Lauren’s story

‘Every time I’ve needed information or support along my thyroid journey the BTF has been there.'

In 2014 I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism on my 19th birthday. The BTF had so much information which made it 10 times easier for me to understand the ins and outs of what was going on and what it meant for me in the longer term. I found the BTF guides really useful. They helped me to understand what hypothyroidism is, how the thyroid works in relation to the pituitary gland and why the thyroid is important. 

As someone who likes to understand the entire process for it to make sense, seeing the information in print form was more useful than discussing it with a medical professional. I would read the guides before appointments so that I had relevant questions to ask the doctors when I saw them, rather than walking away with verbal information that I couldn’t quite make sense of.

Fast forward to 2021 when, again just a few days after my birthday, I found a lump in my neck. I was 38 weeks pregnant with our third child at the time, so I heard plenty of comments about it being hormonal but because of the BTF I pushed for further investigations. By the time our baby was six weeks old it was clear that the growth wasn't a nice one and that they suspected thyroid cancer. I was terrified to sleep in case I didn't wake up and I would cry with thoughts that I wouldn't be around for our children.

There were delays after delays with our hospital due to Christmas holidays, disruption from Covid and waiting for pathology reports. This made the anxiety and worry even worse!  The BTF helped to relieve some of that worry. Their patient stories and statistics helped me the most. It was reassuring to have a community of people who know what it's like and to read about people who are thriving after their treatments. This all helped to make the days easier and wait more bearable.

I had my surgery in March 2022 when it was confirmed I had papillary thyroid cancer. My surgeon was confident all the cancer had been removed as the margins were good. My recovery from surgery went well and cosmetically it’s been wonderful. In May 2022, I was then given the all-clear. In May 2023 I got married to celebrate being one year all clear. This year I will be running in the Birmingham Half Marathon with my husband Emmitt to mark being two years all clear!  

Getting my blood levels back within range did take some time, and then falling pregnant again also impacted my thyroid levels. So, they are only really becoming stable now two years on. Having given birth to my fourth child just a couple of months ago, I can’t promise a lightning-quick finish time but I will cross the line!

Donate to support Lauren’s half marathon challenge 

Lauren’s message to others with a thyroid cancer diagnosis

For anyone who’s on their own journey right now, I would like to say; ‘Your feelings are valid.’ Everyone wants to tell you; ‘thyroid cancer is a good cancer’ which I found really upsetting. It was always meant well to spur me on or cheer me up. Having someone allow me space to feel whatever I was feeling was the best thing, however. 

It’s also ok if you feel like a different person after what you’re going through. It’s such a challenging time and you come out of these difficult times with a different perspective. My life motto now is ‘It’s all character building!’

More information and support for thyroid cancer