Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Yeah, that thyroid thing.

Yesterday I went to an imaging place and had an ultrasound of my thyroid. If you've ever had an ultrasound, it's no less disgusting when they quirt KY all over your neck and roll that thing over it...but it wasn't too unpleasant, and I fell asleep, as I am want to do if I stay still for too long in a prone position (I've fallen asleep during root canals).
Afterwards, they said I was a good girl, and gave me m&ms. I'm not making that up.

The sonogram specialist said, probably Hashimoto's Disease, which doesn't change my treatment or anything like that; just gives us a "why."

This morning, however, the endo Dr. read the results and apparently, it's not just patchy and enlarged but also has a couple lumps, which he wants to biopsy. It's called a "fine needle aspiration" and apparently, according to him, not too bad. As for the possible results, "it's probably nothing," he said. In fact, it's more likely than not "nothing," but better to be safe, and just in case it is "something," it's very early.
He just kind of shrugged when he said that, so I was somewhat reassured, but it's the first time I've ever heard the big scary C word uttered--and uttered oh, so casually--in a doctor's office. He further said that everything about me, other than my thyroid, is excellent: calcium level, blood pressure, lungs, eyes, cholesterol, et cetera. I put aside the immediate recollection of comments about my mother before she died if it weren't for her heart, she'd live forever and focused on the positive. I'm in excellent health, except for my thyroid.

He gave me a new prescription for 1.0 of the Synthroid, which seems to be working for me. My Free T4 and Free T3 are right smack in the middle of their reference ranges, and my TSH is now 2.03, which is "excellent. " Everything about me excellent, except for my poor, enlarged lumpy thyroid, which seems to be under attack from--get this--me. That's what an autoimmune disorder is, after all.

We discussed my weight. Actually, *I* brought that up in the context of having had some very poor self-image problems and how I'd realized that this was a problem for me, but he seemed to miss what I was saying, because he said, "well, you're not ugly, you're just overweight."

Oh, yes he did. I put aside the shock of hearing those words to segue to the fact that I'm running 10-20 miles a week and biking 40-80 miles a week and haven't lost an ounce in over 16 weeks, and he said, okay, lets do some blood work. He asked me, was I was thin most of my life? Yes, I was. I was a boney kid, but filled out when I was a teenager; still, I was 120 pounds when I graduated from high school. I was 135 pounds after recovering from my third childbirth. Now here I sit, at 175 pounds, averaging 1500 calories a day. He gave me orders for blood work, specifically, Cortisol and ACTH hormone.

Time to Google. And obsess. And worry. And reassure myself.



  1. ARGHHHHH! These doctors...

    Good luck sorting out the health stuff.

  2. Oh no he didn't!

    Jeez! Where was he on 'bedside manner day' in med school?

  3. I laughed outloud at the "you're not ugly, you're just overweight" comment. Taken in a positive light, that means you're attractive! Of course, there's that bit about being overweight in there. Kind of like my mentioning to the bike shop owner that my old bike seat was now hurting in new places and him replying, that's because your butt is smaller now and you don't have as much cushion.

    Men just don't know the right way to talk to women sometimes.

  4. Men are still men, with or without college degrees and post graduate study. Wow.

    Hugs...glad you're getting things checked out. And it's ok to worry, it's NORMAL!

  5. OMG-he SAID THAT? Geez, I am glad you pushed him anyway and hopefully can get to the bottom of the issue..
    As for the needle aspiration-I had one 2 years ago-it sounds worse than it is but I remember being scared and went into cyberchondria mode for a few days..Hopefully it is "nothing"!

  6. The crazy things doctors say! Someone should make a book out of it.
    Good luck with everything. I hope the news is positive and answers some questions for you!

  7. OMG - where did you hide the body?
    Eewwww! and FREAKOUT! at the thought of a biopsy - fingers crossed this RUDE MAN knows what he's talking about regarding thyroids and it IS nothing.

  8. Hang in there, Misty! I hope the 'reassure myself' part is stronger than the Googling and obsessing and worrying all put together!

  9. fine needle aspiration? Not too bad? Easy for him to say not being on the receiving end.

    It is amazing to me how grossly out of touch some doctors are with their patients. It's like they are missing some gene that regulates their ability to listen and respond with appropriateness. Ga!

    Obsess away, who wouldn't.

  10. FWIW, the doc is undoubtably engaging in a bit of CYA. They did it to me when I had a lump that had all the hallmarks of a benign fibroadenoma. They want to check everything, just in case you sue.

    Second, in the unlikely event it is something more serious, you're strong, healthy, and insured. You'll be fine. I have a runner friend who developed thyroid cancer and I think his biggest problem was the stress and worry. He recovered 100%.

    Be good to yourself.

  11. I had Hashimoto's (dx'd in 1999) and am now a 3 year (papillary) thyroid cancer survivor. If you need to chat electronically, get in touch, happy to provide you with resources, discuss my experience, etc. Just let me know.

    I think 95% of thyroid nodules are benign, but it's good to get it checked out. Many people have "lumpy" thyroids kind of like many women have lumpy breasts, with nothing dire happening.

    I had the FNA, ultrasound-guided (ask to make sure yours is, and ask how often the person doing it does them - the more frequent the better). They swab your neck w/ Betadine, numb topically, then find the nodule via ultrasound and pull the samples (I had 2 nodules). You mostly feel a kind of pressure. I don't remember it being much worse than a regular blood draw, except for the weirdness. I've had IVs put in that hurt worse. I would say close your eyes as the needle's pretty big. I was all prepared to bruise horribly and had purchased heavy makeup and turtlenecks (I bruise at the drop of a hat) but I had a small minor bruise that quickly went away.

    Ok, so the endo is a bit of a loser in the "think before you speak" category. That said, the fact that he's testing your frees, asked you additional questions and offered up additional bloodwork to do to try to address the problem is pretty darn good as endos go.

    Hashimoto's can only truly be confirmed when they look at thyroid tissue (like after they removed my thyroid) but the antibody blood tests are pretty much good enough to make the assumption. It is important to know for a number of reasons, one of which is that Hashimoto's is a "frequent traveler" with other autoimmune disorders. (like celiac disease)

    Thinking supportive and positive thoughts.....

  12. I had an ultrasound, the fine needle aspiration and a few more things. (I had Hashimoto's Disease too.) Let me know if you want to know more about my experience. I promise I don't have anything too scary to tell you. Take care.

    And hey, you're not ugly - yea!

  13. I'll be thinking of you!

  14. WTF?! What is wrong with doctors? I swear they are like coneheads (too 80's of a reference?) and completely out of touch with how to talk to people.

    Good for you for being an advocate for yourself and getting that tool to do additional testing. What happened to medical professionals being thorough? I swear my cats and dog get better medical care than we do.

    Take care of you!

  15. Thyroid Cancer survivor, here... (Primary Papillary- very aggressive case)

    I don't intend to push, since you don't know me, but if you would like to talk about the details of my experience, feel free to contact me. I'll be out of town for a few days but will be happy to fill you in as soon as we are back.

    Best of luck.

  16. I'll bet that guy got an F in bedside manner in medical school - but reading it was too funny.

    Hoping all is well. I'm sure it is.


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