Monday, April 30, 2007

Now Let's Scrub in ... and Meet the Surgeon

April, 2007

Prior to going to the surgeon's office I've confirmed that he attended a top medical school, is Board Certified, has never had a complaint filed against him and has an impressive resume. I took my list of 23 questions with me to the appointment and he happily answered them all. I feel very confident about my surgeon and optimistic about the surgery.

He examined my vocal cords during the visit. Two methods exist - one using a mirror, while the patient is supposed to physically hold their tongue out of the way and not gag. After several attempts he decided to move to more unpleasant method of inserting a scope through your nose to view the vocal cords. He sprayed by nose with 2 sprays, I a decongestant (I think) and another was a numbing medication. Using the second method we were able to finish the examination which, although not loads of fun, was definitely bearable, even for me. The examination showed my left vocal cord is not moving properly, which he said could be a coincidence or a result of the mass in my neck.

During the appointment he mentioned the very real possibility of damage to my vocal cords. He also said it is possible my voice may change and asked if I was a singer. At that comment I doubled over in laughter for a few seconds. While a sibling of mine is truly an accomplished singer, I was totally overlooked when singing abilities were being passed out. I think the best comparison I've seen so far to my ability is Cameron Diaz singing karaoke in "My Best Friend's Wedding". For those of you who have seen this movie, you know this means I'm an absolutely terrible singer - at least that's one less risk for me to worry about. I have also been described as having a "youthful" voice. This is really just a polite way of saying my voice sounds like a 12 year old girl, which is what my friends have told me previously. This comes in handy when dealing with telemarketers as I can honestly answer that neither my mother or father are home and I have absolutely no idea when they will be returning. After the appointment I'm relaying all of this very serious information to my husband when he says jokingly, "If one of the vocal cords of a woman with a 12 year old voice is damaged - does that mean she will sound like a 6 year old girl?" This struck me as being incredibly hilarious and provided me with the levity I needed at the time.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Blog Name Origins

I never explained the whole "butterfly" name. I decided on this because one, I now know the thyroid is shaped like a butterfly and two, because of the off and on experience of "butterflies" in my stomach during various times of my thyroid journey.

The Endocrinologist and the "C" word

In March 2007 met with endocrinologist. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but whatever I was expecting - that isn't what happened. This is the first time I heard the measurements of the thyroid nodule in my neck - nearly 4 centimeters, which is evidently very large for thryoid nodules. Met with the physician's assistant first and she broke the news that the doctor would possibly recommend surgical removal rather than continued monitoring through biopsies, which is quite frankly what I was expecting. I wound up meeting with doctor for a period longer than I've met with any other doctor in my life and I truly appreciated all the time he spent with me answering all my questions. He did recommend I have the nodule removed. For I moment I thought he would perform the surgery, but he explained that an ear, nose and throat surgeon actually performs the surgery. I suppose I should have known this, but I'm not sure my thought was exactly logical at the moment and I'm not in the medical field. He also explained that these types of masses are extremely slow-growing and that this had likely been growing inside me for the past 15 to 20 years - which I found both interesting and a little creepy at the same time. Today was also the first time I heard the possibility of the "C" (Cancer) word. Definitely was not expecting to hear that nasty little word today. I like to think I'm reasonably well informed, but in my entire life I've never, and I mean never, heard of thyroid cancer and know no one who has had it. I decide today that I will write to Oprah and perhaps she can do a show on this and other health items everyone should know about but don't. The doctor tells me there is a small chance what I have is cancerous. I can't remember the exact percentages he told me but later read about 90% chance my mass is benign. If I do have cancer - I believe there are four types - two of which are highly treatable and the remaining two are more serious. The first two types (will post their names in later entries) are highly treatable and a normal life expectancy is expected - the scenario for the other two types is not so rosy. My doctor believes if I do have cancer, he said it is very likely I would have the two types that are treatable because of the way my nodule presented. Left doctor's office feeling overwhelmed - was very late in day and did not go back to work.

This May Feel Cold ... the Ultrasound

In January 2007 went for the ultrasound. This ultrasound was not different from any other ultrasound I've had in my life. Results were sent to my family physician. She called and said there were several masses found and she recommended I see an endocrinologist. She gave me a couple of recommendations within a certain group. After checking health insurance to make sure this new doctor in group, made an appointment - turns out the earliest I can get in is March, 2007. At this point, I've told no one but my husband and my boss at work.

The Beginning

In December 2006 went for my annual check-up with our family physician. Even though the appointment was in mid-winter something told me to wear a low-cut t-shirt type top, which I did. My doctor noticed a lump on the bottom of my throat and after feeling the area recommended I go for an ultra-sound to check it out. I was somewhat surprised as was simply expecting the usual "You're fine - nothing new" comment. At this point, I'm not even sure the thyroid was mentioned as I simply had a possible unidentified mass in my neck.