May 22, 2024
Survivor Voices

Survivor Voices: Vanessa, a thyroid cancer survivor

We are so honored to have the opportunity to share today's "Survivor Voices" feature with thyroid cancer survivor Vanessa Steil, who just celebrated being TEN years cancer free!

As part of our Survivor Voices features, we are honored to have the opportunity to share part of thyroid cancer survivor Vanessa’s story as she recently celebrated being 10 years cancer free. 

“I never imagined going to the gynecologist for what I thought was my annual exam would lead to a neck check, but without my doctor performing that exam, who knows what my outcome could have been. While nobody wants to receive a cancer diagnosis, mine gave me purpose and helped me to make a difference for other patients and people.”

“As a 10 year thyroid cancer survivor, I look back on my diagnosis with a lot of gratitude for the resources and access to care that I had. One thing that stands out to me now, is how unprepared I was for survivorship. When you are going through a diagnosis, you tend to have a lot of support around you whether it’s from family, friends, or your medical team. However, that can fade over time, and you are left navigating survivorship on your own, which can feel isolating. Survivorship isn’t just about your health, but also about how you live your life post-diagnosis.”

“It wasn’t until I marked 10 years as a cancer survivor that my diagnosis started to take a back seat in my life. Over the years, there were a few potential thyroid cancer recurrence scares, annual neck ultrasounds that would give me scanxiety, and bi-annual visits with my endocrinologist to draw blood. Then there is the daily synthetic thyroid hormone replacement pill that I take every morning when I wake up that will forever serve as a constant reminder of my diagnosis. But after a decade, I’ve learned to take it all in stride, to listen to my body more, and to advocate for myself when something comes up.” 

“Fortunately, I think about cancer a lot less these days. I’ve been monitored by care teams for so many years and knowing I’m my own advocate when it comes to my health makes me feel good. I learned a long time ago to never take anything for granted. Life can change so quickly and sharing my story is an important part of my survivorship journey and helping others navigate their diagnoses and return to their lives.” 

Thank you SO much, for sharing your wisdom and experience with our community, Vanessa.

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