A few weeks ago, due to some suspicious cysts and nodules noted in my thyroid during an ultrasound and, later, a nuclear scan, my doctor sent me for a biopsy of my thyroid. This is a rather painful procedure during which you are totally awake while a interventional radiologist numbs your neck and thyroid and then proceeds to repeatedly jam a tiny needle into your thryoid (I mentioned I was awake, right? Yeah, I thought so.) in an attempt to harvest enough cells to determine if there is a malignancy residing in one or more of these cysts and nodules.
The numbing process is akin to having a legion of angry fire ants dropped onto your neck! It stings! It burns! And, as it turns out, I have a high tolerance for the medicine that they inject so it continues to hurt while the radiologist is digging around in my thyroid with that little needle attempting to aspirate the right amount of “cells” from the various places in my neck. They did this process 6 times with 6 jabs in each lobe of my thyroid. That’s 36 needle sticks on each lobe of my thyroid.
This is not a procedure for the faint hearted! However, I must admit, it was kind of cool watching the procedure on the ultrasound screen.
I was told by the nurse that I would have the results in a couple of days. I was not able to reach my doctor when those couple of days were up so I called the hospital, who told me that the report was ready! They informed me that they are not allowed to give me the results over the phone, only my physician can do that, but if I came down to the hospital medical records department they could print it out for me. I jumped into my Nissan and drove to the hospital.
“Medical Records please? ”
“Down the hall and to your right”
” ID please.”
“Here you go.”
Within about 10 minutes I had the envelope in my hot little hands. It was big, white and official looking with the hospital’s logo printed on the front.
I resisted the urge to sit down in the waiting room and open it. I was nervous and scared and if it was bad news I didn’t want to cry in front of a bunch of strangers, so I left the report in the sealed envelope until I got to my car. Once I was seated, I carefully pried the gummy tab open and lifted out the contents…about 12 pages altogether. I leafed through the various documents…the admitting form, discharge instructions, the page listing my vitals that were taken while I waited in the outpatient post-op area following the procedure…and then there was the pathologists report. I read about the procedure and how they did the biopsy, and then the comments.
I was actually doing pretty well reading about the biopsy of the right lobe of my thyroid. I could even pronounce most of the words. Ultimately it said that a benign diagnosis for this complex cyst was favored, but that they hadn’t harvested enough of the matter during the biopsy to give a definitive diagnosis. GREAT…does that mean I’m going to have to do this again?
Then I read the comments for the left lobe. The last two words in the comment were follicular carcinoma. My heart dropped into my shoes as I scanned it again, hoping I had misread it the first time. Nope, those ugly words are still there – Follicular Carcinoma…I’m not a doctor, or anything remotely close to a medical professional, but I fully understood what carcinoma is.
I called my husband…