Christina McKnight, now 35, thought little of 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 her job at a commercial bank.
However, his fatigue, mental confusion, dry skin and brittle hair were signs of something much more sinister.
Christina, a content creator from Oklahoma City, USA, said: “It was one of those 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 to feel really tired and confused, 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 the way I used to. I would have to go to work on Sunday to catch up because my brain was so foggy.”
Christina said she began to notice that her hair became “oddly brittle” while her skin became drier.
“I kept cleaning everything up,” she said.
“My husband knew something wasn’t right and made me book a doctor’s appointment – which I canceled twice as I had so much going on. I finally went to the doctor to appease him mostly.
“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 recognized my symptoms as he had recently diagnosed others with thyroid cancer.
“He felt my neck and found a lump I didn’t even know about and kicked things off with the diagnosis.”
Christina then had an ultrasound and biopsy which confirmed that she had thyroid cancer.
At first, Cristina was hesitant to accept the diagnosis, as her thyroid would have to be removed.
The thyroid 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 undergo the procedure, so she got a second opinion which also confirmed that she had thyroid cancer.
She had a thyroidectomy in November 2014, followed by radioactive iodine ablation treatment in January to remove any remnants of her thyroid glands.
A year later, she is fine, but needs thyroid replacement injections to replace lost hormones.
Christina, who shares her experiences with her 102,000 followers on TikTok, said: “It was very surreal because cancer is such a big word.
“It was a shock and I thought it couldn’t be, it was a strange feeling.
“It is often said that thyroid cancer happens in older people and that it is hereditary, but that was not the case for me.
“I share my story, not to scare people, but to remind people to pay attention if you are experiencing changes and go to the doctor.
“Listen to the people around you if they notice changes in you, sometimes they see things in us that we don’t.
“Fortunately I am fine and my husband made sure I went to the doctor, but I never thought that being tired and having dry hair was cancer.
“It’s really important to be aware of these lesser known symptoms and not assume it wouldn’t happen to you, listen to the people around you and listen to the changes in your body – it could save your life.”