BATTLING with extreme fatigue for four years, Jordan Ramsay had a 'gut feeling' that something wasn't right.
Alongside this, the now 22-year-old developed a lump behind her ear, which doctors put down to glandular fever – also known as 'kissing disease'.
Just months later, Jordan was given the shocking news that she had thyroid cancer.
The nursery worker from Scotland said GPs hadn't been concerned about her symptoms initially.
But when she turned 21 she visited a different doctor for her Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and mentioned the lump.
She was given blood tests before being sent to hospital in March 2021.
Read more on thyroid cancer
Doctors told me ‘stop being LAZY’… a month later I was given a shock diagnosis
After being given the diagnosis, Jordan said she felt 'numb'.
She said: "My main concerns firstly were ‘will I die?’.
"Doctors definitely didn’t take my concerns seriously for two years – I felt stupid mentioning it to medical professionals.
"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.
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"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 said she never thought something like this would happen to her, especially after she was assured by medics that everything was fine.
Initially, she said she had put the tiredness down to being a teenager and to being busy.
She added: "I've also have 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."
I felt like my life was in limbo. I didn’t know how I’d get back to normal life and felt mentally drained
After her diagnosis, she was told she would have to have an operation to remove her thyroid and 74 cancerous lymph nodes, and would also need further treatment.
It was then she was introduced to Amanda, a Teenage Cancer Trust nurse who was able to provide information and support.
After her surgery in July 2021, Jordan began her radioactive treatment, which she found very difficult.
She spent most of this time alone as she had to isolate and couldn't be around anyone – something Jordan says was a struggle.
Before that she said she had been 'positive', but added that at this point it felt like there was no reason for her to get up.
"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," she said.
What are the signs of thyroid cancer you need to know?
Around 3,400 diagnoses are made each year, with it more common in women than in men. So what are the signs and symptoms to look out for and how is it treated?
Thyroid cancer doesn't usually present any signs or symptoms early in the disease.
It is usually found when patients are undergoing ultrasounds, CT scans or MRIs for an unrelated reason.
As the cancer grows it may cause;
- A lump that can be felt or is visible through the skin on your neck
- A change to your voice
- Difficulty swallowing
- A mysterious cough
- Pain in your neck and throat
A scan just before Christmas revealed that the treatment was working and Jordan is now on medication which will prevent the cancer returning.
Jordan said if it wasn't for the GP who referred her to hospital, then things would be completely different.
She said her doctor had previously had cancer so decided to monitor the lump for four months before sending her on for tests.
"If it wasn’t for him, I think I still wouldn’t be diagnosed and it could be a very different story I’m sharing.
"As much as I hated pushing for tests, I had a gut feeling something just wasn’t 100 per cent right," she added.
COMING TO TERMS WITH CANCER
She is now awaiting an appointment in the coming months which will determine if her cancer will return.
Her diagnosis means she will never fully be in remission and that she will have to take medication for the rest of her life.
She said: “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 supporting the Teenage Cancer Trust and backing it's latest partnership with Omaze which is giving someone the chance to win a £2,000,000 villa in Spain and £250,000 in cash.
Jordan added: "I’m grateful to have had Amanda’s support throughout my journey. I have no idea where I would be without her; she’s been a saviour and things would have been harder without her.
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"Giving back to the charity and showing how grateful I am means the world to me. I’d like to think the work I do is not only raising money, but also awareness for cancer and a charity that gives support to those going through a diagnosis.
“That’s why the partnership with Omaze is so important – as it will raise significant funds and widespread awareness for Teenage Cancer Trust. I’m absolutely thrilled they’ve teamed up again.”
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