Thursday, July 18, 2013

Thyroid Biopsy

Since I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's, I've gotten a few ultrasounds and have been to regular doctor's visits.  Last summer, a nodule was found in a routine ultrasound.  I had an FNA (fine needle biopsy) and it turned out it was just a benign fatty cyst hanging out on my thyroid.  Ewe, but not harmful.

Yesterday,  I had my second thyroid biopsy.  I have a large nodule/node/tumor/who knows what on the front of my thyroid.  In fact, its amazing that I never noticed it.  I have no idea how long its been there, but there it is.

The funny thing is how it was discovered.  Sadly, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer on May 8 of this year.  When we
 were attending one of her appointments, an oncologist was starting at me from across the room.  After the appointment she came up to me as said "do you have a thyroid condition?"  Of course I told her yes and blah blah blah.  She noticed this thing from across the room, checked it out for me and encouraged me to get an ultrasound.  How thorough is that?

Anyways, long story short, here we are to the day after the biopsy.  The point of this post was to educate people who might have to go through this some day, so here is my account of having a thyroid biopsy.

They start by doing an ultrasound scan before they do anything else.  They take a few pictures and then just check it out.  If you've never had an ultrasound before, its easy.  They squirt some warm goo on the wand thingy and just run it over your skin.  Its a little uncomfortable for the thyroid because they have to apply some pressure to your throat.

Then, depending on where you have this procedure done, they may hook you up to a blood pressure monitor on your arm and a blood oxygen monitor on your finger.  This is easy, no pain, no needles, just some things to make sure you are ok throughout the procedure.

After that, they wipe you with alcohol and give you a shot of lidocaine (or something like that, anyway, it numbs you).  The shot does hurt, like any other shot, but in a minute you won't feel any pain at all.
Here is the least threatening looking pic of this procedure I could find.

Next comes the icky part.  I've had both an FNA (last summer) and a needle core biopsy (yesterday).  The needle core uses a bigger needle and gets a larger sample, but it feels the same as a fine needle biopsy as far as I'm concerned.  They take the needle (a big ol' honkin' thing) and insert it into your neck.  Mine wouldn't go right in, so they had to cut me to get it in.  I called it drilling a pilot hole, you know, like in carpentry.  Lol!

Once they get that big needle in, they are poking around and also holding the ultrasound wand on your throat so they can see what they are poking.  This doesn't hurt because you are all numbed up, but I won't lie, it is not comfortable.  Lots and lots of pressure.  Kind of like being stabbed and strangled at the same time, lol!  The good news is, it won't take too long, maybe a half hour or so, depending on your case.  I was only having one lesion poked, but mine was also difficult.  It kept moving around so they couldn't pierce it.  It actually took two people to get the sample so they could hold it still, but I don't think that's normal.  The last one I had only took about 15 minutes or so.  Don't be scared, you can do it!

I myself have quite a bit of anxiety when it comes to things like this.  By that I mean I don't like being in a position that I cannot move from if I wish.  The dentist freaks me out (which made this morning's root canal a real treat.  Yes, I had a biopsy yesterday and a root canal today.  Best week EVER!), I tried acupuncture and hated it because I couldn't move.  I wouldn't call it claustrophobia, but I guess its kind of like that.  That is the big reason I'm not wild about procedures like this, small spaces, airplanes, you know, that kind of crap.  A normal person would probably be just fine.

After the whole thing was over, I was a little dizzy, but that was just because I hadn't eaten since breakfast and had been laying down all tensed up for a half hour.  They immediately brought me the cutest little can of juice you've ever seen and stayed and chatted with me until I was feeling better.  The nurse then walked me to the waiting room to make sure I was ok.  There was a tiny little mark and no bruising (so far).  I'm having more a reaction to the bandaid that is making my skin itchy!  I will say, however, that my neck/throat have been very very sore since yesterday.  Between that and the root canal, Tylenol is my friend!

I had a wonderful crew of nurses and radiologists working on me, so it was not bad at all.  They asked often if I was ok, gave me a cool lighted picture of scenery to look at (built into the ceiling), and were just plain nice.  That helps.  Last year when I had this done, they pretty much just acted like I was a thyroid sitting in the chair, without a person with feelings attached.  Not cool!  I had it done in my endocrinologist's office last year.  This year I went to Henry Ford Main Hospital in Detroit.  This is also where my mom had her cancer surgery.  I have nothing but good things to say about that place!

So there you have it, the story of my thyroid biopsy.  Woo hoo!  I'm told I will get results on Friday or Monday.  I'm trying not to think too much about it until then, since there are so many possibilities.  All I have to do now is just pray for God's will and hope for the best.  I'm prepared for anything, but I'm also enjoying my summer and would like to continue!

If you have had a thyroid biopsy or have one coming up and want to tell your story, please comment below!

(7/20/13) - OK, update on this procedure...I just found out it is a benign colloid nodule!  Wooooo Hoooo!  PTL!

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