Single left inferior thyroid lobe nodule measuring 2.8 x 1.6 x
2.2 cm. This demonstrates indeterminant features. Given size, recommend fine-needle aspiration to exclude underlying malignancy.
Hi, I have thyroid cancer. Right now, that’s how it feels to identify myself at this time. I could say, Hi, my name is Katherine. But for right now, it seems that my thyroid cancer is a bigger part of my life than I would like it to be.
I’m going to start from the middle and then go to the beginning. This may seem kind of an odd way to start, but let me explain why. My thyroid cancer adventure actually started late 2015, and I thought that after my thyroid removal, I was done, except for my twice a year check-up. But last week or so, during my ultrasound check-up, they found that one of my lymph nodes has been growing. I have a biopsy scheduled near the end of this month. I’m preparing myself mentally that it is probably cancer again and that I will have to have it removed. The good news is that my original scar is still showing, so the surgeon won’t need to spend any time wondering the best way to cut me open.
I should warn you that my humor is a little dark.
But now let’s start at the beginning, as you might have been just diagnosed with thyroid cancer yourself and may be a bit scared. I’m here to share my own experience with thyroid cancer, in case this helps someone feel like they aren’t alone. (Or realize that they might have it better than me. There’s always hope, right?)
As you’ll soon find out, thyroid cancer is very common in women. Especially those who’ve had children. Yes, childbirth can do a bit more damage than stretch marks. Luckily, because this form of cancer is common, the removal is quicker than most and has an extremely high life expediency, even if your thyroid cancer should be marked as stage four. So, yay?
Still, if anyone tells you that you’re lucky to have such an easy cancer, feel free to punch them in the throat. Okay, don’t really do it. Just imagine it. Any form of cancer sucks, and who wants to lose a piece of their body? (For those body mutilator folks out there, don’t answer that question).
So, you might be wondering, Katherine, you’re blathering on. I don’t care about that. What I want to know is, how did you know that you had thyroid cancer?
Great question! My answer is very important. I think that I’ve had it for at least 5-10 years before I actually knew that I had it. For the past several years, when I’d go for my annual physicals or when I was not feeling well, the doctor would feel my neck and then asked if I had a cold. I’d say yes, or no, but I have allergies, and then the doctor might say, “your lymph node(s) are swollen probably due to that.” They continued on with whatever they were looking for, but they didn’t bother putting that in my chart. I think that if there was repeated “swollen lymph nodes” written in my chart, you would think that a doctor would think that something was wrong?
It took a student dentist at an university to tell me, “I hate to tell you this, but I think that you have cancer. You should see a doctor.”
I laughed, but made an appointment to see a doctor about the possible cancer. When he saw me, he told me that I probably have a cold or an allergic reaction and that I was fine. I didn’t press the issue, but the thought stuck with me.
Then, in 2015, I was in a bad car accident, where I had to have a MRI done. There, in the x-ray, was proof that I had thyroid cancer. Often times, this is how thyroid cancer is found. For many people, there aren’t any noticeable symptoms.
Did I have any symptoms that I could share with you? For me, I had difficulty swallowing waffles. Maybe a little difficulty breathing – just a bit. I was to find out why later.
After the MRI, I was told to talk with my family doctor who could then give me a referral for an ultrasound on my thyroid. After this, the next step was a biopsy of six needle jabs. Don’t feel bad if you can only allow them two or so. These are painful, in my opinion, and some people refuse to do it once they hear the procedure. Don’t be foolish like them. The biopsy needs to be done. If you cry, don’t worry. Most people do. They have tissues there for a reason.
My biopsy report results – “POSITIVE FOR MALIGNANCY Papillary carcinoma.” The Papillary carcinoma part is sometimes known as “papillary thyroid carcinoma” and just means common thyroid cancer.
If you’re reading this from googling your test results, your biopsy confirmed thyroid cancer. Fuck.
I’ll continue on in the next post. (It’s too close to my bedtime).