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My name is Beth and I am a 29-year-old mother of a beautiful baby girl named Keisha. Seven months ago I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, two weeks after delivering my baby prematurely due to a rare condition called hyperparathyroidism. Keisha has just turned seven months, and it’s both funny and sad that it’s taken me this long to collect my thoughts. I remember when I was still carrying her inside me, I thought to myself that if I survive this, I need to share my story and hopefully help save other women.
I’m just an ordinary person with an extraordinary story. I’ve suffered from eight years of kidney stones (multiple blasting), depression and a miscarriage. I was treated by the best doctors for all these ailments but little did we know they were all actually symptoms for a bigger disease - hypercalcemia. This is a fancy term for high calcium (my body was taking calcium from my bones and releasing it into my bloodstream, if that makes any sense) and after many years the calcium calcifies in your kidney, brain and even heart.
By the grace of God, I managed to conceive Keisha against all odds despite having cancer which I, at that time, had not yet discovered. I spent the last two months of my pregnancy in the hospital and delivered Keisha at 34 weeks. She was a mere 1.7kg at birth.
How I found out I had cancer was by accident, really. I guess you could say that if I never had Keisha, I would never have discovered any of this. So, when I went in for the surgery to remove my parathyroid, the surgeon sent the cells in for biopsy and found that the thyroid cells were cancerous. She proceeded to do a full thyroidectomy. Because there were no clear margins for the surgery I had to go for radiotherapy shortly after and spent a month away from Keisha, but it’s a small price to pay for a lifetime of giggles and adventures.
Note: Marie Claire would like to thank Beth for sharing her survivor story with us. We love hearing your stories. Write to [email protected] if you'd like to share your personal battles or experience.
What are the symptoms of hyperparathyroidism?
- Tingling (paresthesia) in fingertips, toes, and lips
- Muscle aches or cramps in your legs, feet, abdomen or face
- Twitching or spasms of your muscles (mouth, hand)
- Fatigue or weakness
- Difficult and painful menstruation
- Patchy hair loss