A 27-year-old mother battling thyroid cancer revealed symptoms she had ignored weeks before her diagnosis, from dry skin to brittle hair.
Christina McKnight, now 35, gave little thought to the symptoms for weeks, and was diagnosed only after her husband, 36-year-old Matthew McKnight “forced” her to a doctor.
Despite having no family history and being “young, fit, and healthy,” she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in the fall of 2014.
Christina, who now has a five-year-old son, thought her symptoms were caused by stress after getting a promotion at her job at a commercial bank.
However, his fatigue, brain fog, dry skin, and brittle hair were all signs of something far more sinister.
Christina, a content creator from Oklahoma City, USA, said: “It was one of the things I never thought would happen to me.
“I was young, fit and healthy. I had just run a half marathon, had done CrossFit for three years, and had no known hereditary thyroid disease in my family.
“I started feeling very tired and had a lot of brain fog, but I thought it was just because of my promotion.
“Then my husband noticed how tired I was and my lack of interest in things like the gym, which I usually love.
“I couldn’t get things done like I used to. I had to go to work on a Sunday to catch up because my brain was so foggy.
Christina said she began to notice her hair becoming “oddly brittle” as her skin dries.
“I just kept brushing it all,” he said.
“My husband knew something was wrong and made me a doctor’s appointment – I canceled my appointment twice because I had so many problems. In the end, I went to the doctor, mostly to calm him down.
“I said my symptoms were because I wasn’t taking care of myself — I was eating fast food and stressed at work.
“Fortunately, my doctor noticed my symptoms as he had recently diagnosed others with thyroid cancer.
“He felt around my neck and found a lump I wasn’t even aware of, and it rolled the ball with the diagnosis.”
Christina then received an ultrasound and biopsy that confirmed she had thyroid cancer.
At first, Christina was hesitant to accept the diagnosis as her thyroid would need to be removed.
The thyroid is located in the neck and produces vital hormones that regulate metabolism, energy levels, heart rate and body temperature.
As an athlete and runner, Christina was reluctant to undergo the procedure, so she got a second opinion confirming she had thyroid cancer.
He had a thyroidectomy in November 2014, followed by radioactive iodine ablation in January to remove any remaining remnants from his thyroid glands.
A year later she made it all clear, but she needs thyroid replacement injections to replace her lost hormones.
Sharing her experiences with her 102 thousand followers on TikTok, Christina said, “It was so surreal because cancer is such a big word.
“It was such a shock that I thought it couldn’t happen, it was a strange feeling.
“They often say that thyroid cancer is in the elderly and inherited, but that wasn’t the case with me.
“I’m sharing my story not to scare people, but to remind them to watch out and go to the doctor if you experience changes.
“If people around you notice a change in you, listen to them, sometimes they see things in us that we can’t.
“Luckily I’m fine and my husband made me see a doctor, but I never thought that being tired and dry hair was cancer.
“Being aware of these lesser-known symptoms and not assuming that it won’t happen to you is very important, listening to the people around you and listening to changes in your body – it could save your life.”