Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Dumb Luck

So a couple of months ago I decided that since I hadn't been to the doctor for a physical in a few years, it was time to schedule one. Mostly I was interested in getting my cholesterol levels checked, not becase they'd ever been high, but because I've been eating more high-cholesterol foods lately and was curious to see if it would affect my levels (it did, but not much and my cholesterol is still considered "low"). Otherwise I'm pretty healthy generally, and usually don't get an annual checkup by my Primary Care doctor, just the gynecologist for the annual PAP smear.

I noticed during the exam that the doctor kept returning to the right side of my neck to poke around (I think they call it "palpitating"). He informed me that I had a "nodule" on my thyroid, but that it was probably nothing to worry about. He sent me over to the imaging place to get an ultrasound, to determine the consistency of the nodule and whether he'd be able to do the biopsy himself or whether I'd need to have it done under ultrasoud. During the ultrasound they also found some nodules on the left side, too small for the doctor to be able to detect. The consistency of the nodules was such that I needed the biopsy under ultrasound. That was done a couple of weeks ago and the results came back "indeterminate", so now I need to have a thyroidectomy. My chances of having thyroid cancer are still pretty low; statistically with my type of biopsy result the chance that there is cancer is between 10-20%, but they have to remove the thyroid gland altogether to make the determination. The bummer part of this is that I'll have to take thyroid hormones the rest of my life to regulate my metabolism. We interviewed one surgeon today and will meet with another one tomorrow. Hopefully I'll be able to get the surgery done early in November, so I'll be recovered in time for our Mexico trip the week after Thanksgiving.

Anyhow, the reason I titled this post "Dumb Luck" is that it was just purely chance that I went in to see the doctor when I did. I had not noticed the nodule on my neck at all and probably would not have until it had gotten much bigger. Of course, now that I know it's there I can feel it with my fingers, and see a slight swelling when I look in the mirror (the nodule is about 1"). So even if you're feeling fine, getting an annual checkup isn't a bad idea. I was also lucky in that my primary care doctor specializes in Endocrinology, so was probably more likely to notice the nodule and understand what it was.

I'll blog about the surgery when it happens, so you all can share in the fun.