Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Taking My Lumps

In October 2010 I randomly found I had a lump in my throat. My PCP said it that is was likely on the thyroid. Apparently, thyroid cysts are very common and don't necessarily require any treatment. In fact, my daughter had one and the only treatment was aspiration to reduce the size.  My PCP said it needed an ultrasound and referred me to an endocrinologist. The ultrasound was uncomfortable, just from the pressure on the throat. He reported that I had more than one cyst and that it could be cancer. He was comfortable waiting 6 months to see if it grew larger. The other option was a biopsy. 

Well, by this time, you know I am not a fan of medical procedures. I am, in fact, a big weenie. However, my husband faithfully keeps up with all the information that comes out regarding WM, from patient boards to medical abstracts. He persuasively argued that we should proceed with the biopsy.

True to form, I found that I do not like thyroid biopsies. I do not want to do this again. It is hard to explain; it did not hurt so much, it was just...disturbing. They use a local anesthetic. It is a fine needle biopsy. The large cyst was fluid filled as expected and immediately refilled after they drained it. The doctor predicted that it was almost surely benign. The one on the "isthmus" right over my trachea was solid and he really had to punch through. He is pushing the needle and we wait...then it POPS through. That was the disturbing part. 

They had to do 4-5 punches on both cysts. I think they were planning to do a third one (the one that is very small) but they decided to quit because I was in distress.  Bruce was in there and he said he couldn't tell, but the doc could see it. He said to me, "Can you handle one more?" I said, "Can you?" and he answered, "I don't think so."   I’m such a coward! It makes these things challenging. I’m glad Bruce couldn’t tell, although after the doctor and nurse left I burst into tears and Bruce said, “Why are you upset?” Um…..hard to explain.

The doctor said he'd call me with the results in a week or so, but not to worry. He called me two days later and said the biopsies showed that there was cancer in the thyroid. The good news is there is more than one kind of thyroid cancer and the kind I have is slow moving and not aggressive. He phrased it "the most well-behaved type of thyroid cancer." Well, if you can't have a well behaved patient, you might as well have a well behaved disease. 

Scripture referencePsalm 119:281 Peter 1:6-7

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