It was the day after Christmas in 2015 when Samantha Williams (Klingerman) found out she had thyroid cancer.
What started as a routine checkup for the then 21-year-old turned into a life-changing diagnosis for the Klingerman family.
“I was in a lot of shock, almost disbelief,” Williams said.” At the time, at a young age I wasn’t even sure what my thyroid did for my body.”
While people of any age can be diagnosed with thyroid cancer, it does affect women more than men and the average age of diagnosis is the mid 40s.
This early diagnosis encouraged Williams to start thinking about her health and what the future of her life would look like without her thyroid.
She had surgery immediately to remove the thyroid and then started radioactive iodine treatment.
The thyroid is not a minor organ for the body. It produces hormones that influence every cell of your body. They maintain the rate at which your body uses fats and carbohydrates, help control your body temperature, influence your heart rate, and help regulate the production of protein.
In April, 2022, Williams will be six years cancer free.
But Williams wasn’t the only person affected by her battle with cancer.
“You never expect your 21-year-old daughter to have cancer,” said Monica Klingerman. Dealing with cancer of a family member is no new struggle for Monica Klingerman, whose parents both died of cancer.
“It brings together your family and friends … in a way you would never expect,” Monica Klingerman said.
The Klingermans have always faced problems with a positive attitude, according to Dan Klingerman, who said that their primary goal was always to support Williams as much as possible.
“We went at it full steam ahead… being supportive of Samantha being positive to make sure her spirits were lifted and she was going into it with the right attitude,” Dan Klingerman said.
As Williams continues to move on from her cancer diagnosis, she is often reminded to be thankful for what she has. And more than this, she is eager to help others who may be going through similar struggles.
“I think at such a young age, I didn’t feel like I had someone to talk to who understood what I was going through,” Williams said. “If I can be a voice or provide advice for someone at a young age going through something similar, I am overjoyed to do that.”