Personal Stories From Persons With Thyroid Cancer

From Diana Santaiti:

I was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer in March 2005. Before this I was an healthy 30 year old. I even had a routine physical and nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

Its funny how things work I was in a small fender bender in late February 2005 and I went to see a chiropractor to check out my sore neck….when he was adjusting my neck he felt a lump and he ask how long I had this and I had no idea I even had a lump.

The next couple of weeks I was in a haze going through the motions but not actually there. I had meet with so many doctors and had sonograms and a biopsy and finally surgery not once but twice since the first time they thought it was not cancer. I can’t explain the feeling I got when my doctor said it was Thyroid Cancer! I don’t think I heard anything else he said after that I just remember crying and saying to myself I might die!

I don’t think I really hit me until I was sitting across from my radiation oncologist saying wow I have an oncologist. I think the next part of this was the hardest I need to take a small pill and sit in a room for a couple of days away from my husband and baby. I sat in the room thinking I can feel sorry for myself or I can fight….I choose to fight. I was fortunate enough to have great friends and family to see the good in all this bad.

Today five years later I still wonder why this happened to me and how. I always thought it had to do with something environmental but I could never corner on what it was. After reading Joe’s article I feel like I have an answer on what has plagued me for five years. I hope that further research and studies can possible wipe out a disease that no one should have.

My name is Nancy Briggs, age 45 from Tuxedo, NY.

I was born in the Bronx and at the age of 5 my family moved to the suburbs to a town called Sloatsburg, in Rockland County. When I saw the story on Eyewitness news about the increased rates of thyroid cancer in the surrounding counties around Indian Point, I couldn’t believe it. I’ve been suspecting this for years.

After the birth of my second daughter in 1991, I felt a strange pain of some sort of lump in my throat. My blood work was normal but the sonogram showed that I had a multinodular goiter. The doctors were not concerned at all and for 12 years they kept an eye on it. As the nodules grew, I asked for a biopsy which came in “inconclusive”.

My wonderful surgeon felt we should go ahead and go into surgery anyway. Thank goodness. Six years ago I was diagnosed with stage 1 Papillary Carcinoma, Thyroid Cancer in all of the nodules. I had a complete thyroidectomy and followed up with radioactive iodine treatment. It’s been a struggle getting my levels regulated, but I guess I’m grateful to have a curable cancer.

I have always suspected it came from Indian point. There are so many people I know in the Rockland area with Thyroid Cancer – it’s alarming. Unfortunately these areas suffer from all types of cancer, I consider myself one of the lucky ones.

When I was diagnosed, they asked me if I ever was exposed to radiation. Of course I had the average dental x-rays etc. but I had to attend a field trip to Indian Point plant when I was in High School around 1981 or 1982. I’ve often wondered if I was exposed to something either that day or on a regular basis in our neighborhood?

Personally, my wish is to close Indian Point. During the news conference a representative from there said that Joe Mangano was blowing things out of proportion. Tell that to the large number of friends I have that have also been diagnosed. They say that Thyroid Cancer is curable so it’s not a big deal. You try going through the surgery, radioactive iodine treatment, and the general fear of this diagnosis and then tell me it’s no big deal.

Let’s not have the statistics for Rockland, Orange, Putnam and Westchester keep rising. I just had another dear friend have her thyroid removed last week. She grew up in Stony Point. Another victim. At least let’s bring awareness to people in the area that if they are experiencing symptoms they should consult a doctor. Physicians in these counties need to be diligent in checking thyroid levels etc. Most people do not know they even have it.

Click here to read Mary Shomon’s article: Link Found Between Thyroid Cancer and NY Area Residents’ Proximity to Indian Point Nuclear Plant

Mary is the author of a number of best-selling books on thyroid disease, hormones, autoimmune disease, and weight loss, and a nationally-known spokesperson and activist for patient rights.