Third time's the charm for a Thyroid biopsy?

Huh. My endocrinologist just called. This is how that phone conversation went:

Dr: “Hello, I wanted to check and see how you are doing today.”
Me: “Um, I’m fine. I think that things are going well with the Synthroid.”
Dr: “That’s good. You had two biopsies, right?”
Me: “Um…yes…”
Dr: “And we told you that it was non-diagnostic both times but most likely not cancer, right?”
Me: “…yes…”
Dr: “Well, we discussed your case at a conference – we have a bi-monthly conference where we talk about all cases with thyroid biopsies – and we decided that you would benefit from another biopsy. Is that alright with you?”
Me: “… well… If you think that it’s something that’s worth looking into, then yes, I’m OK with another biopsy.”
Dr: “Ok, great, I’m going to talk with [her senior doctor] and we’ll call you back to schedule.”

I was so taken off-guard that I didn’t even think to ask any questions. I called Alex who said that I shouldn’t worry and that they were probably trying to cover their butts by getting a biopsy that says that it’s not cancer. But seriously, two fine-needle aspirations of my thyroid cyst in a row were non-diagnostic. How is this one going to get different results? I don’t want surgery, but at this point I think they’d have better results by doing a surgical biopsy than another fine-needle biopsy.   I guess I’ll have to ask her about that when she calls me back.  Or maybe her senior doctor will suggest it.

Ugh. I’m annoyed at the prospect of another three weeks with a big bruise on my neck (thanks to my ridiculous propensity to bruise easily and have bruises linger) for no definitive results. I’m also a bit freaked out that I could end up having cancer after all – I thought I didn’t have to worry about that anymore.

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So, it's basically April already?

Holy crap – the first quarter of the year is over already! Tomorrow is April. Oh, and it might will probably snow – wtf.

Work is going well – I’m finally feeling confident in my ability to do the job and I like my coworkers. It’s still weird working for a big company and not having a lot of coworkers that I’m close with and like to socialize with. I guess most people would say this is a good thing. It definitely means less drama – and that is good. It’s nice to have work be just this place that you go to during the week and (except for weeks I’m on call) I don’t have to think about on nights and weekends. Definite win.

Taxes suck. We did some money juggling last year and ended up owing on our taxes this year. Which sucks. I spent some time with the taxes tonight (doesn’t that sound almost pleasant – like I sat with paperwork in a dimmed room sipping on wine… that’s not what happened) and was able to figure out that if we filed as married filing separately we’d end up owing $1k less. So that’s what we’re doing. I feel like a rock star for finally sitting down and doing that – and for taking the time to try out all the different options and saving us some money.

I also baked cookies for Alex and brought them to him at the fire station tonight. And I did some dishes. And took out the trash. Where’s my gold star, because I rock!

I’ve had some fertility testing done. So far, one lab value came back in a not good range (well, only one that I know of). Unfortunately, it’s my follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) level, which a not good number for that hormone could mean very bad things, like premature ovarian failure. I’m definitely not there yet, but an elevated number could mean that I’m on my way there. Very scary. I had a kind of invasive radiology exam on Monday called an HSG to check and make sure that “the tubes are clear”. They are. So that’s good. I’ve got a follow up scheduled with my doc on Wednesday and I’m not sure what the next step is… I have to admit that I’ve already scheduled an appointment with a fertility clinic… Just in case. They couldn’t get me in until May, so I figure that if my doc gives me hope and a plan that seems reasonable I’ll call the clinic back and push the appointment out a few months.

In the midst of all this fertility testing, I found out that my thyroid levels are very close to hypothyroid range. I’ve done a lot of reading on that and I’ve heard that the range that the lab has for normal is actually higher than is recommended for ladies who are trying to get pregnant. I pushed a little with my endocrinologist and she agreed to put me on medication (Synthroid). Who knows – thyroid issues can interfere with trying to conceive and can cause miscarriages – so maybe getting on the thyroid medication will help in that area. I hope so, anyway!

Speaking of that area – babies – Beck is in the hospital in labor now! Hopefully things are going smoothly for her and I can’t wait to find out if we have a new niece or a new nephew. :)

In other news, Alex had an exciting beginning to his week. He usually rides on Rescue 1, which means that he does a lot of paramedic calls. Here’s what he did Monday morning:

Della Rocco also credited the responding firefighters with getting the grandmother out when they did.

“Obviously, they did an outstanding job,” Della Rocco said.

Members of Rescue 1 were returning back to the station after another call when the call came in for the Stanley Street fire, Della Rocco said.

They entered the building and found the woman, Della Rocco said, all without the protection of a hose line on the fire.

“They entered the building and brought her out of the rear stairwell and actually began treatment right in the back yard,” Della Rocco said. “It was really an outstanding effort on their part.”

It was shortly after the rescue, and not long after firefighters arrived, that firefighters withdrew from the building as it was too dangerous.

You can see the full article here. I’m so proud of him!

Nondiagnostic Thyroid Nodule

  • Nondiagnostic
    A nondiagnostic fine needle aspiration biopsy results when there are not enough thyroid cells to make a definite diagnosis. A nondiagnostic diagnosis occurs about 10% of the time and can sometimes be due to a physician’s inexperience with the biopsy technique. However, sometimes thyroid nodules can be filled with blood, hard material called calcium or fluid and therefore only sparse cells are obtained at biopsy regardless of the experience of the physician.

Because up to 10% of these nondiagnostic thyroid nodules are cancers, a repeat fine needle aspiration biopsy or coarse needle biopsy is usually recommended in order to make a diagnosis. About half the time, the second biopsy will produce a more definitive diagnosis. If a diagnosis still can not be made after the second biopsy either very close follow-up (in three months) to see if the nodule has grown or thyroid surgery is generally recommended in order to make the definite diagnosis.

My doctor called this morning and told me the results of the biopsy (well, Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA) Biopsy) of the cyst on my thyroid: “Non-diagnostic”. Brilliant. There’s only about a 10% chance that a biopsy will come back with that result and of course I fall into that 10%. It’s definitely better than falling into the 5% who find out right away that it’s cancer – but for an impatient girl who can’t stand not knowing (and who has to *work* at remaining positive), it’s really not a great result.

I’ll have to have another FNA done. When this one was scheduled, the first appointment they had was 3 weeks out, and then I waited another week for the results. Hopefully the process will be quicker this time. I doubt it, though.

I wonder if it will be difficult to get the cells needed this time, since last time the doc asked me if I wanted the excess fluid drained while she was in there and I told her to go ahead. Instead of handing that fluid to the lab tech that was present, she threw it out (for which she was chastised by the tech). This makes me think that perhaps it was doctor inexperience that caused the non-diagnostic results. Hopefully I’ll have better luck the next time around. I’m not pleased to see that my chances the first time that it was cancerous was 5%, while this time around the chances are up to 10%. I shouldn’t let that bother me – nothing has really *changed* about my situation.

Still: hate this. Hate not knowing. Hoping to know something (and that it’s a good something) soon.

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

I’m sitting here at work feeling frozen.  I feel like I need to tell myself to breathe in and out and I certainly can’t concentrate on any of (the massive amount of) work I need to do.  The biopsy on the cyst on my thyroid was done a week ago today.  They told me then that it’d take “about a week” to get results.  That seemed like an annoyingly long time, but whatever.  If that’s what it takes, that’s what it takes.  Today was a week and I didn’t get any results yet.  I was surprising myself, though, with my apparent new ability to not dwell on an issue.  “It will be fine,” I kept telling myself, “And besides, if it were bad news they’d probably call you back right away.”  I reasoned that I probably should just wait for them to call because if I did call them, they’d probably just tell me that they couldn’t give me the results over the phone and that I’d have to wait for my doc to call me back no matter what. Just because they’d tell me that wouldn’t mean that there were bad results coming my way.

I thought I was going to be able to hold off until I remembered how long it took for my doc to call me back the last time I’d called her.  And then I thought that if I waited until tomorrow, Friday, a week and a day after the procedure – that if I waited until then I probably wouldn’t get a call back that same day and then I’d be almost guaranteed to wait over the weekend.  That thought compelled me to pick up the phone and dial the office.

As the phone rang and I listened to the options menu, my heart started beating faster.  I felt like I might puke, or faint.  One of those.  I waited on hold for 3 years.  When the receptionist finally picked up the phone, she was pleasant enough.  She took my information and looked in their system to see if my results were in.  She asked me a series of questions around when and where I had the biopsy done and I started to think that my results weren’t in yet (which was, weirdly, a calming thought).  Then she told me that my results were in, but the doctor hadn’t put a note in the system so she wasn’t allowed to release them to me.  She’d put a note in to have the doctor call me back, but she might have already left for the day and should be in tomorrow.

I feel so much worse now.  I know, rationally, that this does not implicitly mean bad results are coming my way.  I wanted to ask her if she could give me a hint, but I knew that she wouldn’t be able to – and it wouldn’t be her job to give me bad results if there were bad results to give.  (That reminds me of how I actually kind of felt bad for the Ultrasound tech last January who saw there was no heartbeat but couldn’t tell us.  I knew right away what her silence and reddening cheeks meant and I didn’t press her for info that she wouldn’t be allowed to give.  Wow – that’s really a depressing memory that’s not helping my overall mental status right now.  Ok, yep – note to self: if I ever need to make myself cry instantly, that is the memory to harvest in my mind.)

So now I’m left to stare at my phone and will it to ring (and hope that she doesn’t randomly call me when I’m driving home because I won’t have the patience to tell her I’ll need to call back and if I got bad news while I’m driving that could be bad).  She won’t call tonight, I’m pretty sure of that.  She may not even call tomorrow.  Wow, I hope I don’t have to go through another weekend with this big question mark hanging over my head.

And, as it usually does, writing out my worries has helped immensely.  I might be able to concentrate on work now.  I do wish I was home with Alex and a Guinness, though.  That would be a much better distraction than work.

Good Riddance 2010!

New Year’s is just around the corner and I couldn’t be happier to put 2010 behind me!  Sure, there were some good things that happened this year (Alex got on the Fire Dept and I got a new job), but mostly, for me, this year sucked.  I thought that a visual aid might assist in describing my crappy year:

A graph of my mood in 2010

2010 was a year of depressing events, health issues, and stress.  Thankfully, it looks like it’s ending on a good note with Alex’s job getting saved (yayayayayay!).  I’ve still got a big question mark over my head about the cyst on my thyroid, though.  I had a doctor’s appointment on Monday to get it checked out, but with the snowstorm that blew into town the night before they didn’t have enough staff on hand to perform a biopsy.  So, they were able to tell me that it LOOKS benign, but that’s not the same as an actual diagnosis.  I should be getting a call back to schedule that soon – hopefully!  For now, I’m going to keep knocking on wood and telling myself that we’re trending up in the good news department, so I should be finding out good news about my health soon (knock on wood!).

Even with all of the bad things that happened in 2010, there have been good things to come out of this year.  We had to endure a miscarriage, but having to go through the rest of the tumultuous events of this year with an infant would have been extremely difficult (that’s not much of a consolation, but it’s something).  We’ve had some ups and downs with Alex’s job, but we’re ending the year knowing that he’s secure in it for years to come.  I had a hellish couple of months at my previous job, but if it hadn’t gotten that bad, I wouldn’t have left and found a much more stable position with benefits that will enable us to start a family on better financial footing (and less overall stress!).  I’ve had some crazy health problems, but if they hadn’t happened I wouldn’t have found the cyst on my thyroid and, if the worst happens and it is cancer (omg knock on wood that it’s not!), then it would have probably gone much longer without being discovered and treated.

Goodbye 2010.  You sucked, but I can honestly say that I’m thankful for having had to deal with the suckiness as it’s made me even stronger and made me appreciate what I have much more.

Here’s looking forward to a much better 2011!

Highs and Lows

So it seems like with every little bit of good news, we get bad news these days.  I’m all for balance in the universe, but, frankly, I’d rather have a bit more in the happy stuff column for a while.

Our cooktop broke, randomly, in the summer (bad).  We really don’t like cooking with electric, so we decided to replace it with a gas cooktop and over the range microwave so that we could free up some counter space (good).  After spending $1000 on appliances (a clearance Electrolux cooktop and Frigidaire Microwave which we’re excited about and got a great deal on (good)), we had torrential rain which brought to light an issue with our roof that the roofer we had out last year didn’t properly fix and will cost us around $1500 to repair (bad).

I finally realized that I was working in a toxic environment (bad), and so got a new job (good).  Meanwhile, all signs point to layoffs in the fire department and Alex will likely lose his job (bad).  Oh, and since we have a corner lot, the curb fee proposed in the city budget will be pretty high for us, given that it’s a per-foot charge based on a property’s frontage with city streets (bad).  So, we get to pay the city more while we lose an income (bad).

Oh yeah, and then today my doctor’s office called me and said that my thyroid levels were low (bad).  I don’t know at all what that means for me yet or what it means for our desire to start a family; I have a doctor appointment in the morning, but for now, all I can thinks is, “bad”.

And, can it please stop raining?