Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The beginning of a break-up

I woke up yesterday morning with fear.  I took my children to our neighborhood pool to distract myself from the fear.  I wanted to enjoy them and them to enjoy me before what I knew was coming later in the afternoon.  I came back home to get ready for my 1:30 p.m. appointment and fear set in while I showered.  My husband came in the bathroom and looked me in the eye as if willing me to keep going and be strong.

I got in the car and drove the 30 minutes to the best Endocrinologist I have met to date.  Dr. O. is a life saver, but his staff sucks.  I told him his staff sucked on my last visit and he told me he would fix the problem, but I knew the problem still existed.

I had a biopsy done in April and here it was June and I had never heard from his office.  I knew I should have called, but I was feeling so much better and I didn't want to hear any bad news, so I let the incompetence of his staff prolong my blissful ignorance.  No news is good news, right?  WRONG!

I heard the doctor in the hall asking to speak to his head nurse.  The walls are thin, so I heard everything he said to her.  He told her that it was unacceptable, that not only had I not been given my results, but that the results were not even in the office.  They (his staff) didn't even have the pathology report for the doctor to review.  In their defense, Dr. O. is not apart of the network here, so his computer system does not communicate with the hospitals that do the testing.  All of the labs and paper work must be sent to him in a hard copy and the hospitals neglect to do that sometimes, but according to Dr. O., that is not an excuse for not even having the results in the office on the day of my appointment.  He's right and after reprimanding his staff, he came in to greet me and apologized for the situation.

While we were discussing "normal" thyroid business, the nurse came in with the pathology report and the doctor, even more visibly upset, looks at me in my eyes and says, "your pathology report has not changed Mrs. H.  It (the nodule on my thyroid) is not benign. There is a presence of follicular carcinoma.  My advice is still the same as when you came to me for your second opinion from the other doctor.  We should remove part of the thyroid that contains the nodule and if we find cancer, a total thyroidectomy will be done".  I interrupt him at this point because I wasn't sure if he just told me that I had thyroid cancer.  Our dialogue was as follows:

Me:  Are you telling me I have thyroid cancer?

Dr. O:  The pathologist cannot rule out malignancy, but the cells within the nodule are not benign.

Me:  Wait, so what does that mean exactly, because my first endocrinologist said to me that the report basically meant that I didn't have cancer.

Dr. O: (with a grimace) Mrs. H., if you were my wife, I would tell you to remove this nodule immediately.  Your previous doctor wanted to monitor it and take the chance that it was not cancerous. You are young, you have very young children, and I don't want to risk this being something serious.  It has not shrunk nor will it ever shrink because it is not a goiter (my first doctor told me thyroid medication would make it shrink).  The only way to rule out thyroid cancer is to remove the part of your thyroid that has the nodule and dissect it to see if it is in fact cancer.  Carcinoma is cancer. Please remember, Mrs. H. that there are other nodules in your thyroid that are too small to test. You need to consider surgery.

Me:  Okay, let's take it out.

I must express that I am not easily moved with emotion.  After this appointment, I went to see a friend in the park very close to the endocrinologist' office.  I was a ball of emotion, but I know she was not able to tell.  When I got home, my husband knew something was wrong because I was silent.  I don't like breaking down and any talking was liable to make the waterworks happen.  Of course, him knowing me,found a project for us to do.  I had mentioned to him the previous day that the vibe in my daughter's room was off and we needed to rearrange her furniture (why, yes, I am one of THOSE people), so that's what we did while I explained my doctor's appointment to him.  I must say, it is awesome to share your life with someone who knows you and doesn't press you to be something you are not.  Anyway, he's not a talker either, but later on in the night he got quite angry.  He wanted to make a complaint about the delay in receiving my results and said that with the economy being as bad as it is, "you would think people would do their damn job". Poor thing, he has no one to blame for this, but the nurses and although he has a point, I believe things happen as they are meant to happen.

I am truly scared. I need a moment to process a few things. The biggest issue is that I have to wait for my insurance to approve that I actually need surgery and that upsets me a bit.  I can't process feeling like everyone else does and it takes me a few days.  I guess I feel betrayed by my body. I was under the impression that I was rounding the corner on this journey and could visibly see the finish line, but now I have to buy some new shoes and keep going...


  1. Hi Andrea, thank you so much for the lovely blog comment. I'm so sorry to read this! All the hassle with the staff and then the news about your nodule... I'm glad you have such a good endocrinologist though - his advice seems really good and it sounds like he genuinely cares. Keep your chin up and keep going - no thyroid journey is ever smooth but you WILL get there :)

  2. Thank you for reading Jess. It's been hard these past couple of days, but the support from the thyroid community has meant tons to me. Thank you again.