Danielle Nicosia, Thyroid Thrivers
29 years young
New York, USA
Diagnosed in 2012
I was born with a moderate to severe hearing loss (Bilateral Sensorineural nerve
damage). I struggled most of my life being hearing impaired and not receiving
the proper education.
One day my life went completely downhill at the age of 18 years old. Long story
short, after thousands of dollars in medical bills and being admitted to hospital
after the hospital, I finally had a diagnosis. In 2012 at the age of 26, I was
misdiagnosed with Metastatic Thyroid Cancer, Hypothyroidism, and
After being brushed off by a Chief of Endocrinology, who claimed I was fine, I
took matters in my own hands to seek medical care elsewhere because I was
throwing up blood. This Endocrinologist told me I had a “bad cold”. But I knew
my body and I knew something was wrong. After suffering for so long, I finally
listened to my cousin and saw a doctor she works for. This doctor saved my life.
For many years, I suffered from severe weight gain, fatigue, pain all over my
body, and pain in both legs. A year before I was diagnosed with the cancer I
was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. Countless doctors refused to help me and
brushed me off.
Months before I was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer and the thyroid diseases,
I found out that I had Peripheral Neuropathy in both of my legs, causing me
the inability to walk. Since the age of 26, I have used a motorized wheelchair and
a metal wheelchair (to wheel myself), which is so impossible to do now. I
also have a walker, many canes, and shower bench. The moment I stand,
even till this day, I would fall to the ground.
Little did I know, all the pain in my legs and in
my feet were caused by being misdiagnosed with
Hypothyroidism. My surgeon who removed my
entire thyroid told me that I had thyroid cancer
and that I had had every Thyroid disease for at
least 10+ years. Unfortunately, my cancer spread
to my entire thyroid and many lymph nodes, as
well as my lungs. I completed two aggressive
rounds of Radioactive Iodine that led me to having Salivary Gland Disease. My salivary
glands are “ burnt” as my doctor stated from the Radioactive Iodine.
Cancer of the thyroid is on the rise. More and more people are being diagnosed
daily with this disease. I urge you all to get your necks checked by getting a
referral from your primary care physician for a Thyroid Ultrasound.
According to the American Cancer Society, the key statistics for Thyroid Cancer in 2014 are: About 62,980 new cases of Thyroid Cancer (47,790 in women, and 15,190 in men). About 1,890 deaths (1,060 women and 830 men)
As of today, I struggle daily. I can barely walk around my apartment with my
walker. The pain is unbearable because treatment made my legs worse. I also
ended up with a herniated disk this month that I am having a procedure for.
Seems like every week there is a different problem. I am in constant pain, but
mostly with my legs. I still can’t walk. It has been two years with cancer. I
feel like I have had it my entire life.
CANCER IS CANCER. No cancer is good.
You have no idea how painful the words “ You have the good cancer,” are to me.
Especially the many people I know, those of whom who said this to me, the day
I made my thyroid cancer public. People need to keep their mouths shut. Until
you have walked in my shoes, you don’t get a say. Please keep it to yourself.
I also have to say that taking two different thyroid pills a day means nothing. You don’t just take a pill and say, “I am cancer free” or “I feel great”. Life doesn’t work that way, unfortunately. Did you know that people who just have Hypothyroidism struggle every day? They struggle with exhaustion, weight gain, constant forgetfulness, and brain fog. I can sleep forever to be honest. If I would have known before I had surgery that life without a Thyroid would be so complicated, I would of kept my thyroid. But unfortunately, because I was misdiagnosed and the cancer was so far along, I could not save it.
As of now, my thyroid levels are still not adjusted even with all these countless medication I have been on. I am on about 10 different medications because I have so many different problems. I also ended up with Hypoparathyrodiism after my thyroid surgery. It seems like my medication list gets longer each week. My immune system is very compromised. I am always in and out of the hospital as well. Not to mention all the side effects and the horrible weight gain with the pain medications. Living without a thyroid is extremely hard. So, for those that think that just taking a pill and boom all your symptoms are gone, you are wrong. I wish that could happen in a heartbeat. It just doesn’t! Additionally, I wanted to point out – celebrities who had/have thyroid cancer (I will not mention names) who clearly stated that thyroid cancer is the good cancer. How just taking medication saved their life. Celebrities have tons of money, while thousands of us don’t have that income level. Because they have all that money, these celebrities have the best care possible. It just stinks because it should work for everyone. Saying “ this pill saved my life” is highly egregious, especially if their cancer did not spread like it does in the majority of us. Since the diagnosis, I have met and made friends worldwide in this amazing Thyroid community. I reach out daily to so many wonderful people who have touched my life. I am grateful for every one of you. Spreading awareness is so very important to me. That is why I make sure our voices are heard. This is not a simple fix. Even if tomorrow I end up being cancer-free, I still have the rest of my life ahead of me without a thyroid. Your thyroid controls not only your metabolism, but also your hormones, heart, brain, and kidneys. I didn’t know this tiny gland controlled over 100 different functions. I didn’t know about it at all until it was too late. Maybe this article will reach some and they will start asking questions, sooner than I had the opportunity of doing. Most importantly, if you are not on the proper medication, you can get more ill, which I have experienced. I’m actually allergic to Levothyroxine (which isn’t good for some) and Synthroid, too! I currently take Armour Thyroid. Although my levels are still not where they are supposed to be, I have to continue taking this dose. Unfortunately, this can take years to get balanced out. Our thyroid medications trick our body into pretending we have a thyroid. Everyone is different. I am not at all saying you will experience exactly what I have gone through. All I am saying is to make sure you get your necks checked, every six months. Thyroid cancer is on the rise at a tremendously rapid pace and it is a bit unnerving. Ask questions! Throughout this journey, I’ve met phenomenal cancer survivors from support groups. And, I’ve also lost way too many new friends, along the way, just from thyroid cancer alone. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of them. Life with more than one disease is overly complicated. The support system I have is out of this world. I can’t even imagine making it through one day without them. My boyfriend, nieces, and nephew keep me going and keep me smiling. I fight hard, like a warrior, every day. Not just for them, but for myself as well. Most importantly, I fight for my Grandfather, who lost his fight to Metastatic Bladder Cancer in March 2013. Sometime after my thyroid cancer diagnosis, my Grandfather’s cancer came back like wildfire. He taught me to have hope and to fight for your life. To keep the faith even when I had none. He was such an amazing man. I can still hear him say to me “We will be okay”. I keep believing those words. Watching him pass right in front of my eyes destroyed me. We shared a closeness and bond while we were both dealing with cancer at the same time. I will forever be grateful for those times. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. All the love and support keeps me going and means so much to me and my daily battles and struggles. People often say to me “ You are the strongest person I have ever known. I wouldn’t be able to go through 1/2 of what you have been dealing with.” Apparently, I am stronger and more courageous, than even I thought I was. Talk about one wild roller coaster ride. This one surely takes the cake. Since, you only get one life, as they say. So, I am trying to conquer and enjoy each new day, with all of my might. Here’s hoping that someday, somewhere along the way, there will be a cure for all of us. Those of you that have been recently diagnosed, FIGHT LIKE HELL. IF I CAN DO THIS, YOU CAN TOO!
Even at your worst, enjoy the spice of life. Most of all NEVER GIVE UP.
Danielle Nicosia is a Thyroid Cancer Survivor who also suffers from Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s and Hypoparathyroidism Disease. An advocate with the heart of gold. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.
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