Monday, January 14, 2013

Ladies, check your Thyroid

I've been struggling whether to write a post about this issue for a while. I don't like to write about negative/depressing things or about my own life too much. But, I do need to share this.

I hope with this post I can shed some light on a health issue that affects many women, and they don't even know it.

First, let me say that I'm not a doctor. If there is one thing I'd like the ladies reading this post to take with them, is to be aware of their body, what it tells them, or not tells them, as it was my case. Take a step forward and make a decision to check your thyroid. You can read Brook Burke's story about her Thyroid. She's recently undergone a Thyroidectomy.

Almost three years ago I asked my doctor to do an ultrasound of my thyroid for two reasons:

1. My mom had hers removed (half 20 years ago and the other half 5 years ago) due to nodules
2. I lived in Western Europe when the explosion in Chernobyl and there's a link between thyroid nodules and the nuclear fallout.

I did not expect to find a 2cm nodule on my thyroid. It never bothered me, didn't hurt me, my blood work was fine and I would have had no clue I had one.

Nodules are very common and there are many different types of nodules. So, the next step was research and further tests to see whether the nodule was benign. After an iodine uptake and two biopsies over the following year, everything came back negative.

My doctor said the nodule would grow, but how fast and when, was unpredictable. He also said it would one day most likely need to be removed, but that depended on my health and the growth of the nodule.

Three months ago I had another ultrasound done (I have them every 6 months to keep track). There are changes, new spots, and calcification of the nodule.
Does this mean it's cancerous? No
Does it mean that it's benign? No
Unfortunately that's as clear of an answer I can get for now. Just because biopsy comes back negative, doesn't mean the nodule won't change or mutate in the future.

That's from my research.  Now, with the new spots and calcification, there's a greater chance that it could be cancerous.

If it is, well, then my decision to have it removed will be easy.

If it's not, it will be more difficult. (And my doctor has said it's still my decision to remove it if results come back negative).
1. because there's still a risk it could mutate, so obvious choice would be to remove it but,
2. if I remove it, I will be on hormone pills for the rest of my life which could/would eventually affect my other organs when I'm older. Long term effect of pills on stomach or liver are never good.

So, one month from now, I have an appointment where these options will be discussed. I'm a little nervous. Of the past three years, I feel this is the appointment during which I will have to make some decisions (yes, I'll be given time to think about it).

I've been quiet on this blog, working away and losing myself in the writing. I'm finding each story becomes more emotional and engaging and I want to do it for a long time. I see myself as an old, gray grandmother sitting on her porch with a laptop, while my grandchildren play on the front lawn.
I always have a positive outlook on life, because I know there are others who have much less than I do.

Whatever choice I have to make, I pray God will give me the strength to reach that beautiful age I dream about.

I hope sharing this part of my personal life will allow someone else to have a choice like I do. Had I not done the ultrasound, I would have never known about it. When I tell people about it, they're surprised. I just nod, and re-iterated I would have not know if I hadn't had the ultrasound done.

So, keep healthy and strong, and talk to your doctor.

10 comments:

Annalisa Crawford said...

A very important message! A difficult decision, but I'm sure you'll end up a grey-haired grandmother telling your many grandchildren how you became such a successful writer! Take care :-)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Between a rock and a hard place.
Pray about it and place it in God's hands. I will be praying for you as well.

Babylon said...

It is up to you to have a surgery done, but Chernobyl factor comes to play if:
You were under 14 years old in 1986
You consumed milk from local farm between May and November 1986
You lived within 100 miles from power plant and stayed there from the time of disaster to 1991
Radioactive iodine also collects in breasts tissue and ovaries and causes breast cancer too.
Best!

Nancy Thompson said...

I pray it's nothing and you are well, but if it's not, don't fear the hormones. They're safe. I've been taking them for 25 years now. They keep me well AND sane. Sure, you have to keep on top of these things, but thankfully, they're easy to treat and nearly complication free. No worries! Really!

DL Hammons said...

Thank you for sharing your story with us! It is an important message!

Ciara said...

These decisions are tough. I will keep you in my prayers.

Lynda R Young said...

My hubby had his thyroid removed a few years ago. This is not an easy decision for you. My prayers are with you.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you. Thank you so much for sharing

Shelly said...

Marta,

Never worry about that. I like the bloggers who can share bits and pieces of their lives. Happy and tragic. Your a REALBIE. I like those. The business ones get on my nerves.

Anyway, I sruggle daily with Hashaimotos. I've been on Levoxyl since I was 35. While my thyroid is somewhat under control, I still suffer from low blood pressure and fatigue. Sometimes its debilitating, like today and the last 5 days. I'm on bed rest right now.

Most people with my condition, do lose their thyroids to nodes and/or cancer. Right now, I count my ,ucky stars and thank God I still have mine.

Good luck to you. I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

Hugs and chocolate,
Shelly

http://secondhandshoesnovel.blogspot.com/

Will definitely share this post.

Lynn Thompson said...

Here's to thyroid health! I've read up on low thyroid and thank goodness that I have a great nutritionist who helps me keep it strong through herbal remedies.

I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!

You can find me here: http://lynnthompsonbooks.blogspot.com/