Healthy Obsessions The Adventures of a Mild Obsessive Compulsive

Tag Archives: Thyroid

15 Percent Chance of Cancer

Which isn’t actually all that high. Although that number is probably not accurate for me.

So. Here’s the latest. The nodule on the left lobe of my thyroid was benign. The nodule on the right side was… we don’t know. The cells they found are present in both benign and malignant nodules. There’s apparently no way to know until they’ve cut that puppy out of me and dissected it in pathology.

My doctor recommends getting it out. Removing the right lobe of my thyroid. She would also be in support of removing the whole thyroid, so that they won’t have to go back in later to remove the left if the right proves cancerous.

If I keep the left, that means I have some thyroid function left. It might even be enough that I wouldn’t need supplementation, or could go with a lower dose. I… rather like the idea of keeping as many of my body parts as I can. I don’t like the idea of needing to completely depend on thyroid supplementation. Not because I mind taking medicine; that’s never been a problem. But because when I imagine surviving the apocalypse and being without recourse to medicine or advanced technology… it seems having some thyroid function left would be a good idea. This is why I’m also very interested in laser eye surgery. Contacts may not be easily come by after Armageddon. And no, I’m not saying I actually *believe* there’s an apocalypse coming. I do, however, think civilization is far more fragile than we might like to believe.

But back to that 15% statistic. That number applies to the population at large. It does not apply to celiac patients in specific. In the general population, we get averaged out by other people. However, celiac patients are apparently 10 times more likely to get thyroid nodules than non-celiac patients. We’re more susceptible to certain cancers (thyroid being one, non-Hodgkins lymphoma being another). I don’t actually know my odds on that one. I’ve done some study and not found much. I’ll probably find more if I dig deeper. But. Current data.

My father was asking me if keeping the lobe was an option. Not because he’s recommending it, because he doesn’t know and was wondering what my options were. So far, the literature I’ve read is saying to get the lobe removed. If I have thyroid cancer, I will not know it from thyroid function. The thyroid can keep chugging along and producing normal amounts of hormone even while home to cancer.

My doctor says it’s not a rush. I do have some time to think about it and do more research. I’m leaning towards removal of the right lobe. If I did get the whole thing taken out and then learned it wasn’t cancerous, I’d be really upset. Reminds me of my grandma cutting mold off a slice of bread, “Why throw that away? It’s a perfectly good slice of bread!”

The doctor’s concern is the risk of anesthesia, plus the risk of nicking either the parathyroid or the vocal chords. I don’t judge any of these risks sufficient reason to remove the whole thyroid. If I need to go in for surgery twice, I’ll do it.

Yesterday I got Needles Stuck in My Throat

pic_fna_noduleAnd it kinda sucked. But only kinda.

Thyroid biopsy.

When I went in for my physical exam, my primary care doc had me drink a glass of water while she pressed her fingers against my throat. Looking for exactly what she found. Thyroid nodules. Except we didn’t know that’s what she found. Just that it felt off to her. So she sent me to get a sonogram of my throat, and that’s when we found the nodules. Two large ones (one on each side) and something like a dozen small ones (only on one side).

One nodule, the largest one, showed some peripheral vascularity; it had blood flowing to it. From what I’ve read internal vascularity, within the nodule, is much more of a concern.

I went to an endocrinologist to get the nodules biopsied. She showed me the sonograms, which I greatly appreciated, applied topical anesthetic to my neck, and then waited until the anesthetic took effect. Then they wiped down my neck with betadyne and proceeded to insert needles into my thyroid.

They wanted three samples per large nodule. The actual moment when the needle breaks skin isn’t bad. You feel it, but not much. It’s once the needle is in the thyroid and they have to wiggle it around a bit to cut out a sample. That part hurt. It wasn’t horrible. It was unpleasant.

They took seven samples from me; the endocrinologist wasn’t happy with one of the samples so did an extra one. I am all for that. I’d rather have too many samples than too few.

Afterwards, they stuck two little round bandaids on my neck, which immediately made me think “vampire bite”. My boyfriend had the same reaction when he saw them.  They also gave me an ice pack.

It’s after that it hurts. Yesterday evening and today, it’s unpleasant. Reminds me of when I had the tonsillitis of doom. Which is not something I ever like to be reminded of. So that’s been unpleasant. I think the main issue is just that your neck is constantly moving as you talk, look around, eat… do anything, really. So you feel it constantly. The same procedure elsewhere wouldn’t be as unpleasant.

But, it’s done now. I should be getting the pathology results this week.