Thyroid Cancer Survivor Now A Fitness Enthusiast

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“You sometimes have to look back, to see how far your Journey has taken you”

Kandice Welch was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2017. She has successfully defeated her disease. Now, she is a fitness enthusiast and motivating others.

The Diagnosis

“I went to my nurse practitioner in September of 2016 for a sinus infection. After my exam she advised me to have my thyroid ultrasound, cause it appeared to be enlarged. Had blood work done, all my levels came back “normal” but the ultrasound showed 2 different spots on the middle and right side. I then went to an ENT, and we decided to watch them for 3 months since they were small.

In Jan 2017 had my 2nd ultrasound done, the areas had changed. I then went for a needle biopsy…the results were inconclusive. After that the decision was made to remove the middle and right side with surgery, that was March 8, 2017. Spent 3 days in the hospital. 10 days later, I went back for my follow up and have my stitches removed. The biopsy after surgery showed it was cancer. On March 28 2017, I had my second surgery to remove the left side of my thyroid, making it a Complete thyroidectomy. After that I was scheduled with an oncologist to discuss treatment options.”

The Journey

“Having a Plan, a good Cancer Healthcare team, family support team, and a POSITIVE mindset is everything. After being diagnosed, I had to Meet with an oncologist and discuss treatment options.

We decided the iodine radiation treatment would be the best route for me. I had to wait until my levels crashed, before doing the treatment. This was probably the worst I have EVER felt in my whole life. I took the treatment and had to be completely away from everyone for 10 days. I stayed in a house by myself for 4 days not being able to move off the couch, because I felt horrible. I didn’t feel like even taking a shower, but they recommend taking 6-7 a day to get rid of the extra radiation. After the first 4 days, it slowly got better, I was at least able to function and went for short walks.

After that…I had to have follow-ups with the oncologists, the PET scan showed “hot spots” they are keeping an eye on, and that should go down over time. My first year I was on 3 months follow-ups. Each time I had to have blood work done to check my medication levels, and they are constantly changing my doses. I just hit my 1 yr check up and now able to go every 6 months.”

Motivation to fight cancer

“My family and friends were a huge support system during this time. Coming from a small town, they pulled together to help my family with anything we needed. My motivation to keep fighting is for them. I have 2 children aged 11 and 4. My 4-year-old was diagnosed with Autism and special needs 2 months after I was diagnosed with Cancer. My focus was on getting back to “normal” so I could be the best mom for them.”

Biggest hindrance

“The symptoms of not having a Thyroid is the worse. I never knew how much that little organ controlled. NO ONE ever told me the symptoms I would experience, as they were only focused on the cancer treatment part. My energy levels bottomed out, I felt like a slug. Being a busy mom that wasn’t an option. I still have days, when I’m the tired….no amount of rest helps. Brain fog, I used to remember EVERYTHING…now I can’t remember why I walked into a room. Weight gain, I have been on a fitness journey for 3 yrs now…weight loss after surgery was nearly impossible.

It’s better now, I am back to where I was before the start of my cancer journey. Hair loss, I make the girl who does my hair, keep an eye on the thickness. Anxiety and depression, at first it was really bad, with hormone levels all out of whack. Was placed on medication, even though I had a positive outlook on the whole event. After less than 6 months, I was able to come off the medications. I still have a little bit of the anxiety part, when my female hormone levels spike.”

Message to other fighters

“When you hear the words “its cancerous” your world will stop for a few seconds… it’s after those seconds you have to choose to give up or to fight. Right then, choose to fight. Fight with everything YOU have inside of you. The way your mindset determines how your journey will go. Surround yourself with positive energy. Tell yourself on the bad days (cause you are going to have days that are hell) they can always be worse.

Eat healthily, the better nutrition you give your body, the better you are going to feel from the inside. Don’t be angry, Show love, we never know when our last breath will be. And Pray, pray for healing, pray for a positive mindset, pray for God to take the pain away. Do not give up, fight with every breath you are given….because today is a gift and tomorrow is not promised.”

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