Jenster's Musings

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hashimoto!! Gesundheit

Today was yet another doctor's appointment. This time it was with my new endocrinologist. Well, fairly new. This was my second appointment with her.

The reason I need an endocrinologist is because I have half a thyroid. When Todd and I had been married two years (I was 24) I saw the gynecologist for my annual checkup and he noticed a lump in my throat. (This is the part where people always say, “didn’t you tell him he was looking at the wrong end?") He mentioned a few things it could be, but the word that stuck out was “cancer”.

Todd’s parents were in town at the time because his grandfather had just passed away. Of cancer. His grandmother was dying. Of cancer. When the doctor mentioned the possibility of cancer it was all I heard. He set me up for some tests to determine whether the growth was benign or malignant.

I drove back to my house only to find Todd and his parents were at his grandparents’ house with the rest of the family. I tried to call him, but the line was busy. So I called my mom. My parents still lived in California at the time and were visiting my sister and her family in Oregon. I called my sister’s house and talked to my nephew when he answered the phone like there was nothing wrong. But as soon as I heard my mom’s voice I broke down. I couldn’t talk.

She asked several questions to which I managed a sobbing “no” in reply. Had Betty died, did something happen to Todd, were Todd and I in a fight. Finally I took a deep breath and told her I had a growth on my thyroid and the doctor mentioned it may be cancer.

Being the good mom she is my nerves were calmed in no time. So I hung up and tried calling out to the grandparents’ house again. This time I made it through and told Todd what the doctor had said. The family was so immersed in cancer at the time that it made him physically ill.

His mother called my doctor to get more information. Poor guy. He felt horrible when he heard what all we were going through at the time and how the mention of cancer – however remote the possibility – had frazzled me.

So began the myriad of tests to determine whether it was a benign goiter or a malignancy or something else. Each test came back inconclusive which meant another test and then another. I think I had at least four different tests. The morning we were getting ready for the last of them my father-in-law called to let us know his mother had passed away. I believe it was 11 days after her husband.

It was finally decided that I needed to have the right side of my thyroid removed and a biopsy performed. Thankfully the results were negative. It was just a plain old, run of the mill goiter.

For years I didn't have to take any medicine as the left side seemed to function just fine. Then one day while sitting at the counter at my folks' house (they had since moved to Arkansas) my mom commented on my swollen neck. I hadn't even noticed, but after she said that I realized I did have a bump to the left of center where my thyroid is.

My family quack doctor at that time said I'd have to have the other half removed without even running any tests and scheduled me to meet with a surgeon. Todd called my gynecologist and told him what was going on and he was not happy with my doctor. He sent me to his surgeon who ran some blood work and performed a sonogram. He decided I didn't need surgery, I needed an endocrinologist.

So we were referred to the Nutty Professor – the best endocrinologist to ever have walked the face of the earth (though I know Radioactive Girl will disagree with me). He diagnosed me with Hashimoto's Syndrome. My thyroid levels were all within normal limits, but my half a thyroid was working so hard to keep it that way it had become swollen. So now I take synthetic thyroid to keep my levels up without taxing the left side.

In addition to the Hashimoto's Syndrome I also have nodules, the largest of which is 1 cm. Some of them have a bit of calcification, but they've been that way for the last ten years. Still, given my history and the fact that breast cancer can spread to the thyroid, the doctor and I decided it would be a good idea to have a biopsy.

Is it just me, or does the thought of somebody jabbing a long needle into my neck sound icky?

Every time I have my thyroid levels checked I wish against wish and hope against hope they will be low, giving me a great excuse for not losing weight. Never, ever, ever has my wish or hope been granted. In an effort to combat my fatigue, however, she did increase my medication up to the next dosage today. Now I have visions of having all kinds of energy, living in a perfectly clean house, losing weight and realizing my dream of looking great in my swimsuit this coming summer.

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Mused by Jenster :: 8:34 PM :: 20 People musing:

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