A woman received a thyroid cancer diagnosis after doctors had dismissed her lump for two and a half years. She is now backing a campaign by Teenage Cancer Trust. Watch the video below:
Jordan Ramsay, 22, had battled extreme fatigue for more than four years and later developed a lump behind her ear.
The nursery worker's GPs were not concerned about her symptoms. When she turned 21 she visited another doctor for an irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) problem, where she also mentioned the lump.
Jordan, from Aberdeen, was soon referred to hospital in March 2021 following blood tests.
Two months later, after further testing, Jordan was given the shocking news that she had thyroid cancer.
"Doctors definitely didn’t take my concerns seriously for two years – I felt stupid mentioning it to medical professionals,” she said.
"But I was seeing a GP about my other health condition, including severe IBS, when I mentioned my lump. He then added up all my other symptoms and referred me to the hospital for more tests.
"Just under two weeks later, I was asked to go in for the results. I knew that meant it was bad news, so I had prepared myself for the fact that it was cancer, but I still burst into tears when they confirmed I had thyroid cancer.
"My mum was with me, and she was in shock."
Jordan thought her extreme fatigue was due to being a busy teenager. She also had glandular fever in the past and has always been iron deficient.
"I noticed the lump about two and a half years before I was diagnosed. I’d had glandular fever so originally put it down to that, but did think it was strange that it still was there.
“I was also prone to throat infections and tonsillitis so thought it might be swollen lymph nodes.
"Numerous medical professionals had felt it and said it was one of those things, or calcification around a lymph node, so that seemed reasonable.
"It wasn’t until I was referred to the hospital that I knew it was serious and had an inclination that it was cancer."
After her cancer diagnosis, doctors told Jordan that she needed to have an operation to remove her thyroid and 74 cancerous lymph nodes, before needing further treatment.
She was introduced to Amanda, a Teenage Cancer Trust nurse who was able to provide information and much needed support. After her surgery in July 2021, Jordan began her radioactive treatment, which she found very difficult.
"I was in the same four walls and I couldn’t see anyone. I had to isolate at home for a further four weeks, so I was up in my room alone.
“I found myself struggling."
"I felt like my life was in limbo. I didn’t know how I’d get back to normal life and felt mentally drained.
“Amanda was there for me – she suggested that I set myself little tasks for the day, even if it was just getting up, making the bed, washing my face and changing my clothes."
A scan just before Christmas revealed that the treatment was working for Jordan and she is now on maintenance medication to ensure the cancer doesn’t return.
Jordan has an appointment coming up in the next few months to assess whether or not she is at high risk for her cancer to recur – something she is ‘nervous’ for.
Being diagnosed with thyroid cancer means she will never be fully in remission, and she will be on medication for the rest of her life.
“It was a hard thing to come to terms with, not having that reassurance and completion. But it has become my normal. “Unfortunately, due to maintenance treatment, I still am really tired and have some nasty side effects like being unable to sleep, shaking and hand tremors, and heart palpitations." Jordan is now back at work and has begun fundraising to support Teenage Cancer Trust as thanks for their help and guidance.
Teenage Cancer Trust is running a fundraiser with Omaze, which is giving someone the chance to win a £2,000,000 villa in Spain and £250,000 in cash. You can find out more information here.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact Macmillan’s Cancer Support Line on 0808 808 00 00, 8am–8pm seven days a week.
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