Do I get Thyroid Removal Surgery?
November 20, 2011 3:40 PM Subscribe
My girlfriend is confused and bewildered about the possibility of having thyroid removal surgery. Of course there's more to it, so the entire extended explanation is in her words.
posted by Imperfect to Health & Fitness (26 answers total)
For reference, I am a 25yr female in otherwise good health. My mother has had part of her thyroid removed and has been on medication since she was 19.
About 6 months ago (June) I noticed that there was a swollen bump at the base of my neck. After poking at it for about a week, I decided it wasn't going away, so I went to the local clinic. The doctor there poked at it as well, asked me a bunch of questions, and then sent me for an ultrasound and blood test for my thyroid. It took about two weeks to get the appointment, and then another week to get the results back in. My blood test came back completely clean, but there were several swollen nodules on both sides of my thyroid, and it wasn't clear what they were. The clinic doctor set me up with an appointment with a specialist, which took another few weeks.
When I finally got to the specialist, he basically created a file for me, asked me a few questions, and gave me a requisition form for a fine-needle biopsy. I got a call from another medical centre, and they gave me an appointment to get an ultrasound, and then another one to get the actual biopsy done. The biopsy itself was done August 25th (they only did them once a month), and I got another appointment with the specialist around early September. Between the biopsy and appointment, my thyroid was swollen and very painful. I thought I had gotten an infection. I was given antibiotics and was told to take otc painkillers as needed.
Turns out, the biopsy revealed the my thyroid was hemorrhaging, and the advil I was taking was making the problem worse... which was actually causing it to swell more and give me a massive headache. In case, the specialist recommended that part or all of my thyroid be removed.
He sent me to a surgeon who would make the final decision. My appointment was the 15th of November. When I got there, I had some medical students poke at me, and then the surgeon asked me a couple of questions. He strongly recommended that I have surgery. I didn't have to decide there, but I told him I didn't really want surgery. He told me there was a 5-10% risk of cancer, and that the only way to know (after the partially inconclusive biopsy) was to remove it. He gave me a requisition for another ultrasound to have done around April, and told me that if anything changed between the old ultrasound (Aug) and the one I would have then, it should really be removed.
Now, originally I did not want surgery at all, but now I do not know what to do. I certainly do not want potentially unnecessary surgery, but I am worried that my giving it time (to get the ultrasound) will potentially mean cancer that has advanced another 5 months. So I am left with these questions/situations:
-wait until April and maybe find something wrong and have surgery around my birthday?
-call him up now and have surgery in February and possibly be on medication for the rest of my life?
-wait until April, find nothing wrong and wonder about it until the next ultrasound?
-wait until April, find nothing wrong, and never have a problem with it again?