Battling Thyroid Cancer “dee”

By Greg Willis

Talk about driven. Dee is the very definition of the word. She’s a hard-working, intelligent woman, thriving in the hustle and bustle of downtown Manhattan. Dee works as a consultant in corporate communications, and hasn’t slowed down much in the last ten years - despite battling thyroid cancer.

Ten years ago, she was an undergraduate about to attend Columbia University in New York. Before beginning the fall semester, she scheduled an appointment with the family doctor for an annual physical. Despite feeling fine, the doctor noticed something odd: A lump in her throat.

“The lump was quite insignificant,” Dee said. “In fact, it could only really be seen from the side. It came as a surprise that this could potentially be something worth worrying about.”

After she discovered the lump, Dee underwent surgery to have the “cyst” removed. During surgery, cancer was discovered.

“Looking back on it now, I should’ve requested a biopsy immediately after they noticed the lump in my throat,” she said. “But I was 24, and being a potential candidate for cancer never even crossed my mind for a second. It was surprising.”

Dee then underwent a complete thyroidectomy to remove all of the cancerous areas around her thyroid one month later. Her thyroidectomy was performed at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Since the diagnosis 10 years ago, she has undergone six additional surgeries related to the thyroid cancer. During that time, she continued her studies at Columbia University and then went on to get her Masters at the London School of Economics and Political Science. “It certainly made for hectic semesters,” Dee joked.

“My family was very supportive of my choices during that time,” she said. “They encouraged me to do whatever I wanted, but to make certain that I was receiving good care.”

And essentially that’s what she has continued to do. Her endocrinologist of 10 years, Dr. Jeffrey Garber of Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, reports that although the cancer is not completely cured, she’s in great health and continues to live a normal and active lifestyle.

“I’ve been insistent that this won’t stop me,” Dee said. “And I haven’t let it.”

"Looking back on it now, I should've ordered a biopsy immediately after they noticed the lump in my throat," she said. "But I was 24, and being a potential candidate for cancer never even crossed my mind for a second. it was suprising."