Thyroid Cancer

Updated on June 21, 2009
D.W. asks from Cypress, TX
8 answers

I have a close friend who was just diagnosed with thyroid cancer. It is in her lymph node as well. Surgery is scheduled on the 29th to remove everything and she has been told she'll be in the hospital several days following that. Then she will undergo some type of oral radioactive medicine and have to be in the h ospital a few hours each time that is done. She was told she won't actually start thyroid medication for 6 weeks following surgery so to expect to feel pretty crummy. Has anyone gone through this? My friend is going back and forth between feeling overshelmed and then really positive about the whole thing. I was just looking for something to tell her about someone who went through it or give her someone to talk to first hand. I know she'd love to hear the good and the bad...just to know what to expect. Several friends are planning a meal plan and a webpage for updates for everyone so her phone won't be going off constantly but is there anything else anyone would recommend before this whole process starts.
Thank you so much for your time to respond.

1 mom found this helpful

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So What Happened?

Wow...Thank you so much for taking the time to offer your suggestions for me as well as encouragement for my friend. Her name is Lori which I neglected to mention so if you would like to add her to your prayer lists I know she would appreciate it. I received a lot of great suggestions from you as well as experiences and advice that I can pass on to her. I will seek out an online support group for her and make sure all of us keep a very upbeat, positive attitude with her. She has felt crummy for quite a while so I really pray that this is all it was and in just a little while she will feel better than she has in years! She was diagnosed quite some time back with chronic fatigue but I am wondering if it was thyroid related all along! It would be a blessing if this is her cure-all. We will get her through it and I will let you know how she does getting through it. Thanks again.

More Answers



answers from Houston on

I am an MD Anderson employee, and there are resources at the website, including access to support groups. She does not have to be treated here to benefit from that.



(Thyroid cancer is a "head and neck" cancer. Here is the support group from the list.) Heads Up: For Head & Neck Cancer Patients & Their Caregivers
This support group includes an educational presentation and peer support. Refreshments will be provided. Call ###-###-####.
When: 1st Thursday of each month, 10:00 a.m. -11:30 a.m.
Where: Mays Clinic Building (ACB 4.2680)
Facilitators: April Greene, LMSW; Alicia Rubel, LMSW; Kimberly Unger, LMSW

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

My mother had thyroid cancer over 20 years ago, and treatment has come a long way since then but she did fine. She had surgery and they got all but 17%, we then went for the radioactive iodine (which she drank) for about 6 months. This procedure killed all but 2%. She then opted to go into the hospital for a massive dose and had to be isolated away from EVERYONE for 48 hours. She was not allowed to leave with anything she took in the room so we bought her a cheap gown and bible. They put her food tray on a long platform stick and put it through the door without going it. I guess that was probably the worst of it, being all alone for 48 hours. The iodine never made her sick, if she felt sick to her stomach they told her to eat lemon, which she never had to do. They suggested she use a toliet that was not shared with others on the day of treatment. I was very impressed with how well treatment went and she has been cancer free for over 20 years now. Thank you GOD.

Hope this helps, God Bless you all.



answers from Houston on

Hi D.,
Kudos to you and your friends who are being so supportive of your sick friend It is helpful to remind her that everything will be fine, that you and others will be there to encourage and help her. In difficult situations our friends/family help hold us up. God bless all those who support others in need.



answers from Killeen on

I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 1982. Since that time, I have become a college graduate, Army wife of 23 years, mother of 5 beautiful, smart children, and have recently finished teacher certification classes to teach special education. The best advice I have to give, is to remember that the side effects of being without the thyroid replacement are just temporary and soon your life can return to normal. While undergoing radiation treatment, she might be advised to keep some distance away from small children and pregnant ladies. Having a support group to talk to helps ward off depression (which can occur from the surgery itself or the thought of cancer.) Check out ACS sites for more info on treatment and potential side effects.



answers from San Antonio on

Mom went through this two years ago and although the treatments after surgery were unpleasant, she's almost a new person now!
Your friend should read EVERYTHING she can get about her diagnoses, treatments, and lifestyle changes. Check online, the library, doctors' offices, friends-of-friends, etc. Ask questions, and if you don't like an answer, ask someone else! Nutrition is extremely important (mom says the post-op no-iodine diet is hell). Hormones are also severely affected. The best way to go into it is informed and positive. Thyroid cancer is not a death sentence, so as another poster here had said, no one should act like it is "the end" for your friend.
I think the best thing Mom said she did was join an online support group for thyroid cancer patients. She's online a lot anyway, so it was also convenient. I'm sure there are in-person groups as well. When she felt that none of the family understood her mood, pain, feeling, etc, she could always find someone in the group who had "been there, done that" and offered support.
Best wishes to your friend!



answers from Victoria on

I know two people that have had there thyroid killed off. When my MIL had cancer she needed help with alot of stuff...even opening water bottles. Have lots of little snacks too. Like peanut butter indivdual servings, cracker sandwiches. Some days you have to force yourself to eat anything and you can only stomache a little bit. Also let your friend know that you are there for her if she needs anything at all. Beg her to call you if she wants a milk shake, frosty from wendys, cookies, icecream, or even a hamburger. Our friend made lots of meals for our MIL low sodium and healthy but some days you just want junk. and with all the weight loss it seemed good. Now the other lady that had thyroid killed off seemed sleepy for while with very few problems...hers was not cancer just extreamly over active. God bless your friend I pray she has a quick recovery.



answers from Houston on

I can empathize with your friend and I wish her well. I was diagnosed with brain cancer in November 2008 and am still trying to find inner resources. The first thing she definitely has on her side is your desire as her friend to help. The positive support of friends is some of the best therapy! Second, medicine has made great progress in treating cancer. I found a brochure at my Dr.'s office about a group that can be accesed online at They offer help in the form of volunteers who have been through the same type of cancer and can offer some insights. I have not availed myself to their service yet, but the opportunity is there.
Best wishes to your friend and you, as well.
Cynthia D.



answers from San Antonio on


I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer 4 yrs ago. The best thing that I found to do is PRAY. Pray for peace, comfort and of course the whole outcome of the situation. It is devasting news, it will be a stressful time and she will be tired/sluggish through the process, but it does get better.
Once she gets regulated on her medication, her life will be back to normal.
Her feelings of overwhelming are normal but she needs to try to keep focused on the outcome of this all and reassure herself that all will be fine. She musn't feel defeated by this monster, but needs to know she's going to be victorious through this all. It's all about a positive attitude!!
Thank God that she has friends that will be by her side to help her through this process. If she has a husband, I hope he's supportive and if she has young kids, she will need help with them during the radioactive treatment and body scans.
May I suggest "Mederma" to put on her scar. It can be purchased at wal-mart. She'll need to ask her surgeon/doctor in regards to when she can start using it.

If there are any questions, fell free to email me.

God Bless,

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