Friday, September 09, 2005

My Thyroid Revisited

Last summer I had half my thyroid removed because of thyroid cancer. My surgeon decided to leave the other half in place and there was no followup with radioactive isotopes after the surgery. My endocrinologist said that he would watch the two tiny nodules in the remaining thyroid lobe and might possibly recommend removing it at a later date.

When I had my physical with Dr. E, she was very surprised that the surgeon had left any part of my thyroid and had not done the followup treatment. She suggested that I get an opinion from another endocrinologist. I went for my appointment yesterday, thinking that the course of action would be to determine whether or not the two little nodules were a problem. Instead Dr. P recommended removal of the remaining thyroid lobe in the next couple of months, followed by the other treatment.

I just had my stitches removed yesterday from the last surgery, so this was not welcome news. It made me angry that my doctors last summer hadn’t been more aggressive and proactive in treating my thyroid cancer. In all fairness to them, it hadn’t been definitely determined that the nodule was malignant until a few days after the surgery. In any case, I trust my new doctors and found their recommendations to be substantiated in articles from medical journals which Dr. E gave me to read.

I have an appointment with Dr. B, a surgeon at Washington Hospital Center, later this month. I will put the surgery off until after Yom Kippur, but then I want to get it over with. This reminds me in many ways of my tonsillectomy when I was 6 years old. It was scheduled for the day after Easter. So I wore my Easter dress to the hospital and the church brought me a beautiful Easter lily. That unfortunately didn’t make my throat feel any better.

This recent rash of doctors’ appointments and all the emotions they conjure up have been draining. I am so ready to be WELL, to not be thinking ahead to the next biopsy or the next medical procedure of any kind. I want to work on getting stronger, on doing yoga, on practicing pilates. And I want to have a lot of time left over to play the piano.

I’m sure by this time next year I will look back on this and I will look at the once-again faded scar on my neck and it won’t be a big deal any longer. And I can have the reassurance that I have no longer have any thyroid cells left to attract papillary cancer. But at this point I am still looking forward and I am not feeling too happy about the near future. This is when I wish I still had a mother!

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