Sore throat was can­cer

My husky voice hid a sin­is­ter se­cret

Chat - - Contents - By Juliet Shand, 44, from Would­ham, Kent

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

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