Monday, June 10, 2013

Benign! Sublime.

One thing I didn't mention over the past month with all the awareness posts was that I went to a routine OB/GYN visit and she examined my thyroid. "You have a nodule on your thyroid... yup, right here. Feel it."

I put my hand up to my neck and felt a hard bump between the size of a pea and a marble in my neck. How did I not know this was here? I tried not to freak out; after all, my mom and grandma had the same thing. Both of them had multiple benign nodules, and my mom had to have her thyroid taken out as a result. Dean (most likely unrelated to family medical concerns and more because of PWS) has hypothyroidism as well. Between this extensive family history and the hormonal rollercoaster of having three babies back-to-back-to-back, my OB/GYN said that it wasn't a matter of if I would have thyroid problems, but when. Really, she was shocked it hadn't come up already.

I knew thyroid cancer has a good prognosis, but still, no one wants cancer of any kind added to their inventory of health concerns. I went first to an ENT because I wanted a surgical perspective on where my thyroid was (my mom had a goiter that went down into the top of her chest and almost caused a huge surgical ruckus... we were trying to preempt that...) and what was going on. I knew that an ENT or endocrinologist would both order the necessary tests.

The ENT said that I definitely had a goiter and could feel the one big nodule that was found before. He ordered an ultrasound and needle biopsy. Ultrasound? Fine. Needles in my neck? Blargh. But it was necessary to gather more information....

The ultrasound tech was characteristically silent, but I knew I wanted one question answered: was there only one nodule, or more than one? More than one is good, as a single, large nodule is usually a greater indicator of cancer. "Multiple. That's good...". Phew. Yes, indeed.

To say that the biopsy was less than comfortable would be accurate. Not killer, but really, a c-section was easier. Haha (no, really). I don't know how people get tattoos on their necks. You'd have to knock me out.

So today I went to what was the shortest doctor visit in history, and rather than feeling rushed, it was fine by me. God, I know You are here. Just be with me, no matter what is going on here.... 

Diagnosis: multinodular benign goiter. Same thing my mom had. BENIGN. I nodded like the information was commonplace, and then made it to the parking lot in time to text Bob, my parents, Tim, and Nat and then burst into tears of relief in my car. I decided to treat myself to the nearby Starbucks and as I parked the car, my phone chirped with a text from my mom, "You should treat yourself to Starbucks - get the most expensive thing there!" Yes, indeed. :)
(image courtesy of

The next course of action is to keep an eye on the goiter. We don't want it to get huge like my mom's got, especially since I have the gift of a doctor detecting it long before hers was. If it gets too big, surgery will be recommended. And I have to see an endocrinologist to double-check thyroid function and look into medication if needed. Sounds sublime to me...


Babylon said...

Interesting post!
Few comments from ex-thyroid ultrasound guru:
Some nodules are responding to PEI injection treatment (it must have a strong capsule though)
In my opinion, tolerating the upper molar root canal procedure is a hot harder than neck pocking
A prominent nodule in isthmus area can look like Adam’s apple and should be called “madam’s apple”
During the 17th century a goiter was considered a sign of female beauty

Ali Foley Shenk said...

Wow, interesting facts! Thanks for sharing. :)