I remember it so well. A teacher back in high school approached me as she saw a lump whilst I was presenting a science project. I was taken to see a GP and it was confirmed that these were just swollen lymph nodes. Fast forward a couple of months when I was kept losing weight, my aunty, who is a nurse, spotted the same lump growing and this time she took me to an endocrinologist. I remember her saying the big C word to me but, of course, I was too young to comprehend. So I easily shrugged it off.

In early 2010 I went to A&E for a different symptom and the investigations confirmed that they could see malignant signs in my neck ultrasound. [check facts] I paused for a moment and tried to grasp air as I couldn’t believe what I’d just heard. I had lots of blood tests and scans. The one I hated the most was the biopsy. It did confirm that I had Papillary Thyroid Cancer at 15 years old. My mum works for NHS and it was during that time that I was scheduled to come to the UK to be with her. Then the treatment started.

I had my first operation that lasted about eight hours as the cancer had spread into my lymph nodes. The thing I was most scared about was that I would wake up in the middle of the operation. I know now that this would be impossible but I was too young to understand.

After the treatment I had a series of CT scans, MRI scans and blood tests. Then, I had my first round of radioactive iodine therapy. I think that’s when it hit me. I am ILL. I am not healthy. I do not know what the future looks like. I remember the room was very isolating and I was told that anything I touched would need to be covered by cling film. I had to stay in the room for four days and I felt more sick as the days went by. I craved my mum’s cooking as the hospital food was not appealing me at all. After the treatment I had another round of the therapy then more tests to confirm if whether I was clear. Unfortunately, these showed that I still needed more surgery. This is was the time when I thought ‘this is about to go really bad’.

My family has been a great support though. Despite my illness they made sure I lived normally. After the second op, and another radioactive iodine therapy, I was told that I was cancer free! I couldn’t believe that I had actually beaten it!

Fast forward to now and I’ve been five years in remission. I have an amazing life, living on my own, with an amazing family and friends, and a boyfriend that makes sure I take my levothyroxine and understands the effects of not having thyroid.

I am so pleased to share my story because I want to give hope and strength to people. More than anything else, I dedicate this battle story to my mum, cancer survivors and the ones that are currently going through it. I hope this story gives everyone hope to keep holding and fighting for life because it is beautiful.

To see a short film about her experiences of living with thyroid cancer please see Jeanne's film.

For more information on thyroid cancer please see our thyroid cancer resources

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