Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thyroid Update

By Diana Hsieh

Last Tuesday, my thyroid nodule was repeatedly poked for a biopsy. (My neck wasn't happy about that, I must admit!) The biopsy went fine, and results weren't so bad.

Initially, the pathologist's reading was basically, "maybe cancer, maybe not." That wasn't terribly helpful! The odds were very good that the nodule wasn't cancer. Yet that couldn't be ruled out, based on the mere look of the cells. The standard of care in such cases is to remove the nodule, along with the half the thyroid. Then the pathologist can perform the much easier task of examining a whole slice of tissue to determine whether it's composed of evil mutant cells or not. I wasn't too enthused about that, as you might imagine: I'm eager to get back to work. ("Good news, you didn't need the surgery! Now enjoy your weeks of recovery to full strength!")

Happily, we were able to get a second reading from a pathologist specializing in cytopathology. He's reasonably confident that the nodule is merely benign goiter, so we plan to simply do a recheck ultrasound in six months.

I'm not sure if the nodule and the hypothyroidism are related. However, I'm leaning toward the hypothesis that iodine deficiency might be the underlying cause, as discussed by Dr. Davis in this helpful article.

As for my hypothyroidism, I'm not feeling quite as bad as I was a few weeks ago, but I'm not feeling terribly well. I'm lethargic; I tire easily. I'm having trouble concentrating -- or even remembering what I said five minutes ago. My body temperatures are still low, and I'm cold. I'm still gaining weight. My carpal tunnel is still bothering me. I've not had the depression of a few weeks ago, thankfully. I'm definitely doing a bit better -- but only a bit. I'll have been on the Synthroid for three weeks as of Tuesday, so I'm going to speak to my doctor about increasing my dose -- if not switching to dessicated thyroid.

So for now, I'm still on a reduced schedule. My primary concern is to keep churning out new episodes of Explore Atlas Shrugged. You should consider anything else to be an unexpected bonus.

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