Gabby's thyroid story
Gabby has kindly written this week’s blog to share her thyroid healing story with us. She shares her experience of living with a thyroid cancer diagnosis as well as making the decision to take a natural route and whilst doing so, reversed her autoimmune disease. She is an absolute beacon of light and I was so inspired by how she tells her story with so much grace. Read her story below.
My name is Gabby and in April 2018 I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer [papillary
carcinoma, 2cm nodule, right hand lobe]. I had gone to my doctor to figure out why I
was getting pimples and came out with a cancer diagnoses. To say I was shocked would
be a gross understatement…
Wind back 9 years, I was 17 and at high school – our PE teacher was doing heart rate
testing and noticed that my resting heart rate was way too high. He recommended I go
to see a doctor, which I did. After many tests I was diagnosed with Graves Disease
[overactive thyroid] and it was a relief to have a disease to blame for all the symptoms I
had been experiencing; sweaty, heat-intolerant, fainting, constant hunger, weight loss,
insomnia and many more uncomfortable symptoms that I had been attributing to being
a hormonal teen.
At 17, in the hands of the doctors, I was prescribed heavy dosing of Neo-Mercazole to
suppress my Graves Disease. I was warned that if I didn’t take my medication and look
after myself, I could develop more health conditions in the future. So I took my
medicine and the symptoms improved. I was a teenager, and trusted Western medicine
completely – so I figured my problems were solved and carried on without giving it
After graduating VCE in our country town, I moved to the city. Looking back, this is a
time in my life when I abused my health without caution – at the time, I thought I was
having fun. I ate takeaway everyday. I binge drank. I took recreational drugs. I bummed
smokes at parties. I never exercised my body or my mind. I was physically and mentally
unfit; low self-esteem, anger issues, mood swings and feelings of depression. Fair to say
I did some serious damage to my already compromised thyroid.
Then my partner and I got pregnant, and life took its first dramatic turn for me. I settled
down, got married, moved back home to be with my family, started taking better care of
myself [cereal for breaki instead of McDonalds… still had some learning to do!] and we
had our second son within the space of a few years.
As positive as these changes were for me, I was still unhappy more than I was happy. In
hindsight, after our second son was born I believe I developed post-natal depression. I
never talked about it or saw a doctor, but looking back, I had horrible feelings of
resentment towards my husband, feelings of anger towards my extended family and
was totally exhausted from riding the emotional rollercoaster of being a Mum to a baby
and a toddler. My mental health was at an all time low… another blow to my poor
So, in 2018, I was 26 with 2 very young children and a cancer diagnoses. I can clearly
remember the feelings of panic, fear and heartbreak. My GP gave me a referral letter
for a surgeon and a tissue for my tears. I had 2 weeks before my appointment with the
endocrine surgeon but it was made clear that the only available treatment was a
compete thyroidectomy [have my entire thyroid surgically removed]. Taking out my
thyroid meant that I would no longer have cancer – what a quick easy fix!!
But I had learned my lesson about quick, easy fixes with Graves Disease – they don’t
last. But what now….? This is when fate or the universe or whatever you want to call it
stepped in to help me out.
The day after I was diagnosed I got a call from my Aunty Bernie, who happens to be a
naturopath, she told me she could treat my cancer with natural remedies. I laughed. I
honestly thought she was joking. I had NEVER heard of cancer being approached
naturally. All I knew is that people lost their hair and died. I respectfully declined and
was very certain that the best way forward was to have the thyroidectomy.
I shudder to think how uneducated I was at that time, and how willing I was to take my
health out of my own hands and place it in the hands of doctors. I wanted it to be
someone else’s responsibility – fix me!!
Fortunately, Aunty Bern wasn’t the only one willing to offer another perspective. I’m so
lucky to have a family that includes some very ‘awakened’ individuals. My husband and
I would often laugh at them and call them ‘hippies’ – oblivious to how important their
knowledge was going to be for me.
It took 2 weeks [prior to my surgeon consult] to have a complete turn around in the way
I was going to tackle my diagnoses. During those 2 weeks, my Mum sent me YouTube
clips, gave me a book and found pieces of information for me to educate myself. The
more I read, the more I learned, the more I changed my mind. I was honestly mind-
blown. How did everyone with cancer not know this??? It made perfect sense to me.
It had me asking a question I had never even considered; why did I get cancer?
The way I had chosen to live and think had caused cell malfunction. I had created my
own cancer without even realising it! And if I have the ability to cause it – I have the
ability to fix it.
That fortnight was a crash course in human anatomy and the effects of the mind on the
physical body. I entered the surgeon’s office feeling empowered and in control. After a
quick ultrasound, she surgeon confirmed the diagnoses and that a complete
thyroidectomy will get rid of it. I discussed my natural therapy ideas with her [or tried
to at least] and I was met with the conversational version of an eye roll. This made me
angry, and the anger gave me the confidence to refuse her treatment. I told her I
wanted to try diet and lifestyle changes for 3 months so see what effects they have on
my health – she basically said ‘see you back here in 3 months then’. I never saw her
At this point I need to note that generally speaking, thyroid cancer is not an aggressive
cancer, I knew I had time up my sleeve to try these alternative therapies to see if they
worked. If I had an aggressive cancer I don’t know what I would have done – you never
know till you’re in that position.
But from that moment forward I was in full cancer healing mode. I made huge changes
in a short period of time. I removed gluten, dairy and sugar from my diet. I started
juicing 1.5-2lt a day. I was doing coffee enemas daily. I ate mostly raw salads and
smoothies. I took copious amounts of vitamins, minerals and supplements. I did
Vitamin C infusions and saunas. It was full on. Within 5 months I had shrunk the
tumour by almost half. Despite my success, I did not find a GP or a surgeon who was
supportive of my decision to treat the cancer naturally. I use GP’s to get ultrasounds
and blood-work done regularly, the rest I do myself.
Not only did I shrink the cancer, I had reversed the autoimmune disease. My goitre had
shrunk [enlarged thyroid], my skin cleared up, my hair softened and thickened, I lost
12kg and my energy levels were through the roof! I fell asleep easily at night, started
rising earlier in the morning and somehow seemed as though I was tanned all the time
[carrot juice??]. My thyroid levels and antibodies had normalised after being off the
charts. This to me is proof that this is how all people should be treating chronic illness.
The big challenge for me has been a mental one. The way we think, the thoughts we
think, the attitudes we apply to life, our subconscious habits – they are as important, or
even more important than the external stuff. One of the mental struggles I have had is
with doctors and their opinion on my choices. At the beginning of my healing journey I
felt anger. Every lecture they gave me ended in a yelling match and I would leave their
office in tears, full of fear and self-doubt. One doctor actually told me ‘I will pray for
you’ – he was basically saying that I would die without his treatment. Reacting
negatively to a doctor’s lecture or snide comments is not something I experience
anymore. I am able to respond calmly and walk out unaffected – but that took a lot of
work. I can even understand now why doctors are opposed to natural treatments.
When I think about it, I refuse their professional treatment after 6 years of university;
my choices would be insulting to them. I get why they said those things, they know
drugs and surgery – I wasn’t doing either. It’s given me the opportunity to develop
resilience and strength to believe in myself.
It’s been 2 ½ years since I was first diagnosed and I’m currently the healthiest I’ve ever
been in my life. I still have cancer, I may have it forever, who knows? But I know that as
long as I continue to live a healthy physical and mental life, the cancer can’t hurt me.
It’s been a long journey, with MANY ups and downs. There are times when I’m
extremely determined and nothing can stop me. There are times when I want to fall in a
heap and cry. Being OK with the fact that I may live with cancer forever is something
I’m still trying to master. I’ll admit it scares me.
So why not just get it cut out? I hear you asking… because as horrible as it is, it has
pushed me to grow, to be a better person, a better mother, a better wife, a more open-
minded, enlightened human being. There are no mistakes or bad luck in life, we are
given the opportunity to choose. And I choose to improve my health, my wellbeing, my
mind, my relationships and my resolve EVERYDAY.
5 quick questions from Dani:
1. If you could go back to yourself at the time you got diagnosed - knowing what you know now - what is one thing you would say to yourself?
I would say to myself; This is not going to be a quick fix. This will be a long
process and there will be many ups and downs. But keep going!
2. Tell me one thing you have learnt out of this experience which has helped you to grow?
I’ve learned the importance of mental health. I even believe that it’s more
important than physical health. You can eat all the broccoli you want, but if
you’re stressed on a daily basis, you’re not going to be well. Focusing on my
mind with meditation, yoga, gaining perspective and choosing to respond rather
than react have helped me the most.
3. Who has been your biggest support throughout this journey?
My biggest supports have been the women in my life. My Mum, my sister and 2
of my Aunties.
4. What are your top three books or podcasts (or other resources) that especially helped you in your healing journey?
Book: Never be sick again by Raymond Francis
Podcast: Anything with Peter Crone
5. What is your favourite healing mantra / affirmation?
‘I am healthy, happy and healed’