Friday, January 16, 2009

Dang things

I'm experiencing a rare moment.

I'm home.......ALONE.

Of course, the dog and cat are always close by, but wow - it's so QUIET.

This week was a pretty successful one at school. I took three "quizzes," and did pretty well, I think! (I don't have all the scores back). I am scanning well, finding ovaries and measuring endometriums.....

We started scanning thyroids, and it was discovered that both lobes of my thyroid gland have some "things" on them. In fact one thing is a nodule that is taking up most of my left lobe! Needless to say, I called my endocrinologist the same day, and scheduled an ultrasound and appointment with him! I should find out before the end of the month what the nodules are. The good thing is, thyroid cancer is fairly rare. If it is thyroid cancer, it rarely metastasizes, so that's good, too. Plus, if the gland had to be removed (which it probably doesn't) one can live quite normally without a thyroid gland. Medication would have to be taken for the rest of my life, but I already take some for hypothyroidism anyway. So, we'll see!

The weird thing is my thinking. I think I would rather have the gland removed than have a needle biopsy. I've seen needle biopsies (called Fine Needle Aspirations) done, and it doesn't look very fun. Plus, I've learned that it is common for them not to get enough cells and have to re-do tests (sometimes more than once), and sometimes not ever getting the cells they need to examine under the microscope. PLUS, I have also learned that benign and malignant cells from thyroid nodules can sometimes look the same. I just think it's better to take the whole dang thing out. My teacher says that may be a drastic way to look at it, so I suppose I should wait to hear what my endocrinologist has to say. But, what's the point in doing an FNA if the thing is so big, they would want to take it out anyway?

I've also been thinking about the educational opportunity this affords me. I know. I'm weird. But, I was thinking how cool it would be if I had to get something removed, if I had them save it for me. If they had to cut it up for some reason and couldn't save it, then I was thinking they could take pictures of it for me, at least. I just think it would be so cool for me to have the ultrasound images, as well as the gross specimen. What a great show-and-tell!

I think I chose the right field to get into......I love this stuff.


Docentis Maximus said...

Hello! I teach Anatomy and Physiology and Pathophysiology to diagnostic medical ultrsound students, and can provide some reassuring information about thyroid nodules.

Palpable thyroid nodules are not that uncommon -- 5% of adults have them. With ultrasound and pathologic studies, >20% of thyroid glands are found to possess nodules.

A solitary nodule is more worrisome than a nodule in the context of multinodular goiter (MNG) -- the incidence of malignancy being greater for solitary nodules.

Most patients with thyroid nodules have normal thyroid function tests, but if TSH is suppressed, a radionuclide scan should be performed -- nodules with increased uptake are almost never malignant, otherwise fine needle aspiration (FNA) is indicated. FNA is particularly accurate for detecting papillary thyroid cancer (PTC).

The good news is that FNA studies reveal that only 10% of nodules are malignant or suspicious.

Best of luck with your thyroid and your studies!

Jodi said...

Thanks! You have confirmed what I am learning in my sonography program. I have a history of hypothyroidism, so we'll see if that's why my thyroid appears the way it does. However, I had an ultrasound 2.5 years ago and there was no evidence of nodules. I think this is something new going on. We'll see! I'm not too worried. From what I have learned, thyroid cancer is not too common, and it doesn't tend to metastasize. I don't have any swollen lymph glands, so that is a good sign. Thanks for the input!

Where do you teach?

Elle J said...

Hey Jodi ~ my mom had her thyroid removed in the dark ages (when I was in 3rd grade) with no side effects other than no big deal meds for the rest of her life. W/technology changes since then, you will be just fine. I like your attitude!!! Keep us bloggers posted and best wishes for a good outcome. :)

Jenn said...

This is crazy! Isn't God's direction amazing. If you weren't in school, you wouldn't have seen it. Good thing is, at least in dentistry, if it hurts, it's more complicated to fix. So, I'm happy you found out about it by 'mistake'. Keep us posted, I'll be praying for you!

Docentis Maximus said...

Hi, Jodi!

I teach at a career school in Palm Harbor, Florida called Central Florida Institute. DMS is one of many careers that students pursue there. I teach most of their general education (i.e. non-clinical) classes: Anatomy & Physiology, Medical Terminology, Pathophysiology, Biology, Algebra, and a few others. In fact, I have an A&P blog on this site that I will be using with future students.

Chelle said...

An award awaits you over at my blog. Enjoy!

Chelle said...

An award awaits you at my blog...enjoy!

MM said...

Hi Jodi! I love your blog - so fun to find. I pray that you have wisdom about that dang thang!