Thyroid Cancer & Endometriosis: Cathy’s Story [SUCCESS]

August 10, 2020

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Today’s success story is about a woman named Cathy. She is a 38-year-old transformation strategist who enjoys traveling and going on adventures with her son. Years before Cathy began trying to conceive, she was diagnosed with endometriosis. Once she was ready to build her family, she had 3 consecutive miscarriages, which all required D&Cs. At that point, her doctor began to take her more seriously and agreed to a more extensive workup. What they found was completely unexpected: thyroid cancer. She underwent cancer treatment and had to delay trying to conceive for a year after completing it. She became pregnant again, but unfortunately, that pregnancy also ended in a miscarriage and D&C. She did one more cycle, this time with Clomid and progesterone, and became pregnant with twins. However, due to her thyroid levels, her doctor was concerned that her cancer had returned. Join us to hear how Cathy lost one of her twins but went on to give birth to a healthy son.

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What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Before infertility, Cathay was young, naive, and carefree
  • How Cathy always wanted to be a teacher, loved spending time with kids, and expected motherhood to be part of her life
  • With her endometriosis diagnosis in 2002, Cathy had a laparoscopy but continued to have problems with her cycle
  • As she focused on her career, she had a surprise pregnancy in 2006; after hearing the heartbeat, she experienced cramping and several weeks of bleeding that culminated in an emergency D & C
  • How Cathy began prioritizing being a mom over her career for the first time, which led to another pregnancy and miscarriage at eight weeks
  • Why Cathy wishes she had relied more on her intuition when she kept insisting that something was wrong—and the doctors wouldn’t listen
  • With the third miscarriage, her doctor finally took her seriously, did more testing, and found thyroid cancer
  • How the cancer diagnosis knocked Cathy completely sideways, and she went down a “vicious spiral” of doubting her desire for motherhood and her very existence
  • With the aggressive radiation treatment required, Cathy had to wait a year before trying to conceive again, and she was at a greater risk for early menopause
  • When she went on Clomid and progesterone, she became pregnant again and soon experienced her fourth miscarriage as she felt time closing in on her window to become a mom
  • With the second round with the same protocol, Cathy became pregnant again, and the first ultrasound showed two heartbeats
  • A new level of anxiety occurred when elevated thyroid levels led her doctor to suspect the return of her cancer
  • When tests showed the cancer had not returned, Cathy was relieved but terrified, thinking another miscarriage was lurking just around the corner
  • A shooting pain prompted an emergency doctor visit at nine weeks, where she lost one baby—but the other one was fine
  • The irony of the doctor’s advice to limit exercise to prevent early delivery, but then she had to be induced to give birth when her son was born in 2011
  • What it was like to lose one twin and keep the other
  • What her son knows about his birth and what Cathy plans to tell him
  • How Cathy has had medically-induced menopause following a hysterectomy
  • How Cathy’s thyroid problems added a complexity to her pregnancy with her son
  • What it was like to be diagnosed with thyroid cancer
  • How Cathy was offered fertility-saving options prior to cancer treatment
  • What cancer treatment looked like for Cathy–and her support team
  • The sense of urgency to move along with fertility treatment
  • How Cathy weighed the clinic’s success rates and their ability to deal with her unique situation
  • How Cathy managed her mental health through her journey
  • The role that endometriosis played in Cathy’s struggle to conceive
  • The lowest point after three miscarriages and a cancer diagnosis
  • How Cathy sees the silver lining to her struggle and knows that her son saved her because otherwise, her cancer would have been undetected and untreated
  • What single parenthood is like for Cathy
  • How Cathy balanced work, fertility treatment, and cancer treatment by being honest with her boss and scheduling appointments around work when possible
  • Since Cathy felt depressed and broken, she couldn’t be available for friends who were having babies
  • Cathy’s tips for advocating for yourself: “Speak up and ask questions.”
  • The mix of emotions around her son’s birth, knowing his twin should have been there also
  • How infertility changed Cathy: “I don’t take things for granted anymore. I advocate for myself, do my research, and ask multiple questions. I can appreciate my son on a whole different level.”
  • Cathy’s advice to her past self: “Take care of yourself.”

References:

Thanks for listening!

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