Hashimoto!! Gesundheit

Today was yet another doctor’s appointment. This time it was with my new endocrinologist. Well, fairly new. This was my second appointment with her.

The reason I need an endocrinologist is because I have half a thyroid. When Todd and I had been married two years (I was 24) I saw the gynecologist for my annual checkup and he noticed a lump in my throat. (This is the part where people always say, “didn’t you tell him he was looking at the wrong end?”) He mentioned a few things it could be, but the word that stuck out was “cancer”.

Todd’s parents were in town at the time because his grandfather had just passed away. Of cancer. His grandmother was dying. Of cancer. When the doctor mentioned the possibility of cancer it was all I heard. He set me up for some tests to determine whether the growth was benign or malignant.

I drove back to my house only to find Todd and his parents were at his grandparents’ house with the rest of the family. I tried to call him, but the line was busy. So I called my mom. My parents still lived in California at the time and were visiting my sister and her family in Oregon. I called my sister’s house and talked to my nephew when he answered the phone like there was nothing wrong. But as soon as I heard my mom’s voice I broke down. I couldn’t talk.

She asked several questions to which I managed a sobbing “no” in reply. Had Betty died, did something happen to Todd, were Todd and I in a fight. Finally I took a deep breath and told her I had a growth on my thyroid and the doctor mentioned it may be cancer.

Being the good mom she is my nerves were calmed in no time. So I hung up and tried calling out to the grandparents’ house again. This time I made it through and told Todd what the doctor had said. The family was so immersed in cancer at the time that it made him physically ill.

His mother called my doctor to get more information. Poor guy. He felt horrible when he heard what all we were going through at the time and how the mention of cancer – however remote the possibility – had frazzled me.

So began the myriad of tests to determine whether it was a benign goiter or a malignancy or something else. Each test came back inconclusive which meant another test and then another. I think I had at least four different tests. The morning we were getting ready for the last of them my father-in-law called to let us know his mother had passed away. I believe it was 11 days after her husband.

It was finally decided that I needed to have the right side of my thyroid removed and a biopsy performed. Thankfully the results were negative. It was just a plain old, run of the mill goiter.

For years I didn’t have to take any medicine as the left side seemed to function just fine. Then one day while sitting at the counter at my folks’ house (they had since moved to Arkansas) my mom commented on my swollen neck. I hadn’t even noticed, but after she said that I realized I did have a bump to the left of center where my thyroid is.

My family quack doctor at that time said I’d have to have the other half removed without even running any tests and scheduled me to meet with a surgeon. Todd called my gynecologist and told him what was going on and he was not happy with my doctor. He sent me to his surgeon who ran some blood work and performed a sonogram. He decided I didn’t need surgery, I needed an endocrinologist.

So we were referred to the Nutty Professor – the best endocrinologist to ever have walked the face of the earth (though I know Radioactive Girl will disagree with me). He diagnosed me with Hashimoto’s Syndrome. My thyroid levels were all within normal limits, but my half a thyroid was working so hard to keep it that way it had become swollen. So now I take synthetic thyroid to keep my levels up without taxing the left side.

In addition to the Hashimoto’s Syndrome I also have nodules, the largest of which is 1 cm. Some of them have a bit of calcification, but they’ve been that way for the last ten years. Still, given my history and the fact that breast cancer can spread to the thyroid, the doctor and I decided it would be a good idea to have a biopsy.

Is it just me, or does the thought of somebody jabbing a long needle into my neck sound icky?

Every time I have my thyroid levels checked I wish against wish and hope against hope they will be low, giving me a great excuse for not losing weight. Never, ever, ever has my wish or hope been granted. In an effort to combat my fatigue, however, she did increase my medication up to the next dosage today. Now I have visions of having all kinds of energy, living in a perfectly clean house, losing weight and realizing my dream of looking great in my swimsuit this coming summer.


  1. beans on March 11, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    uh, sounds yucky-the whole needle in the neck thing-yeah, makes me sort of want to vomit.I am glad you found a good endocrine doc. I know when they diagnosed me with PCOS, I was hoping it was Hashimoto’s, but it wasn’t. And just like you though, I keep hoping for some magical answer to the excessive fluff and stuff I carry around. I know the PCOS has a large part to do with it . . .Tomorrow when I am exercising/praying/reading all at the same time I will be sure to pray that you reach your dream of increased energy, clean house, weight loss, and fabulous swim suit season!

  2. Lynilu on March 11, 2008 at 10:08 pm

    Yeah, what Beans Said … whatever makes you happy will be on my wish list for you!! Enough is enough!

  3. His Girl on March 11, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    geesh. quite a story! here’s to health, happiness, & great metabolism!*cheers!*

  4. Drewpy Drew on March 12, 2008 at 1:06 am

    OK, I have two observationsOne – Wow, you sure used a lot of big words in that post.Two – It’s a little scary that you have a new endocrinologist. That indicates that you have used up at least one and have needed one for a long time. Good on you for being a survivor. That takes guts and heart.Peace out 🙂

  5. Gretchen on March 12, 2008 at 1:12 am

    Re the dreaming: Go big or go home, I always say. :)Re: the needle…icky, indeed. But maybe you could picture your neck like a voodoo doll (except that you’re Christian and all) of someone you don’t really like…Like the person who just cut you off in traffic.I should go now. Really. (slinks away…hoping someone will understand my feeble mind)xxxooogretchen

  6. Rosie on March 12, 2008 at 1:31 am

    Did you see me? In the dream? I was having the very same one!

  7. Becky on March 12, 2008 at 1:34 am

    Needles, oy! Especially big long ones. (For some reason, as I type this I’m once again in Pa Grape voice…it sounds hilarious that way, btw. Well, to me anyway. Ahem, maybe I’ll just slink away with Gretchen…)But first I’ve got to say that the whole super-metabolism side effect sounds pretty good!

  8. radioactive girl on March 12, 2008 at 9:46 am

    If you need to talk about the biopsy, let me know. I know all about that. I just coached a friend who had one and she said it was exactly as I said it would be…it doesn’t hurt that she had the same doctor as me and he told the EXACT same jokes. And here I thought I was special to him!I had forgotten that you had half your thyroid removed before! Did you not have a biopsy before that? The biospy was not as bad as I expected it to be, but I was surprised how sore it was when I swallowed for about a week after still. The biggest thing is that you should take tylenol after the biopsy. No one told me, so I told my friend and she said she isn’t sore at all like I was. I am half asleep, so if this comment makes no sense, tell me to go drink some coffee or something. But if you need anything…support, someone to complain to, whatever, let me know. I think you have my email address, right?And I guess our endocrinologists can share the title of best in the world since I like you so much!

  9. Grim Reality Girl on March 12, 2008 at 11:16 am

    Wow, sorry you are going through all of this — it must have been horrible when it started. It is a worse scare when you really know what cancer looks like. I’m saying prayers for you.Also — I must thank you. I thought I was the only person out there that hoped and prayed for the under active thyroid excuse. You made me feel better today and I thank you! 🙂

  10. Tanya on March 12, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    So after people poke your throat does that mean you get to eat ice cream the rest of the day or week while you recover? If that is the case, I volunteer to take that needle for you.

  11. The Daily "B" on March 12, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    Hashimoto sounds like some really good sushi.. yum! lolWhat have you not been through Jenster? =)

  12. Eileen on March 12, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    A friend of mine has Hashimoto, and it is so important that you stay on top of it. Thyroid issues can really cause so many problems, and you don’t need any more of those. Keep us posted, and take care of yourself. Glad you are following up. I’ll be thinking of you.XOXOXO

  13. Monnik on March 12, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    I was thinking that too, ‘the daily b’… sounds like sushi!hope the needle in the neck goes well. sounds like it’s another good excuse to enjoy a big ole starbucks and read a good book in the waiting room. the needle part should be fast and easy. the reading and coffee sipping part will last much longer. right?

  14. CindyS on March 12, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    Take a blindfold. And try not to laugh when they say ‘and now just a tiny prick’. I have had hope my thyroid wasn’t doing it’s job weight wise but my doc gave me the all clear on the health. Bad Cindy.In all honesty, I want my thyroid to always do whatever it’s doing cause I’ve heard too much about what happens when it’s not.Sending prayers your way.Cindys

  15. Sing4joy on March 12, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    No Neck Needles! Bathing suits are over-rated. Parkas – now those are HOT!

  16. KT on March 13, 2008 at 8:12 am

    Hi Jen, just stopping by to see how you were doing. I hope your appt went well. Katie

  17. susan on March 13, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    Have have to giggle at the thought of you worrying about a silly needle after all you’ve been through already. You are one tough chica

  18. Jen on March 13, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    yes – the thought of a needle in the neck freaks me out! Don’t blame you for being less than thrilled about that in the least!

  19. Shauna on March 13, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    You know, as I was reading this I was just amazed. I thought, “Well, there’s the reason right there why Jen is so beautiful and wonderful. She’s been refined by fire.” Dear friend, you have had some challenges to wade through in this life. You have allowed them to make you pure gold. You are a treasure and I count myself among the (many) blessed to call you ‘friend’. And I agree with S4J. Parkas all the way, baby!! Hoorah!

  20. Sherry ~ Cherie ~ ms. herbes de provence on March 14, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    Glad you have such a good endo….a needle in the neck sounds revolting..hopefully it is in and out quickly!! As for renewed energy — here’s hoping!!!! I love your optimistic attitude…you exude a positive vibe!!!

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