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Saturday, March 5, 2011

My First Thyroid Scan

My first thyroid ultrasound was scheduled nearby and occurred within a few days of my doctor's appointment.  I wasn't nervous about the procedure but I was nervous about what the results would show so I waited anxiously for my name to be called.  When it finally was, I was led to a dark room and asked to lay down on my back, and put my head back.  I am able to somewhat read an ultrasound and so my instinct was to try to look at the screen but of course this didn't allow for the best positioning of my neck so I strained my eyes sideways to try to see.   The ultrasonographer placed the cool sticky probe on my neck and began scanning. It seemed to take forever and I often felt as though I was choking.  I was glad when it was over but then it was time to wait for the results. 

I am not so good at waiting and so I spent hours searching for information on thyroid diseases and cancer.   I learned that thyroid cancer was considered the "good cancer" but somehow this didn't put my mind at ease.  Of course, I was thinking of the worse scenario.  In my career as a veterinarian I have had exposure to radiation from x-rays on a regular basis.  I do wear protective clothing while restraining animals for x-rays, but I still couldn't help but wonder if I had caused these problems myself.  Had I exposed myself to enough radiation to result in thyroid cancer?  I tried to find information relating veterinarians to an increased risk of thyroid cancer but I couldn't find anything which would indicate such.  I tried to remember this and relax until the results came in. 

Then, finally my GP phoned me with the results.  I went to her office and learned that my thyroid was enlarged (like I couldn't tell from the lump in my neck), and that it had multiple nodules.  The thyroid is the shape of a butterfly with a left and right side and a center portion called the isthmus.  I had nodules in both sides as well as the isthmus.  The largest of these masses was on the left side and measured over 1 1/2 cm.   Although it is not uncommon for nodules to be present in the thyroid gland, the large nodule on my left was cause for some concern due to it's size.  I also learned that thyroid cancer is less common in  a thyroid that has multiple nodules than in a gland that has one solitary nodule.  I kept this in mind as I waited to see the endocrinologist.  It would be a much longer wait for this appointment so I had to keep positive and keep my mind on other things. 

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