Get to know Lee Seol Mei and her journey through thyroid cancer.
It all began in October 2014, at the age of 44, when I felt an unusual hard lump on the left side of my neck. To confirm my suspicion, I consulted a doctor and immediately was ordered to go for several medical check-ups including a blood test, ultrasound and 2 FNAC biopsy and TRUCUT biopsy as well. It was after these several diagnosis, that in February 2015, my doctor suspected I was suffering from Thyroid Cancer.
My worst fears were confirmed, when the news came out. As you can imagine, I broke down uncontrollably and for two weeks straight I was overwhelmed with grieve. I was utterly fearful of the odds as I lost my own father previously to terminal stage Rectum Cancer and Esophagus Cancer.
To overcome my fear, I begin to skim through the internet to learn about my disease. I wanted to be self-educated, and well aware of the necessary treatment, surgery procedures, side-effects and coping after treatment. Eventually I was awaken with hope and regained some courage to face my fear.
Surgery & Follow-Up Care
So on March 2015, I underwent a left hemithyroidectomy. After my first surgery, the doctor confirmed that the tumour was cancerous. My diagnosis revealed that I had follicular carcinoma, oncocytic variant, which was widely invasive. Following April 2015, I underwent a second surgery to remove the thyroid on the right side.
All in all I can say the road to recovery was never an easy experience. In over one year, I had to undergo 2 thyroid surgeries and two radioactive iodine therapy and the whole treatment experience left me overwhelmed with great stress, made my body weak and short of stamina. However, as not one to easily give up, I faced my struggles positively by pursuing a healthy diet and lifestyle, such as going on an organic diet, doing regular exercises and getting out in the morning to catch some fresh air. This really helped me to regain my energy and improve my health. Now I can definitely say that I feel a lot healthier. Before I was sick but now I am healthy as ever.
Emotional Support Matters
Indeed, this journey has truly given me a newfound appreciation for life as well as for my friends – who were my biggest support during the most painful period of my life. Although I knew mine was a treatable type of cancer, still fear often gripped me. But my friends were always there, and they were such a great comfort and support during this time. They bought me fruits and plenty of antioxidant juices that I needed, celebrated my birthday, accompanied me in my daily exercise regime and wonderfully provided for me financially to ease my burden. Each visitation from them always cheered me up and it made me feel like it was our class reunion once again. All they have done has truly left an imprint in my heart for which I will never forget.
Coming April this year, I will be undergoing my third radioactive iodine treatment. Only after that, will the doctors decide if I am cancer-free. At present I am on high dose of Thyroxine medication for suspension therapy. I am also taking Traditional Complimentary Herbal Medicine to boost my immunity.
Having thyroid cancer has certainly changed my perspective of life and made me a more positive and stronger person. My advice to everyone is – get to know what kind of disease you are going through and be informative as possible. This way you will not be so fearful and you will be more prepared mentally as well as emotionally.
Stand up to cancer with confidence.