Saturday, July 28, 2012

Me and My Thyroid: The Long Version

When I got home, the kids asked what happened.  I told them a vampire bit me.  Everyone laughed, but Ben.  He was pretty horrified until I assured him I was only joking.  ;)
Wednesday the 25th, I went to my doctor for a physical.  I have been so tired that I am literally falling asleep anytime I sit still... watching TV, reading, nursing.  I also have had unexplained, intermittent low-grade fevers for the last several months.  I am still overweight, after initially shedding about 25lbs since March, I have been stuck for the last 6 weeks despite keeping track of my calories and exercising.  I thought it was probably all due to nursing my little Alice all day, waking up a few times a night with her or other kiddos, being exposed to all the viruses my kids bring home, and maybe being too stressed to lose weight.  My blood sugar has been out of whack as well, but I blamed it on being fat.  However, I really started to get concerned so I went in for a check-up for my own peace of mind.  It seems that we've had a series of really bad luck with health ever since November, and I have learned the hard way not to ignore it when I am feeling weird symptoms.

At the appointment, Dr M found a lump in my thyroid when he was doing my physical exam.  He recommended an ultrasound and bloodwork.  I do have some abnormal levels, but nothing too scary.  It may be that I am still recovering from my mastitis infection (oh yes, that too) and that I need to lose weight.

Thursday, I went in for my ultrasound.  It wasn't bad at all.  A little awkward to have the warm gel on my neck and to NOT see a baby on that fuzzy screen, but whatever.  I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing on leaving, thinking I need to redouble my quest for better health that I started earlier this year.  They said I would have results in 3 or 4 days.


Instead, the doctor called me an hour after I got home and said I needed a biopsy as soon as possible.  I scheduled it for Friday afternoon.  The nurse warned me that it would be uncomfortable, and that I would need a support person to drive me home.  She said that I couldn't pick up anything heavier than 10 lbs (poor Alice!) or do any sort of physical activity for 24-48 hours.  I would need to stay home that evening, so I could alternate thirty minutes on/thirty minutes off with the ice packs.  That should have been my clue that it was a bigger deal than I wanted to believe.  I did the WRONG thing (Googling "is a thyroid biopsy painful?) and heard the whole gamut... some people said no big deal, other said pretty uncomfortable, some said that the biopsy was the worst part of having cancer.  Yikes.


I was brave on Friday because I had Adam with me.  But when they said he couldn't come in with me for the actual procedure, my heart sank.  I don't really want to talk about the experience in detail, but it was really difficult for me.  I had 3-5 passes in 4 places, guided by ultrasound.  I don't get emotional in front of people and won't complain of pain ever, so I held it all in until I got outside.  The minute I did... I did the "ugly cry."  I was hurting more than I thought I would, and afraid.  This has all happened so fast. 


I was feeling really optimistic going in, but have been down since the whole thing.   Yes, 9 out of 10 people have benign results so it is a VERY good chance that this is nothing.  But someone has to be in the 10% who have cancer.  Why not me?  I have beaten the odds on everything else this year, lots of bad luck one thing after another.  I found out my grandma had a thyroid tumor in her thirties and had to have her thyroid totally removed.  Yes, if you are going to have cancer, this is the kind to have.  But who wants to have ANY cancer?  It is still a big deal to have your thyroid out.  You have to be on medication for life, you get a scar, most people lose all or part of their feeling in their necks, you have to have radioactive iodine and stay away from your kids for days, and you even have a 4% chance of losing your voice forever.   


I had trouble sleeping last night, because turning my head at all was so painful.  I feel like I have an ear infection in my left ear (the largest biopsy spot on my left side is swelling against a nerve) and it feels like I have been punched in the throat.  Or choked.  The good news is, I have just really mild bruising thanks to my sweet family's help and ice packs.  The swelling looks a bit silly... I look like I have gained at least a few pounds just on my neck.  I have what looks like a lot of pimples from the needle pricks.   Pain-wise, it's better this afternoon than it was yesterday.  I think I just had a pretty extensive biopsy and they had to go in on a lot of different spots.  


So that's what has been going on with me.  I am supposed to rest this weekend, and will use it to play with more photos and back-post them here.  I *really* appreciate the prayers and good thoughts. 

13 comments:

Jody said...

Wow, I'm so sorry you are going through this. I pray it isn't cancer, but at the same time, look at me, I've beat it twice, and you are way tougher than I am. You have so many wonderful blessings, so focus on those as much as possible while you wait for your results. I'll keep you in my prayers! Love you, Lerin. You are an inspiration to me!

Blair said...

Praying for you, Lerin! I have a friend who just went through all this. She's also a young mama with 4 kids 9 and under. She had her surgery last month and is doing great. I'll message you with her blog info, because she is very positive and faith-filled! Hoping for good news for you.

Integrator said...

You had to use icepack after biopsy because bruse may appear few days after
Best!

Integrator said...

You suppose to use ice after the procedure because biggest bruise appears next day
Best

Nancy said...

Hang in there, Lerin. Please don't try to do too much! Give your body a chance to recover from this invasion (needles are definite invaders!). I know it's hard not to worry. I usually give myself an hour everyday to worry. During that hour...I worry like the dickens! Then, I let it go. When worry creeps back in (and it does), I just tell it to go away until tomorrow...and I worry then...but only for an hour. I know it sounds nuts...but it has really helped me. I guess it's because I know the worry is there and I allow it consume me..but just for a short time. It's funny how the mind works. We can trick ourselves into anything! ;o)
Oh...and STOP looking on the internet! After I was diagnosed with breast cancer....I surfed the net for days. I read every sad, horrible story I could find. I worked myself right up into a panic attack. Instead, surf the net for new decorating ideas or join Pinterest.
I'm praying for you!

Andrea said...

Oh, Lerin, I feel for you. You're in my thoughts and I can't imagine. You're incredibly strong. Whatever the world throws at you, you'll get it with a graceful attitude. Hugs over the blogsphere!

denisemiranda58@gmail.com said...

sending prayers and happy thoughts your way.
Really missed you, everyday I would come to your blog to look for updates and pictures. Rest well... take care

Sew said...

I'm not sure how I got here. :) But I had the same thing happen to me...I ended up having Stage I thyroid cancer with a total thyroidectomy about 3 years ago....

It's been a VERY interesting ride......

If you get to a point where you still have hypothyroid symptoms after treatment or need to talk. Ive been there and done that and have gone against mainstream recommendations to get myself better..... :) You can email me....

Sew said...

I never took the RAI and actually I feel better now then I have ever felt in my entire life....It was the building block of getting me fixed. The medication every day isn't bad at all....I have to set an alarm and take meds at 2am every single day. But it's worth it....

It all seems like a big deal now, but really in the long run, if it gives you your life back, its all good! :)

Jane said...

You are in my prayers! Rest and think positive thoughts. God is with you and your family!

Lerin said...

Thank you all for the kind words and prayers! I also really appreciate those of you who have been through this before offering help and advice. I will definitely be in touch as soon as I find out what we are dealing with. Thank you again. Prayer really does carry me through scary times, and I truly from the bottom of my heart appreciate every one.

Lindy Turver said...

I will be praying for you. I know it is such a drag, will pray for good news. Your kids are so cute! I'm a mwop buddy.

Skirts from That Other Blog said...

Hi Pie! I wrote you on 'that other blog' regarding my MIL's thyroid problems. She still hasn't gotten a date set for her biopsy. I'm here with her for awhile and don't have regular access to the 'net. Anyway I saw that you have a blog and read your post regarding your thyroid biopsy. I'm so sorry it was such a bad experience for you! Sounds like it was so much worse than I would have thought. I asked my MIL if she wanted to know what you went through and she has decided she doesn't want to know what all is involved. Praying it all works out well for you. I'll try to check in when I can.