So I have been keeping a bit of a secret. Remember back in the spring when my doctor was worried about my thyroid? Well she sent me for follow up bloodwork immediately and it turned out I only had mild hyperthyroidism so she wasn't too concerned. She planned to send me for another round of bloodwork a month later, then three months after that to make sure nothing had changed, and that would be the end of it. So we thought.
I went for that routine bloodwork a month later and it turned out I was now reasonably outside the normal zone so she decided to send me to see an endocrinologist. There was passing talk of potential iodine radiation treatment and that scared the bejeezus out of me so I decided not to share this news with many people until I saw the endocrinologist and we discussed further.
So I got my referral to the endocrinologist and went for bloodwork yet again right before I was scheduled to see him so he could have the most up to date results. I was nervous to go see a specialist, especially without Jordan (because we're pretty much forced to do things solo these days so the other one can watch the kids) but the doctor turned out to be really approachable and kind and obviously incredibly intelligent.
Immediately to the good news. My bloodwork was more or less back to normal. Instead of hyperthyroid it had now swung the other way to hypothyroid. It was just at the edge of normal so he wasn't concerned and didn't want to pursue any treatment....unless of course we decide to have another baby and then my levels aren't normal enough for pregnancy without treatment. HELLO UNIVERSE: We get it. Yet another sign we're not having any more kids. We hear you loud and clear!
Anyway, all is well and good with the bloodwork but he gives me a quick once over. Blood pressure, pulse, checking for tremors (all would display symptoms if my thyroid really was out of whack). Nothing out of the ordinary until he gives my thyroid a feel and finds a lump. Dun dun dun. Enter the drama.
Pardon me - did you just say lump? He kept talking and I saw his mouth moving but didn't really hear the words. I mean really, who wants to hear the word "lump" in the same sentence as any body part, much less someone whose mom has died of cancer. Looking for cancer paranoia? You've come to the right place.
So I tried to remain calm and ask a few questions and it turns out it is fairly common for people, women in particular, to have lumpy thyroids. Most of the time it's nothing. I asked "So if it's NOT nothing....??" and he said "Well cancer...but that's not likely". Right ok. So cancer really IS a possibility. A very small one, but still in the realm of possibility.
So the plan is that I go for a thyroid ultrasound. If the lump is less than 1cm in diameter, we stop there. If the lump is more than 1cm I get a biopsy. Awesome! A needle in my neck that is large enough gauge to draw cells from it. Potentially cancerous cells. Double awesome!
I drive away in a mixture of haze and panic. I literally start thinking of the letters I am going to write my kids and the videos I am going to make them. I spend the 20 minute ride home planning my final days. Seriously. I'm nuts.
I get home and turn to my good friend Google. For once Mr. Google does not report horror stories, he reports exactly what the good doctor has told me. It is very very unlikely that this lump is anything but a boring old benign lump, and even if by some small chance it is cancer, it is highly treatable. I start to breathe again.
Weeks go by between then and my scheduled ultrasound/biopsy appointment. I try to remain calm and convince myself that this family has been through sh*t enough for five families and nothing is going to come of this. But there was that small part of me worried sick that maybe we just haven't been tested quite enough yet. Or that maybe the elevated blood levels were just a red herring to get me to the specialist so he could find the lump that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. I overthought it all. I begged of God, my mom, and everyone else I could possibly pray to that this was nothing other than a big inconvenience.
So here we are at my ultrasound day. I went alone and immediately regretted it when I got to the waiting room with no magazines, my forgotten iPod, and a giant sign asking you to turn off your cell phone. I started to panic and wondered where the Ativan dispensing machine was because surely I could use one right now. My tech came to get me on time, thank goodness, and he was nice and welcoming and immediately put me at ease. We started the exam and he made idle chit chat, presumably to keep me from falling off the table with anxiety.
So cutting to the chase because this post is suddenly out-of-control-long, about five minutes into the exam he tells me he'll have to get the radiologist to give the final diagnosis, but he is seeing no reason for a biopsy. No reason for a biopsy = no big lump = NO CANCER! I didn't know whether to laugh or cry but somehow I managed to hold it together and do neither!
A few minutes later the radiologist came in and confirmed things. Apparently I have a "few" lumps, but the biggest is 5 mm and according to him "his experience tells him that nothing comes of these small lumps". He figured my doctor would want to send me for a follow up ultrasound in 6-12 months to confirm that none of them were growing, but all in all VERY GOOD NEWS! I see the specialist at the end of the month and then presumably I don't see him again for a good 6 months at least.
Can we PLEASE be done now? My strength is DONE being tested!
Kids are in bed so time to hunker down with a movie, some red wine, and chocolates from the bulk aisle. That's my idea of a celebration! I will sleep well tonight for the first night in weeks.