A mother who battled thyroid cancer at 27 revealed symptoms she ignored weeks before her diagnosis, from dry skin to brittle hair.
Christina McKnight, now 35, gave little thought to the signs for weeks and was only diagnosed after her husband, Matthew Mcknight, 36, “forced” her to see a doctor.
She was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in the fall of 2014, despite having no family history and being “young, fit and healthy.”
Christina – who now has a five-year-old son – thought her symptoms were caused by stress after she got a promotion at a commercial bank.
However, her tiredness, 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 those things that I never thought would happen to me.
“I was young, fit and healthy. I had just run a half marathon, done CrossFit for three years, and had no hereditary thyroid disease in the family.
“I just started feeling very tired and had a lot of mental confusion, 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 do things like I used to. I would have to go to work on Sunday to catch up because my brain was so foggy.
Christina said she’s started to notice that her hair has become “oddly brittle,” while her skin has become drier.
“I kept sweeping it all away,” she said.
“My husband knew something was wrong and made me book a doctor’s appointment, which I canceled twice because I had too much to do. I finally went to the doctor to mostly appease him.
“I said my symptoms were from not taking care of myself: I ate fast food and was stressed at work.
“Thankfully my doctor recognized my symptoms as he had recently diagnosed others with thyroid cancer.
“He touched my neck and found a lump that I wasn’t even aware of and he got the ball rolling with the diagnosis.”
Christina then had an ultrasound and biopsy which confirmed she had thyroid cancer.
At first, Christina was reluctant to accept the diagnosis, as her thyroid would need to be removed.
The thyroid gland is found 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 have the procedure, so she got a second opinion which also confirmed she had thyroid cancer.
She underwent a thyroidectomy in November 2014, followed by radioactive iodine ablation treatment in January to remove any remnants of her thyroid glands.
A year later he got the whole thing clear but has to have thyroid replacement injections to replace his lost hormones.
Christina, who shares her experiences with her 102,000 TikTok followers, said: “It was very surreal, because cancer is such a big word.
“It was such a shock and I thought it couldn’t be, it was a weird feeling.
“Many times they say that thyroid cancer happens to older people and that it is hereditary, but that wasn’t my case.
“I am sharing my story, not to scare people but to remind them to pay attention if you are experiencing any changes and to go to the doctor.
“Listen to people around you if they notice changes in you, sometimes they see things in us that we don’t see.
“Luckily I’m fine and my husband made sure I see a doctor, but I never thought being tired and having dry hair was cancer.
“It’s so important to be aware of these lesser-known symptoms and not assume they wouldn’t happen to you. Listen to the people around you and listen to the changes in your body. It could save your life.”