Saturday, March 12, 2011

March 11, 2011 - Needle to the Neck

Today I go to the Ambulatory Care Center at Jersey Shore University Medical Center for my thyroid biopsy. I have to say, I’ve been pretty nonchalant about the whole deal, figuring that even if there is a malignancy, the nodule is very small. My online research has reassured me that treatment of thyroid cancers is likely to be highly effective.

The one thing that’s given me pause is the thought of sitting there, conscious, while somebody sticks a needle in my neck.

They’ve told me they’ll numb the area – and I’ve had plenty of needles before, with my endless blood work – but this is the neck, and somehow that seems different from the inside of the elbow or even the area by my collarbone where my port is located.

Earlier, when I spoke on the phone with the scheduler from that department of the hospital, I asked if patients reported much pain from the procedure. “Everyone’s pain threshold is different,” she replied, cagily.

Well, isn’t that reassuring?

As it turns out, I’ve got nothing to worry about. Dr. Wahid Girgis, the interventional radiologist, comes into my little cubicle in the waiting area and begins by telling me, “Of all the procedures we do here, this is by far the easiest.”

I ask him if patients report any pain from the procedure, and he replies with a smile, “I haven’t had a complaint yet.”

A remarkably un-cagey response, for a doctor.

Turns out he’s right. They wheel me on a gurney into the interventional radiology room. I eye a hulking machine to my left, that hangs something resembling an overturned drum-head over an operating table, but it turns out they don’t need to use that contraption on me. The only thing Dr. Girgis uses the operating table for is to spread out his gear. A nurse wheels an ultrasound machine on a cart over to my gurney, and they get busy right there.

Off to one side is a “cytologist,” with her own equipment-filled cart. I ask the nurse what a cytologist is, and she says, “a cell specialist.” Turns out her job is to take a look at the tissue sample and make sure it’s got enough thyroid-nodule cells in it to send off to the lab, before they send me packing.

It’s all over in less than 5 minutes. I honestly say I can’t feel any pain, just a little pressure.

A band-aid on my neck, and I’m good to go.

Results are supposed to be here by Tuesday

More waiting. But, what else is new?


Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

Hoping you hear the word "benign" on Tuesday. Charlene/Harvey

Daniella L. Cundiff said...

I came upon your blog while researching thyroid information... I hope you are doing ok... I want you to know that I will pray for you... God Bless you Brother! Daniella (