Figuring out what I wanna be when I grow up.
Oop..I AM grown up...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Needle In The Neck is STILL Not Good Times

Gross, yucky image from HERE

Remember our good friend THYROID?  No?  Well, click HERE then!

Yeah.  I hate that thing. 

But let's get the educational thingy out of the way:

From: Definition of Thyroid Gland (click for full article)
Thyroid gland: A gland that makes and stores hormones that help regulate the heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and the rate at which food is converted into energy. Thyroid hormones are essential for the function of every cell in the body. They help regulate growth and the rate of chemical reactions (metabolism) in the body. Thyroid hormones also help children grow and develop.
Hm...yes, okay. Great. Okay--what else...shaped like a butterfly...wrapped around the trachea, below the adam's apple...scientific mumbo jumbo about how the thyroid uses iodine (found in iodized salt) to make its hormones...big, big words...karen had better cut and paste again...

The thyroid uses iodine, a mineral found in some foods and in iodized salt, to make its hormones. The two most important thyroid hormones are thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which is produced by the pituitary gland, acts to stimulate hormone production by the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland also makes the hormone calcitonin, which is involved in calcium metabolism and stimulating bone cells to add calcium to bone.

There!  Now you know where your thyroid is, and what it does.  Blah, blah, blah, yawn, yawn.  You hope it works fine, give it a little pat, and off you go with your day.  But what if it doesn't work properly?  What if you're debilitated by fatigue, and your hair and nails are brittle, and your sex drive comes and goes, but mostly said "see ya" some time ago, and you feel a little depressed a lot of the time, and you've been gaining weight but you just don't know WHY...well, maybe you should get your thyroid checked out!  All it takes is a little blood test to see if your thyroid is working at its optimum performance level. 

Yay!  I did all that!  Oh wait...the doctors keep telling me my thyroid functions "normally" even though I have nearly every symptom of hypothyroidism.  Pppftt...what do THEY know? 

But I've given up on all that.  I just keep getting the blood tests and nodding politely whenever the docs tell me my results. 

I do, however, have a nodule on my thyroid.  Some of you have probably heard me whine many times about how I have a nodule on my thyroid, and I've been having it monitored for the past 7 years.  I've had a few ultrasounds on it, and a couple of needle biopsies.  Always the results have come back with good news--no cancer.  My previous, arrogant dickhead of a specialist made it clear though that just because it was non-cancerous then "THAT DOESN'T MEAN THAT IT CAN'T BECOME CANCEROUS." 

Okay, okay. Sheesh.  Still, if I don't have have surgery, I'm not going to have surgery, capiche?

That stupid doctor I mentioned, by the way?  Well, I was just thinking again this week about how when I had the needle in the neck those other times, he never froze it first.  Freeze it??? he scoffed, why would he freeze it when the freezing would hurt worse than the needle itself?!?   Why would he freeze it first when the biopsy needle only felt like a MOSQUITO BITE?!?

Okay, here's where I get annoyed.  How many times have medical procedures been compared to a f*cking MOSQUITO BITE???  Do you know what feels like a mosquito bite?  A FREAKING MOSQUITO BITE.  The end.  Yeah, okay, it feels just like a mosquito bite, if the mosquito's proboscis reaches DEEP INTO MY NECK. 


But I have a new endocrinologist now!  He's in the same building as my family doctor, and he's eloquent, articulate, and his first name is CHILANGO!  YEAH!  Does that roll off the tongue or what?!?  On his appointment cards, they put his name in quotes too...

Dr. Chilango "Chill" Blahblahblah

Right on! 

So, I had an ultrasound done on my thyroid first, by him, a couple of weeks ago.  He does them right in his office.  Then he wanted to show me the images of my suck-a$$ thyroid right then and there.  And did I mention that he is T*H*O*R*O*U*G*H???

Me:  "Um, is this going to be a scary presentation?"

Dr. Chill:  "No, absolutely not. 

See here karen, this is your thyroid.  Here is the carotid, and here is the trachea.  You see how on this side you can see the entire lobe.  And you can see the windpipe, etc.  Then you see this side (touches the stupid side of my neck), and it is all lumpy.  The whole thing is just lumpy.  See here (shows the right side on the monitor again), you can see the thyroid, plus the wind pipe.  Then back here (flips back to the other image), it is all lumpy.  You see, this side again, you can see thyroid tissue as well as other tissue.  This side?  All lumpy.  The whole thing is lumpy.  I would not even say that it is a nodule.  You see?  Like this?  [Dr. Chill picks up a small, plastic replica of a thyroid with what looks like a zit on it]  This is a nodule.  But you see here?  [indicates image on monitor again]  This is just all lumpy.  It is all lumpy."


Then he considered for a moment;

"If I were to place this on a scale of probability of cancer, up to ten, I would give it a ZERO.  MAAAAYBE, a ONE." 

All of this is funnier, if you could hear me say it in a very serious African accent.  Not that African accents are funny, but somehow it sounds so much more grave. 

Anywho, YAY, I'm a ZERO. 

But then, the bad news:  he's thorough.  He wanted me to return for a needle biopsy just to be on the safe side.  You know--stick a needle into my neck, suck out a few cells for testing.

The good news:  he would freeze the area first!  Hooray!  He's nice, not like arrogant, mean, stupidhead doctor. 

Silly, silly karen. 

I power-walked on over for my appointment Wednesday morning. As soon as I got in there, I started to feel nervous.  By the time I had to LIE DOWN ON THE TABLE, I felt very nervous indeed.  I'm a baby about this crap now, let me tell you.  I felt very nervous when Dr. Chill asked his assistant to wash my neck here, here, and there, because he was going to put the needle in FOUR PLACES.  OMG!!  Four places?!?  I figured that four places indicated his biopsy locations. 

Silly, silly karen.

And then, NEEDLE-FEST 2011 started. 

Is there not something so wrong about having to lie down for these procedures???  I mean, if you have to get a filling or something, do you think you'd be way less nervous if you could either sit in a slightly reclined position, or lean against a wall?  I tried to make this point, but the doc and the lady assisting him were all business. They also didn't humour me when I tried to joke, weakly;

"Ill just wait for the magic 'all done!' words!"

Dr. Chill:  "now karen, this next needle you will feel more pressure, because I will be going deeper.  The pressure you will feel will be from the fluid going into your neck."

And that was just the freezing! 

How many times did he stick that needle in my neck, as his assistant guided the ultrasound wand around to find just the right stickable spot?  SEVEN, I THINK. 

This was my favourite, right before the second needle:

Dr. Chill:  Now karen, if you need to swallow or cough, it's very important that you raise your left arm first, and we will stop. We don't want you swallowing while I am IN THERE." 

In there.
Holy crap. 

Yeah, guess who spent the next eternity concentrating on that swallowing feeling? 

Okay, I'll spare you all the details but I will say this:  there were a couple of needles I could feel IN THERE.  And there are places in the body that should never ever be touched.  By anything.  Because it feels OOGEY AND WEIRD. 

And finally, finally, Dr. Thorough was finished.  Ooo, look at that nice tray FILLED with lovely, smeary slides!

My favourite part was when I walked out into the waiting room, to get my follow up appointment for results.  The waiting room by that time, had filled with several people.  They all saw me shuffle out with a big bandaid and marker dots on my neck.  LURVED the wide eyes.  Priceless. 

Needless to say that I did NOT power-walk home. 

And when do I get my reults? 

Why, on my birthday of course!  No worries.  That's why there's whisky, people. 


  1. Aaacckkk..
    My hubby had thyroid cancer & had Needlefest and then it removed ;(

  2. geeze karen way to scare me before bedtime!

  3. I've had to stay away from iodized salts as a late teen because it played havoc with teenage acne.

    The needles anywhere but the crotch don't scare me so much. Oh, no I don't want to think about the eyes thing again. ;)

  4. Yes, mine too, Lady E! When men have thyroid lumpies, it's far more likely to be cancer than a woman's thyroid lumps.

  5. ugh! My whole day was trashed after that, Melissa! I sat editing a blog post ALL DAY after that. I think on some level The Man was even sympathetic, because suddenly he was doing the dishes.

  6. Bennet. Have you had needles in the crotchal region? You mean, you don't even feel uncomfortable when the dentist is sticking that needle into your mouth??? God I hate that.

    I'm intrigued by this iodized salt thing...but how do you get your iodine then? Eggs? Milk? Okay, I guess I answered my own question.

  7. UGH!! So horrible. Yes doctors and their needles, bastards. Gynos and their speculums. Boys trying to get in your pants for the first time "It won't hurt, really, I promise." Get bent...

  8. Get bent is right. Oh well, at least I lived through it :(

  9. Okay I'm laughing at the comment from
    Just Say Yes...boys trying to get in your pants ha haha !
    Okay Karen it will be nothing ...just drink the whiskey cause it will be your birthday!

  10. thanks Pam--I'm not particularly worried. I lived through the ugly part!

  11. A needle in the anywhere is not good,but what is good is moving up to 117 at the mommy blog site! yay!

  12. Needles in the neck.. needles near the bum region... needles needles needles. Dave's favourite is the needle right in the roof of his mouth when at the dentist. *shudder*

  13. this is totally off topic,but yesterday{sunday}i was at once upon a child,and they had one copy of baby einstein newton version!! the store is located in the plaza accross the street from the pen. if you go soon it should still be there and it was only 3.50!

  14. Yay! Thanks Paula--I haven't checked out my rank for today yet. It's probably 117 still though...

  15. the roof of his mouth?!? I've never had a needle there!!! That's horrid.

  16. Hey thanks Paula! Actually, Jon's uncle and his girlfriend had a great idea, and burned a coppy of it from the net before jack's birthday. Still, I'm sure Jack would love the original.

  17. If nodule is stable over 7 year period it is very unlikely to be cancerous; the cystic nodules can be treated with PEI injection (commonly used in Europe) not sure about the solid ones

  18. thank you for your input, thyroid geek, I appreciate it. Well, I think it's gotten larger, but I'm not certain because I've had ultrasounds done in two different cities now. The latest needle biopy results read "follicular lesion" but neither confirmed nor denied cancer. I will have to google this PEI injection, as I know nothing about it!

  19. The benign thyroid nodule grows about 10% in diameter per year; the "follicular lesion" is very vague term. If the sample contains a lot of colloid, it is considered colloid nodule, no colloid and microfollicular arrangement of the cells suggesting neoplasm. In the past, the surgical removal of the neoplasm was the next step to rule out the cancer (17% out of all rmoved lesions), however the "molecular testing" (not sure about full description) method seems to be more accurate to rule out or to detect some variants of papillary thyroid cancer if ordinary biopsy fails to do so.

  20. explain this molecular testing, versus fine needle biopsy to me, if you would please! This is excellent information, but I dont't imagine that I have enough detailed information about my biopsy!

  21. Karen, let me e-mail you this info tomorrow (there are two articles and brief summary)

  22. thanks--you can find my email addy when you click the box for my full profile :)


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