Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thyroid Gland...Thyroid Gland...Friendly, Neighborhood-Sized Thyroid Gland!

This isn't going to sound like a funny story at first, but somehow I factually found a lot of humor in it. I know you're surprised.

I got a clean bill of health from my Endocrinologist this week. Yay me! You see, I'd had a second biopsy of my thyroid. Seems the first one wasn't painful...I mean conclusive enough. So, no thyroid cancer, just a whopping big thyroid. Like the size a Tyranosaurus Rex would have...if dinosaurs had thyroid glands that is.

Here's how it went down.

Last June I went to see my doctor with a sinus infection. When I spoke, I swallowed - as all people do, right? She stopped and stared at my throat (which freaked me out considerably) and asked me to do it again. Then she gave me a cup of water and had me swallow. Apparently, I had practically sprouted an Adam's apple. Actually, my thyroid had gone Godzilla on me.

So, I had to go get an ultrasound. Now, I'd only ever had one of these done when pregnant. It's weird when it's on your neck. Seriously, having warm goo squirted onto your throat...it's a bit obscene. Anyhow, they said I'd hear back. And I did, while in San Francisco during the RWA conference. The nurse told me I had three nodes inside my thyroid on the left side and two on the right. (Doesn't anyone care about symmetry anymore?) So scheduled me for a visit to an Endocrinologist in September.

Of course, I worried right through August. I couldn't even pronounce Endocrinologist. I can write it, but I can't say it (it's like Steve Martin with "abominable," remember that?). The morning of my appointment, I began signing this song in the shower (it's based on "I'd rather have a bottle in front of me, than have a frontal lobotomy...")

"I'd rather be a war crimes apologist, than see an Endocrinologist."

I don't know where that came from. Obviously it isn't politicially correct but do you know how hard it is to rhyme with Endocrinologist???

On the way there, Mr. Assassin accidentally turned too soon and we ended up at the Hospice Center. I (rather frostily) told him I didn't think I was quite ready for that yet. He apologized and we made it to the E. center. It was pouring down rain but I was so ready to get this damned thing I'd been worrying about over with I didn't care. In fact, I was so ready that the receptionist informed me that I'd arrived a day too early for my appointment.

We went back the next day (after consulting my datebook and realizing I really did go one day early) and they showed us in. The doctor was fabulous. I loved that she had a little toy thyroid gland (I might have to knit one) on her desk - how cool is that? Anyway, she explained that she wanted to do a needle aspiration biopsy that day and told me that it was okay because, "Thyroid cancer is the cancer everyone wants to get because it's so slow-acting."

I asked her, "There's a cancer everyone wants to get?" Really? I had no idea.

So we go into this other room and she asks if I'm okay with needles. I assure her that I am - I mean I give blood all the time and everything. The doctor says they use really fine needles but I'm not worried because like I said - needles don't bother me. I lay down on the table with a pillow under my shoulders and hyper-extend my throat by tilting my head back (which, by the way, is very uncomfortable). She does the ultrasound thingy and using the computer screen (which I think is a dubious way of doing things - but maybe that's just me), and inserts the needle gently into my neck.

They had to peel me off the ceiling. I kid you not.

Anyway, they did this four more times, which was just as much fun every single, damn time. I went home with a ring of bandaids circling my throat. It looked like I'd seriously botched slitting my own throat - which is something I would never do. I had bruising the next day. We had to walk around telling everyone that no, Mr. Assassin did not attempt to strangle me and no, I wasn't playing the choking game either.

After five agonizing days, the good doc calls and says the nodes on the right showed I have Hashimoto's disease and are benign. However, on the left the tests were inconclusive. I'll need to come back and DO IT AGAIN!

So I spend the next month waiting and reading about Hashimoto's disease. This is cool because it's not fatal. In fact, one of the side effects is forgetfullness! I KNEW it. Or rather, I didn't, because I forgot! Mr. Assassin was not amused when we had this conversation;

M.A.: Did you run by the bank?
Me: Um, no.
M.A.: You forgot...again???
Me: (maybe a little too cheerfully) It's that damned Hashimoto's!
M.A. :You can't use that as an excuse.
Me: Uh, yes I can! The doctor said I could! (I followed this with a little end zone dance while my husband tells me again that I can't use this as an excuse. But he was there! He heard the doctor say that! Woo hoo!)

So we went back in again last week. The doctor put me through the paces and this time I ripped my fingernails through my palms to distract myself. It didn't help when she said, "I don't know how we missed that last time. These nodes are so big. I mean they are HUGE."

To make a long story short - I don't have cancer. Just an enormous thyroid that probably makes me look like a female impersonator with nodes you could choke a hippo with.

But on the bright side, I have a get-out-of-jail-free card for the rest of my life with this Hashimoto's thing. And that's a pretty fair trade as far as I'm concerned.

The Assassin


Refhater said...

I'm so glad to hear that you're doing ok. I went through a similar experience back in August and got a similar diagnosis. Apparently Hashimoto's is a side effect of the Celiac disease I have.

The meds they'll give you will make a huge difference. A week after starting the synthroid I had twice the energy, better concentration,and a lot less depression/anxiety. And as an added bonus, I lost 5 lbs.

Best of luck with the Hashimoto's!

Anonymous said...

3 years ago my Thyroid stopped working. It went to sleep. That meant I was so tired, I was sleeping 12 14 hours and still falling asleep at work. So now I too am on synthyroid. What a difference. My doctor said it is very common in women. Aren't we lucky. LOL. So glad you are doing well.


Christie Craig said...

Gosh Leslie,

That was scary. And I did chuckle a few times, too. I'm so glad you are okay.

But yeah, you got the excuse for life.


Jana DeLeon said...

I'm glad you're benign, Leslie - or your thyroid, anyway. :)

And LOL on the "this is the cancer everyone wants to get." Although, my mom had it and lost 45 pounds in 28 days. Hmmmmmmm. Maybe a 30-day thyroid cancer????

Keri Ford said...

Hey, I'm another Synthroid taker! Mine is for a slow active throid(since I'm on a low dose, I don't think mine totally quit functioning). Like Linda, there just wasn't enough hours in the day available to sleep--I tried! I'd wake up just as tired or not worse when I went to sleep. Totally sucked.

Started the Synthroid and felt fantastic within a day or two. Good luck, Leslie!

Keri Ford said...

Oh, and unlike refhater, instead of loosing 5lbs, I gained 15 stubborn-bottom pounds that refuse to shake from my rear-end! But that was because of a different problem.

Suzan Harden said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Suzan Harden said...

For any readers of Killer Fiction, if your doc wants to put you on anti-depressants, make him/her check that darn thyroid first. And if the doc refuses to check the thyroid, FIND ANOTHER DOCTOR!

My entire endocrine system went ka-phlooie when I was pregnant, and remain phlooie to this day. Synthroid's a life saver.

(This morning's dose obviously had not kicked in with my first post.)

Bookmobiler said...

"little toy thyroid gland (I might have to knit one)"

I'm so glad I'm not on your Christmas gift list.

Gemma Halliday said...

*snork* What Bookmobiler said. :)

Gah! No fun, Les! I went through this same thing a few years ago. (obscene goo on the neck and everything!). Only I was miss-diagnosed with Hashimoto's. Turns out, a year later they said I didn’t have it, just the odd nodules. Luckily they took out so much of them during the biopsy that I no longer look like a female impersonator.


Terry S said...

Thank goodness for a diagnosis that is easily treatable!

Anonymous said...

Leslie, I think you're the only person I know who can make me laugh through a cancer threat. I'm so glad you're ok. Just so long as you don't conveniently forget when your next book is due...

Leslie Langtry said...

I am so overwhelmed by all your stories! My doc did say it hits women a lot more, but I had no idea how much! You guys are an inspiration to me. Now, does synthoid take out the forgetfulness too?

Leslie Langtry said...

Leah,actually, that's the only thing on my mind right now! I eat, sleep and breathe Coney (which certainly isn't a bad thing!). I may have to take some time off to see the new Bond movie...for inspiration, of course. Can I write that off?

Terri Osburn said...

Happy to hear you're okay! My mother got that same "the cancer to get" comment except it was about some kind of uterin cancer. They went in and took out all of her parts and no treatment necessary. But it still sounds odd to hear a doctor call it the "good" kind of cancer.

I can't imagine letting anyone stick needles in my throat once let alone having it done twice. I hope Mr. Assassin got you something nice as a reward.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad it wasn't cancer! But bummer on the other stuff, except having a built-in excuse for that memory thing. *g*

I'm another thyroid med girl. Though I can never remember if it's hypER- or hypOthyroidism. All I know is it makes me gain weight which annoys me beyond belief.

Leslie Langtry said...

I think hyper is when you have a lot of energy and hypo is when you want to do nothing but sleep all day, something the ladies above can attest to. I would love to sleep all day. This cold, rainy weather we are having here sucketh maximus.

Hellie Sinclair said...

I don't know how you can take something perfectly frightening or possibly sad and make me giggle all the way through it. (You could probably make Nightmare on Elm Street or Brian's Song a Will Ferrell comedy...) I'm glad it's all "good" though...very glad!

Unknown said...

Oh wow it sounds like they really put you through it. I am glad to here you are OK, no cancer. I hate it when they put you off for things and you worry forever before you find out what is really wrong.

Kathy Bacus said...

What a time you've had, Leslie. I'm so happy that you are through the worst of it.

Hopefully the treatment you're undergoing will keep the Hashimoto's under control.