keep us feeling normal. For these reasons, our family has been supportive of the THANC Foundation for over a decade, and will continue to do so in hopes of finding a cure for this cancer and support clinical research. We want to help gain a broader understanding of why this disease has the fastest growing incidence rate in the United States and to understand its hereditary nature.
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.