Thyroid cancer taught me to always, always listen to my body, to advocate for my health needs and even when afraid, to keep moving forward
Pastor Tara Eastman was diagnosed with thyroid cancer on Oct 16, 2017. She has successfully defeated her disease. She is a writer, cook, artist, and pastor of Lutheran church.
“I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer, after having a partial thyroidectomy on Oct 16th, 2017.”
“I found the mass on my neck in May of 2017. I had to have many tests (needle biopsy, ultrasounds, and blood work) and started the process with my primary physician and was referred to an ear, nose and throat specialist. My first surgery was scheduled for September, but due to an injury sustained by my surgeon the day prior to surgery, it was cancelled.
Due to this delay I was then referred to Roswell Park Cancer Hospital in Buffalo as my surgery was anticipated to be complicated. I saw a voice specialist and the surgeon from Roswell’s Head and Neck department and was scheduled for a partial thyroidectomy and tumor removal on Oct. 16. During this whole time of testing and waiting, I did not know if the mass was cancerous.
The mass continued to grow and was causing some speech and breathing issues. As planned, the surgery took place on Oct. 16, 2017. The mass, left side of thyroid gland and some lymph nodes were removed. I stayed in hospital overnight and was discharged the morning following surgery. Recovery required me to go home with a drain tube for about a week.
It was removed a week later and I went back to work two weeks after surgery. The pathology report from surgery took a little more than two weeks to receive. It was at that point that the surgeon informed me the mass was benign but there had been a small spot of stage one papillary thyroid cancer in the removed gland. It is now one year post op and I am still in remission from thyroid cancer.
While my recovery did not include radiation treatment, I changed my diet to gluten, dairy and egg free aid in healing and help keep Hashimoto’s disease (that may have contributed to thyroid problems) in check.”
Motivation to fight cancer
“My faith, family and friends helped to keep me motivated to fight cancer and pursue healthier habits.”
“The waiting for tests, test results and an inconclusive needle biopsy made my uncertainty prior to surgery quite intense.”
Message to other cancer patients
“Advocate for yourself. Find support from doctors and health professionals that move efforts forward and empower you to find solutions. Ask questions, use patient portal (email service) and follow up on your own behalf!”