Rhode Island Survivor Credits Early Detection For Saving Her Life
Jody A. Miguel of Warwick, RI, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at age 32. Here is her story, in her own words.-
Early detection saved my life. I am here today to share how it can save yours. I was an active 32 year old working as a fundraiser for Kent Hospital in Warwick, Rhode Island. I had always participated in many of the hospital sponsored events relating to the American Cancer Society. At that time, I was committed to the cause of finding a cure for cancer - we all know someone affected by this deadly disease. Little did I know I would become part of the mission by becoming a survivor.
I had always lived a healthy lifestyle. I was constantly watching what I ate and working out. You know how it feels to always be on a diet and nothing is happening. Well that was just the case for me. It was exhausting. I did not understand why this was happening, and to make matters worse I was sick all the time. You name it I would have it - sinus infections, strep throat, the common cold. I felt like a walking antibiotic. I even joked with my primary care physician that I should have a frequent flyer card because I was in his office at least once every other week. So between gaining weight at full speed and being sick on a weekly basis, I knew something was wrong.
My primary care doctor sent me for a series of ultrasounds. That’s when they found a nodule in my thyroid gland. This was quite common, although mine was extremely large. I was sent to a specialist who did a biopsy. The wait for the results seemed to last forever, kind of like watching grass grow, but slower. Weeks went by, then it was time for my appointment. I took my best friend and medical advocate - my mom. We thought, oh this is going to be nothing. I am only 32. I’m probably just overdoing it. Well, the biopsy came back positive. The nodule was cancerous. We were speechless and, for us, that never happens.
I was sent to the miracle worker’s of thyroid surgeons. My surgery was supposed to take a few hours, but it lasted much longer. My parents watched the clock tick 6 hours and were so frightened. The doctor removed my entire thyroid and some of my lymph nodes. After my surgery, I had low calcium and almost passed out a few times. Then I was taken off all my medication and put on a special diet to prepare me for my radioactive iodine treatment. I had all different side effects, but remained positive throughout. I was going to beat this. I was too young and still had so much more to do in life. I vowed that once I was better, I was going to help fight back with the American Cancer Society.
In 2010, Kent Hospital was once again a sponsor for the Warwick Relay For Life. I wanted to make difference and help the cause. I knew how early detection saved my life and I wanted to let others know the same. So I volunteered to become the entertainment chair for Relay. My goal was to get other supporter and businesses to help our mission and be the voice for the American Cancer Society. That’s exactly what happened. Now we need your voice to spread the word about the fight against cancer. Help me help the fight. We need you!