Reflection on Where I am Today with Thyroid Cancer

by Danielle NicosiaPatient, Stage 3 Metastatic Thyroid CancerSeptember 21, 2020View more posts from Danielle Nicosia

In July 2012, I was diagnosed with Metastatic Thyroid Cancer after being misdiagnosed for ten years. I was being seen by a Chief Endocrinologist who works in Mineola, New York. He refused to listen to me until I ended up blacking out in college and was taken to the hospital.

After thinking I was insane for a long time, not being able to function for so long, I was relieved when I finally had an answer from a different Doctor who cared about me. My cousin worked for a wonderful Radiologist office who diagnosed me with Thyroid Cancer after my biopsies. That same day, I was also diagnosed with Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

I never heard of Thyroid Cancer or Hypothyroidism until I was diagnosed. I knew nothing and was so overwhelmed.

At first I was afraid to post that I had cancer. I was afraid people would look at me differently and many did. I still made a post anyway and my world changed forever on social media. I Had Cancer, an amazing organization, reached out to me and I started to blog for them. From that point forward, I knew I had to make sure my voice was heard.

THYROID CANCER IS NOT A GOOD CANCER!

I had a total Thyroidectomy because my entire thyroid and many lymph nodes were cancerous. I had to stay in the hospital for a couple of days because I ended up having calcium issues due to a couple of lymph nodes being on my Parathyroid Glands.

A month later, right before Christmas, I had to go on a Low Iodine Diet before RAI for four weeks. Radioactive Iodine, which is what RAI stands for, was unsuccessful both times. Since RAI didn’t work for me, I am considered RAI resistant, meaning my body did not respond to treatment.

During treatment I stayed at the Hope Lodge because at the time I lived with too many people and it would be risky, especially for my niece who was a baby at the time. Treatment was hard being it was right before Christmas. But, I got through it by sleeping it off.

Living with cancer is challenging, especially 8 years. You learn to live your life as best as you can. Every couple of months I go for my annual check up. Blood work, Pet scan or CT scan, Thyroid Ultrasound etc. I had my recent scans a month ago and I am dealing with a “wait and see” approach.

After lots and lots of hurdles, and lots of extensive testing, I ended up with a malabsorption issue three years ago. My thyroid medication is an IM injection since I cannot absorb pills. This past year I had two strokes due to having a high tumor marker. Experiencing two strokes back to back was life changing as well.

Who would have thought you could have strokes at 34 years old. After all these years, I am still learning. What helped me get through this bumpy road was Friends & Family and the most amazing AYA friends. I am so grateful for each and everyones support. Connecting with cancer patients all over the world through social media has been life changing and so overwhelming. The support is what has gotten me through my very bad days.

Living life with cancer has its challenges. I have good days and very bad days. At the moment, I live hour by hour and take it one day at a time. That is all I can do right now. Helping others through their journey helps me cope by sharing information I didn’t know when I was newly diagnosed. Virtual meetups through Stupid Cancer and Elephants and Tea have been awesome to connect with more people who are dealing with cancer as a young adult.

Having COVID-19 around has been nerve racking. I make sure to take all precautions in the event I need to go out, whether it’s for an appointment or just to go to the store to pick up a few items. I know people with underlying conditions, such as cancer, tend not to do well with the virus, so I worry about catching it.

Please, wear a mask! It helps protect those around you. My life matters, as does yours. We all want to have another tomorrow.

The most important thing I want to share is you are still you. Over the course of the years, I learned to remove the toxic people in my life that have told me I have the “Good Cancer.” NO CANCER IS GOOD CANCER!

I won’t ever be able to thank you enough for being part of my raw and crazy journey. Never give up, and like the Disney character Dory always says, “Just Keep Swimming.”

September is Thyroid Cancer awareness Month!!! I encourage you to know the early signs of Thyroid Cancer and to talk to your physician. Don’t forget to have your Doctor CHECK YOUR NECK.

To learn more about Thyroid Cancer please visit Thyroid Cancer Association: www.thyca.org for more information.

You can follow Danielle on Twitter or Instagram: ThyCaSurvivor09

Danielle’s website: https://findinghopewiththyroidcancer.com


All of the posts written for Elephants and Tea are contributed by patients, survivors, caregivers and loved ones dealing with cancer.  If you have a story or experience you would like to share with the cancer community we would love to hear from you!  Please submit your idea at https://www.elephantsandtea.com/contact/submissions/.

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