Doctors tell tired 20-year-old she’s just lazy – months later, her life is ruined

Teenagers go through many adversities in their life, and one of those things is not being taken seriously. This young girl had her entire life turned upside down when a doctor dismissed her concerns.

She was told she was just lazy, but it turned out it was much more than that…

21-year-old Courtney Nettleton felt  “uncontrollably” tired all of a sudden. When she began sleeping for over 14 hours a day in the Summer of 2021, she knew something was wrong, and she needed a professional’s opinion. So she booked a doctor’s appointment to see what could be wrong with her.

“I was told by doctors that it was just teenage laziness,” Nettleton said of her initial consult with a doctor. But when her co-workers noticed a lump protruding from her neck in January 2022, she sought help again, and this time from a specialist.

“In February, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and doctors told me it was growing fast,” she revealed. “I was so devastated and worried.” 


“I knew deep down that something wasn’t right, and being told that it was just teenage laziness by the doctors was incredibly frustrating,” shared Nettleton. Nettleton, who works as a senior care assistant, had her entire life turned upside down in a matter of hours.

Before she had received her diagnosis, she recalled experiencing a myriad of symptoms which included tiredness, breathlessness, hot flashes, unsteadiness, neck stiffness, acne, and moodiness. 

But when her healthcare provider dismissed her symptoms as age-related growing pains, she resumed her life and work as normal. It was when her colleagues pushed her that she sought a second opinion about the lump protruding from her neck.


“My friends noticed a small lump on my neck at work and that combined with my symptoms pushed me to book a doctor’s appointment the next day,” Nettleton shared. “I was given a two-week urgent referral for an ultra-sound which confirmed I had a solid tumor in my thyroid.”

She immediately began cancer treatment and had two surgeries scheduled to remove both halves of her thyroid. While she was in-between surgeries a doctor told her she was completely cancer free, which gave her some relief.

“After my first surgery, my doctor rang me and told me I was completely cancer-free and that I had nothing to worry about,” she recalled

But soon she was told not only did she still have cancerous cells but they had spread to other parts of her body.

“My consultant rang me just three days after this to tell me that cancer cells were found in lymph channels and blood vessels within my thyroid and that I would need further surgery and radioiodine,” she said. 

“I was so upset when I found out I still had cancer,” Nettleton shared. “I had to tell my family and friends that I wasn’t cancer-free and that I had more treatment to go.”


She then underwent two more surgical procedures which left her  “weak” and “anxious.”

“The first surgery made me very poorly and I was bed bound and the radioiodine made me feel very weak, and I had to be isolated in a room which was really lonely,” she recalled. 

“I will find out the results in roughly around six weeks to see whether this has been successful or not,” added Nettleton, who’s leaning on her friends and family for support during her post-op recovery.


“The wait is sickening, I have the constant reassurance from [Macmillan Cancer Trust] and my social worker and even though my cancer is very curable there’s always that worry that it could spread elsewhere,” she continued. “I suffer from severe anxiety so I am constantly worried.”

She worked even when undergoing her treatment last year. “Work has been very supportive throughout the whole entire journey and has constantly supported me,” said Nettleton, who’s organized a charity skydiving event to raise awareness and funds for Macmillan Cancer Trust and the Teenage Cancer Trust, two organizations that helped her throughout her ordeal.  

She’s also launched a GoFundMe to help collect money for the cause.

“Although I feel very let down by doctors, the staff at Macmillan, my consultant and Leeds St James’s hospital have been absolutely amazing throughout my journey,” Nettleton said in appreciation of the organizations.

Now, she has been living her life large with her loved ones. She posted a video in Summer 2022 of her leaving the hospital after her extensive stay for her treatment.

It is nice to see Courtney Nettleton finally living her life as a normal young woman after going through so much in her life. Share her inspiring story with others so they can always remember to keep their health in check.