Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Let's take out his thyroid for 100 dollars!

Close to a year ago my doctor discovered that my thyroid was larger than normal. I was in for an ear infection and after the usual poking and prodding he felt the front of my neck and asked, "How long has this been like that?" That's how this odd journey began. Now, after a biopsy and some further monitoring my doctor and my surgeon both agree it's time for that troublesome gland to go. Funny, the surgeon was the one who initially was opposed to taking a scalpel to me.

The "tumors" are quite large. I can feel them when I swallow. I have two, one on each side of my thyroid. The largest is about six centimeters which is about how long the incision will be across my throat. Kinda makes sense since that six centimeter mass is going to have to squeeze through that small window. A friend recently brought to my attention that I should have scheduled the surgery this week so I'd be out by Halloween with a nasty, oozing, possibly bleeding wound on my neck. My timing was always shitty. I would have made a great zombie.

I call them "tumors" but it's not yet determined if they are in fact cancerous or if they are malignant or benign. My biopsy indicated that I probably don't have cancer, but given the relatively high false negative rate for this procedure, I'm not willing to play the odds. My docs both agree with my decision. My family members are happy too. Some thought we (i.e. my wife and I) were taking this all a bit non-chalantly. We'll know soon enough.

I know people who have gone through this procedure before me and they are all ok. Some have had all or part of their thyroid removed. No one seems to have a nasty scar or long term health issues. Most are just taking a pill a day to replace the hormone normally secreted by their lost gland. I'm expecting to have much the same experience.

I have been counseled on what could go wrong. All of these scenarios have very low single digit probabilities. The worst of which is probably that I could permanently lose my voice. It freaks you out but again very low probability. I've never had major surgery before so I'm a bit unsettled about being under. I'm also not one for staying in the hospital but my wife has delivered three kids, the first by c-section (Yes, that's right the first by c-section.) she's basically telling me to suck it up. She's right of course. There are others I know who are really fighting for their lives. This little hiccup is nothing in comparison.

So gentle reader we'll see how this thing goes. I'm going to try to remember to blog and tweet my whole experience if I remember and I'm determined to ask my surgeon if I can have what's left of my thyroid after my operation. I think it would be fun to keep on my desk and have my kids take it to school for show and tell. It will be fun to have a little bit of myself in a jar even if it is a little bit of myself that has gone slightly haywire.


Blogger Andre said...

$100? That's a brutal co-pay! (P.S. Sending out good vibes to the surgeon.)

5:29 AM  
Blogger pam said...

i have two lumps 6mm and 7mm ihad an ultrasound and they found a mass and two lumps im terrified let me know how everything goes for u and if u have any information for me i dont know what will happen next so id like a heads up if possible. thanks. p.s i have the next ultra sound in december to see if theyve grown anymore.

3:45 PM  

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