Tuesday, 28 July 2015

My story of my thyroid cancer diagnosis (UK NHS system)

Hi everyone,

This is a short blog post with a long Youtube video where I discuss how I felt leading up to my diagnose. This video tries to explain my symptoms, my general wellbeing as well as the course of events that took place with the UK NHS system. It also has information regarding the types of tests you will go through in order to get a thyroid cancer diagnosis.

This video is aimed to help people who are having any feelings of uncertainty regarding their health, as you will see in my Vlog it was a long and slow process of doctors and feeling unwell before I got a proper diagnosis. This brings me to an important point I am trying to get across by telling my diagnosis story, PLEASE persist at the doctors if you do not feel right. The only person who fully understands your body, IS YOU. In my video I explain my numerous doctors appointments and tests that essentially lead to nothing, but by persisting I was able to be seen by the specialist I needed and so I did finally receive my diagnosis. My previous blog was a timeline of photos documenting my story, they lend themselves well to this video- please go have a cheeky stalk, warning some are quite gross/show blood!

Like i've said before, I am not that great with written word, so please do watch my Vlog as I attempt to get across my timeline and emotional feelings/symptoms over the last 7 months.

THANK YOU so much for your support and messages and thank you to those young people getting in touch regarding their story. I am so grateful for the message and I am excited to see what the future has in store.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Photo Timeline of events

Hi everyone,
My blog today is a rough timeline of events in photos. Selfies and iPhones are wonderful things, this allowed me to document my health and my lump from as soon as my mum noticed it back in February this year. I will post a video tomorrow where I discuss my story from January to surgery, for now I just want to publish the photos and say a bit about how I felt at each stage. I will explain in depth in my next YouTube video.
Have a look and a cheeky stalk at my lovely/gross/graphic photos of my road to diagnosis.

January 2015
I felt very run down at the beginning of the year, but for no particular reason. I felt low and tired and drained (3 words I will use A LOT during my blog posts). I started to notice large swellings and blisters on my fingers- Ignore my horrible bitten nails but this was one of 3 bruised/blisters on my fingers, first thought to be Raynauds, then Rheumatoid Arthiritis, then tendon damage etc etc. I was finally informed I had chilblains. DISCLAIMER- we do not know if this was linked to my Thyroid cancer but it contributed to my low immune system health and my general feelings of 'not right'

February 2015
Again, sounding like a broken record, I was still so tired, and just felt so lifeless and generally horrible. On the 3/2 I felt the beginnings of an ulcer and sore throat. These next 4 photos are GROSS- WARNING- VERY GROSS. From the 3-20th of Febuary this ulcer just grew and grew regardless of antibacterial mouthwash, throat spray and throat lozenges. I could barely eat or swallow, and I became so unwell and unable to take care of myself I went home from university for my parents to assist taking care of me- apologies they are gross.


18th of Feb- My mother first noticed a lump at the base of my neck, appeared to be in my throat as it moved when i swallowed etc. From here, I have to say selfies could have saved my life. From this day I took selfies to document its growth. Vanity at its best. 

March 2015
The month of my eldest brothers wedding in America. I was a bridesmaid, everyone said they couldn't see the lump but I was so self-conscious, my make up was great, but just the lump -_-

April 2015
The month I first went to the Head and Neck department at York District Hospital. I had a visual examination, a camera up my nose and a specialist reviewed my ultrasound results and concluded I needed a Fine Needle Aspiration (I will give a full description in my video) where a needle is inserted  by guided ultrasound, into the lump and they draw out cells and wiggle the needle around, all whilst your just lying on a doctors table, it was not a comfortable experience. This is me post FNA with a tiny plaster on the needle pinprick.

May 2015
Dissertation hand in month and final exams month. Needless to say it was stressful for all 3rd year students. I was visiting the head and neck department and keeping an eye on my lump with the use of selfies all though May.

June 2015
With the knowledge that I knew I was receiving surgery to remove the lump, I kept an eye on it to document if it grew any larger. I felt when I slept, when I exercised and I felt self-conscious of it at end of university events. It had become such a nuisance to be so obvious in my neck. By this stage I had attempted to get my tiredness under control and I was attempting to be as normal as possible. This photo is the week before my surgery on the 26th of June.

These next photos were taken by my boyfriend after my surgery and by myself during the whole hospital ordeal. Yes they are embarrassing and really graphic and gross but since I am telling my story in depth, I feel it is important to show you the realities of throat surgery remove your thyroid. I will do a video purely about surgery soon- the prep, the experience, the doctors, the nurses, and advice- it can be scary, sharing my surgery story could help put peoples minds at rest, please follow to see that video soon). These next set of photos shows me from pre-op to post op and then my 24 hours in hospital recovering. WARNING- BLOOD- GRAPHIC- GROSS.

July 2015
7 days post surgery you have the metal staples removed. Post surgery is an interesting week, I really can't express in words what it feels like. This was my scar the day my staples got removed.

But wait- there's more
An interesting part of my story I must tell involves my vain self and Facebook stalking... Once I noticed the lump I spent the next couple of months looking back through selfies and photos of myself and I became so distressed to see that the lump was strangely visible in photos dating back to June 2014. Its strange because I look back and go WOW how did NO ONE including myself miss this huge lump in the middle of my throat, but the way it goes, we just didn't even realise. We've all concluded that if you aren't alerted that you need to look for something, you really won't even think to look! Its strange but these next photos are from June 2014 to December 2014.

THANK YOU for your support and thank you for reading my blog. I will update a new video on my YouTube channel tomorrow talking through my stories and explaining in full the explanations to these photos. 

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Welcome to my page, a small introduction post

This is my first post on my blog. 
Hi, my name is Lucy and I am 22 years old, from London, England.
I am creating this blog/vlog site to share my experience and my story dealing with my diagnosis of papillary Thyroid cancer. I was diagnosed on the 14/7/2015. Being the person I am, I want to remain as positive as I can throughout my treatment and recovery. I am using this blog as a way of communicating my story and for updating my friends and family on my progress.

I want to share my story in the hopes that it can help people. I want to fundraise and raise awareness of thyroid cancer and conditions. 

Just a quick visual of where I started vs where I am now. This first photo was me a week before my thyroid lobectomy surgery, with a lump present in my neck. 

This next photo is me 3 weeks post surgery showing off my lovely scar and successfully graduating from the University of York! 

This is my first post and video explaining a little bit about everything that has been going on since my diagnosis and my up coming plans for this site. Thank you for taking the time to read and watch my video. I will be uploading content as an emotional distraction as well as a constructive way of turning my experience that could in turn help someone else.

Here is a vlog introduction which is on my YouTube channel as well.