Years ago, my husband and I only linked problems with your thyroid to weight, never having a clue that thyroid problems can control your entire body. Two years ago, my very active, never stopping for anything husband, started to feel tired and exhausted all the time. After several trips to the doctor and a lot of blood work, they could not find anything wrong with him. So he continued to take his vitamins but added some herbal ones to try and get his energy back. Nothing seemed to work. As the months went by he became weaker and weaker. Walking to the mailbox was an exhausting trip for him. He was seeing his doctor about twice a week to try and determine what was wrong. By this point he had so much blood work done that his veins were beginning to collapse. Still nothing could be found causing him to deteriorate. The doctor even had blood work done to determine if he had cancer. All blood work came back negative.
We were lucky that his doctor is a very persistent lady. She was trying everything she could think of to figure out what was wrong, but to no avail. Tests were ordered for every possible disease she linked his symptoms to. She contacted her colleagues to get their viewpoints on his condition. There were times they thought they found the cause, prescribed medicine for it, but that did not work. The doctor ordered several thyroid panels, all of which never showed any problems with his thyroid. He had been put in the local hospital a couple of times, but they could never find anything wrong with him.
Meanwhile, my husband got to the point where he could not even get out of bed. The stress from all this was taking a toll on both of us. In my heart, I knew my husband was slowly leaving us for reasons unknown. He eventually went on medical leave from his job so I had to continue to work. The hardest thing was getting up every morning and leaving him not knowing if he could manage by himself. We were blessed with good friends and family who helped me with things around our home, but also through prayers. We were all determined that we were not going to loose him.
Then one day the doctor called me at work and said she was having him admitted to a different hospital in another town where they had more specialists. His attending doctor at the hospital told us that my husband was a very sick man and would not leave the hospital until they knew what was wrong. That was refreshing to hear since most insurance companies want you out of the hospital as quickly as possible. His attending doctor had all kinds of specialists lined up to look at my husband. His illness had affected every part of his body, from his heart to the lungs, his kidneys, liver, nerves and memory. He became like an Alzheimer patient not being able to remember anything. I would get up every morning about 5:00 a.m. to be at the hospital when the doctors made their rounds so I could know what was going on. I would stay for a few hours, leave there, go to work for a few hours, then back to the hospital until 11:00 or 12:00 at night. I would go home, get a couple hours of sleep, then start all over. This went on for 9 days. Each day would involve blood work and tests. Then on the 8th day as they were doing another scan of his heart and lungs, they scanned too high and went up his throat area. There it was, a tumor on his thyroid. They scheduled surgery the following week to remove the tumor and left thyroid. The trip to the doctors office to get the results of the surgery was frightening. When a doctor says “I have good news and I have bad”, you know the next words you hear will be that “C” word. The results, the tumor was benign, but they found 3 cancer cells in the left thyroid. The doctor felt that if cancer was in one side it would be in the other. The following week they did surgery again to remove the right side and found 2 more cancer cells there.
Thirty days later they treated him with a one-time dose radiation pill. They began him on synthroid to regulate his thyroid. Because the cancer took such a toll on his body, he now has diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure, none of which he had prior to the cancer. Now 2 years later and lots of ups and downs, he is on his way to recovery.
Thyroid cancer is one of those cancers most people have never heard of, but is also one that once the glands are removed your chances of the cancer returning is very slim. To be on the safe side, my husband continues to see the cancer doctor on a regular basis. We have learned through this that your body depends on your thyroid to keep it going. The thyroid needs to be regulated or your body can just shut down. We constantly recommend to friends and family who have similar symptoms as my husband did, to be persistent and see their doctor and request thyroid panels be done.
Cancer, regardless of what kind, has a horrible effect on both the patient and their loved ones, and detected early may mean the difference between life and death.