Friday, February 27, 2009

February 27, 2009 - Something There, All Right

There’s something there, all right.

This morning I go to Ocean Medical Center for my thyroid ultrasound. The test itself is a breeze – I’m in and out of there in less than 10 minutes.

The technician asks me if the doctor told me anything about what she’s supposed to look for. I explain that the PET/CT scan picked up an abnormality on the thyroid, probably some kind of nodule.

Which side is it on?

That, I don’t know.

She commences to scan. I’m lying on my back, looking up at the ceiling, while she squirts a little warm gel at the base of my neck and commences to move the handheld scanning device around.

When she gets to the left side of the thyroid, she finds it. A roughly circular dark area. She shows it to me on the screen. “I can’t say for sure,” she tells me, “but it’s my guess that’s what they’re looking for.” I notice she’s dragging the cursor across that part of the image, doing some measurements.

“How big do you figure it is?

“A little less than a centimeter.”

No surprises, there. They saw it on the PET/CT, and here it is again. I find it hard to understand how the grainy ultrasound picture gives the docs any better resolution than a CT scan, but the ways of radiology are exceeding strange.

I believe this is the very same room I was in when I had my abdominal ultrasound back in the fall of 2005, that started this whole process for me. My feelings today, though, are 100% different. Back then, I was clutching that prescription script from Dr. Cheli that read, “Suspect lymphoma” and anxiously wondering what all this meant. Today, I’m a veteran of a great many tests and scans, most of them much more onerous than this simple procedure.

The vast majority of thyroid nodules, I’ve learned, are benign. So, no sense borrowing trouble.

As Dr. Wendy Harpham reminded me in a comment on my last entry, one small silver lining on the cancer cloud is that you do get scanned all the time, which means there’s a greater chance of picking up any further problems – even unrelated problems – at an early stage.

I should learn more next week. I wonder if another biopsy is in my future, or if they’ll be able to tell from the ultrasound alone what sort of nodule this is....

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