ATLANTA – After years of trying, Allison Murphy became pregnant in 2016. Her husband couldn’t believe it.
Murphy recalls, “It was miraculous.” It felt miraculous, as if we had been given a gift.
Murphy was monitored closely by her doctors during her pregnancy.
They were looking at her thyroid gland, which is a small, butterfly-shaped gland that lies on the front of the next and secretes hormones to regulate the body’s metabolic rate.
She said, “I had an thyroid nodule.” It was right there. It looked just like an Adam’s apple to me. It stood out like a knot in me throat.”
Murphy was 35 weeks pregnant after 8 years of benign but regular biopsies. Murphy’s endocrinologist asked Murphy to come in.
This was when she found out that her recent biopsy was inconclusive but suspicious of cancer.
She was referred by a surgeon who suggested that her thyroid be removed as soon as possible.
Murphy said, “I looked at my stomach and thought, ‘I can’t have my thyroid removed by the end of this year, I’m about to have my child.'”
Thyroid lumps are generally benign or not cancerous.
According to the American Cancer Society, there are some warning signs that thyroid cancer could be present. These include a lump that appears to be growing quickly or swelling in the neck.
Other signs include hoarseness, voice changes, trouble swallowing or breathing, or a constant cough that is not caused by a cold.
Dr. Carmen Elisa LeBlanc, Murphy’s endocrinologist at Piedmont Healthcare, advises that you should be on the lookout for sudden changes in your thyroid gland.
Dr. LeBlanc states, “If you notice a bump there and it’s growing quickly,” You should be able to see the bump if it isn’t growing rapidly or your voice is changing.
Dr. LeBlanc had previously treated other patients with thyroid cancer while pregnant.
She says, “Generally speaking, we assure them this is very treatable.” “The important thing is to get your thyroid out.”
Murphy gave birth three months after giving birth to her daughter. Murphy had to undergo surgery to remove the thyroid.
The nodule was found to be cancerous in a test.
Soon after her surgery, she started radioactive-iodine treatment. She had to stop breastfeeding her baby.
Dr. LeBlanc says that unfortunately this doesn’t happen due to the higher risk of the baby absorbing radioactive Iodine. This is affecting the baby’s thyroid, and eventually, destroying its thyroid.
Murphy claims that not being able to breastfeed was the most difficult part of her cancer journey.
Because she was radioactive, she also had to leave her family for a week.
Murphy is now six-years-old, cancer-free, and the mother to a healthy daughter.
She is grateful that her cancer was discovered and treated quickly before it could spread beyond her thyroid.