I’m Elizabeth and I’m 39. I’m originally from the south of England but I’ve lived in Glasgow, Scotland for over 9 years now.
I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at the age of 14 and had to have two surgeries, 3 doses of radioactive iodine and get used to life with no thyroid gland or parathyroids and a regime of daily medication and regular blood tests. Once I’d got over the shock, I tried to take it in my stride. I’d been reassured that I was very unlikely to die of the thyroid cancer I had, that the treatment was very effective and I’d be ok. I was given the all clear just as I turned 17.
Fast forward almost 20 years and I’m now 35, married, with a 21 month old daughter who doesn’t really do sleeping. Just as I stop breast feeding, it becomes clear that something has gone wrong with my left breast and a lump develops in the space of a few weeks. After a few weeks of being in total denial I’m diagnosed with stage 3 invasive breast cancer which had spread to two lymph glands but, thankfully, no further. That was in October 2012. I spent 2013 having several surgeries, 6 doses of chemotherapy and 15 radiotherapy treatments. It was tough being a mother during all my treatment but I had a lot of help from my family and the hardest part was dealing with the fear that I would die and leave my daughter motherless.
After my treatment ended, life got much tougher, my family went home, friends assumed I was now ‘fine’ but actually mothering a 3 year old full time when you have a suppressed immune system is pretty hard. I got ill a lot, I had lots of dizziness and nausea, I had anaemia and ended up with a sinus infection and wisdom tooth infection at the same time.
At times I wanted to give up and lie in bed and cry (and I’m sure I did) but I knew from recovering from thyroid cancer treatment that the year after treatment is pretty hard and that I had to keep going. And now here we are, in the summer of 2017, almost 5 years since my diagnosis, I’m feeling well and very proud to say that I am One Tough Muther.