Sore throat was cancer
My husky voice hid a sinister secret
Iwas tired, aching all over, with a really croaky voice.
‘You sound like Rod Stewart!’ my husband Matt, then 44, joked in April last year.
Rolling my eyes, I ignored him, assuming I was run-down from working too hard.
After all, I’d a full-time job in recruitment for a care company. Plus I looked after our kids Joe, 17, and Eloise, 13, and held down a part-time job in a football club, too.
Life was busy! But, relatively young, fit and healthy, I didn’t think much of it.
Only, as the weeks passed, my throat became more gravelly and deeper. I was finding it hard to swallow at times, too, and the tiredness and aching were becoming unmanageable.
So I visited my GP, who did blood tests, felt my neck, and referred me for an ultrasound.
‘They’ve found a couple of nodules – lumps – on your neck,’ he explained afterwards. ‘One is 1.9cm, so they’re going to do a biopsy.’
He didn’t seem overly worried, and neither was I.
Matt came with me to Medway Maritime Hospital for the biopsy. And, a couple of weeks later, at the start of November, I went back for the results.
‘The results suggest cancer,’ the consultant explained gravely. ‘You’ll need to have a partial thyroidectomy.’
I sat there, totally stunned.
It’d never even occurred to me it might be cancer. I was so shocked, I didn’t even cry, just gulped, ‘OK.’
The doctor explained he’d send me an appointment for the surgery, and I left in a daze.
I was in no state to break the news to Matt on the phone.
You’ve got to come home,
I messaged instead. Then I phoned my friend Charlene and broke down in tears.
The children were at home, and I didn’t want them to see me so upset, so I went round to her place.
When Matt arrived, he took one look at me and just knew.
We were both shocked and scared. It felt like the worst thing in the world. But the hardest part was yet to come – telling the children. I sat them down in the kitchen. ‘I’ve got something to tell you,’ I gulped. ‘I’ve got cancer.’
As they collapsed, sobbing, all I could do was try my best to hold it together, reassure them everything would be OK.
Although I didn’t know for sure, I’d found out the survival rate for my type of cancer was 90 per cent. I just hoped I’d be one of the lucky ones.
By the time I went in for surgery on 26 November, I’d found out I had what’s called papillary carcinoma, and that the tumour was now 3cm big.
The consultant decided it would be more effective to do a total thyroidectomy.
I didn’t make a fuss, just pulled on my big-girl pants and put on a brave face.
‘I just want to get back to business as usual,’ I told Matt. ‘Go back to work and get on with my life.’
Surgeons cut open the front of my neck to remove my thyroid gland and some lymph nodes.
When I woke up afterwards, I had 17 staples holding my neck together.
‘I look like Frankenstein’s bride!’ I gasped.
My left vocal cord had been
The survival rate is 90%. I hoped I’d be one of the lucky ones