Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thyroid Biopsy Update

In the weeks while I waited for my biopsy, I did what many people do - I read about other people's biopsy and thyroid treatment experiences on the Internet.  After reading several people's stories, I was pretty nervous!  I had to stop reading after a while because it wasn't helping; it was actually making me feel worse about my upcoming tests and surgery.  Jim reminded me that most people who post their stories on the Internet have bad experiences or have crazy stories to tell, and that the people with normal experiences don't usually share them because they aren't very interesting.  I am happy to say that my biopsy experience was quite boring and normal, but I want to share it anyway, because I thought it might be helpful to share a "good" biopsy experience.
My biopsy was scheduled for 9:30 last Wednesday morning, but I was supposed to be at the radiology department of the hospital by 9:00.  After I checked in, the receptionist led me right back to a changing room, and Jim got settled in the waiting room.  The staff had me change out of my shirt and put on a gown over the rest of my clothes - mainly because of the solution they were going to use to clean my neck.  They didn't want my shirt to be stained.  I waited in the changing room waiting room until 9:30, and then the technician came to get me.  Before she walked me back, she popped out to the waiting room to let Jim know that they were going to be starting my test and that I should be done in about an hour.  We thought that was a thoughtful touch.
As we walked back to the ultrasound room, the technician explained the biopsy procedure to me and told me that she had had four thyroid biopsies herself and that they weren't too bad.  I was having an ultra-sound guided fine needle aspiration, where my neck would be numbed, and then a doctor would take six tissue samples, using thin little needles to collect the samples.  They used ultrasound equipment so they could see exactly what they were doing.  When we got into the ultrasound room, I lay down on a bed and had an ultrasound done on my neck.  Once that was done, the technician covered me with a warm blanket (the BEST thing about being in the hospital) and went to get the nurse and the physician's assistant who was going to be doing my biopsy.  The PA came in first and walked me through the procedure again, and then a nurse came in to ask a few health questions and take my blood pressure.
The biopsy itself was pretty quick and easy - much better that I was expecting it to be!  They cleaned and draped my neck before they began to numb it.  The PA had told me that the numbing was the only pain I should feel during the procedure, and she told me that it would be a pinch and a burn and that I might also feel pain in my left ear.  I felt the pinch, but it never really burned, and I didn't feel anything in my ear.  Before I knew it, she had started collecting tissue samples.  The little needles did not hurt at all.  It felt like the PA was gently rubbing her finger back and forth on my neck.  The biopsy only took about 10 minutes.
After the biopsy, the PA put a band-aid on my neck, and the ultrasound tech gave me an ice pack and some orange juice.  The nurse came back in and took my blood pressure again and went through a few instructions with me.  She told me to relax for the rest of the day and to take Tylenol for any pain.  I was also told not to lift more that 10 pounds for the next 24 hours.  She walked me back to the changing room, and I was done! I noticed in the changing room mirror that my neck was already swollen in the biopsy site (it looked like I had swallowed a golf ball), and it was a bit stiff and sore, but really not too bad.  I changed clothes and went out to meet Jim.
Some very kind friends helped with our children that morning.  One friend took Drew to school that morning and picked him up afterwards.  She called on her way home and asked if she could keep him for lunch and for a while that afternoon too.  He had a great time playing with his buddies, and it gave me some time to relax and rest.  Another friend kept Maddie for us, and it was wonderful to know that she was being well-cared for, and it was nice that we didn't have to take her to the hospital with us.
Jim took the whole day off, which was so helpful, especially with my lifting restrictions that day.  Maddie is well over 10 pounds now, so he did all the changing and lifting for the rest of the day.  He also got me a Diet Coke with vanilla from Sonic - my FAVORITE - which made my afternoon a little nicer.  
My neck was kind of sore and swollen, and it did bruise up a little. I had two very small round bruises, which have just about faded away completely now, a week later.  I used my frozen rice pack on my neck a few times that first day, and I took some Tylenol.  By the next day, I felt pretty good, and by the third day, I felt back to normal. 
After a week of waiting for results, I drove out to the hospital yesterday, where I was able to get a copy of my biopsy results.  We were so thankful to find out that my thyroid nodule is benign and that I do not have cancer!  What a wonderful answer to prayer!  I will still be having surgery at some time in the coming months, so I would appreciate your continued prayers!
I know that this post was long and kind of medical, so I have a few pictures to share.
Drew had moved on from Thomas, but after his afternoon with his friends the day of my biopsy, he is back to playing with his trains again (I am SO happy - I was missing Thomas)!  Maddie likes to go into Drew's room and play with the trains too.
Our friends' adoption agency did a bowling fundraiser on Saturday, and Drew and Jim bowled.  Maddie and I went along to watch.  Here's Maddie with our friend, Kevin.
The bowlers selecting their balls.
The balls are still a bit heavy for Drew.  Wii bowling is much easier for him.
Cheering for the other bowlers.
Another turn.
Drew had lots of fun with his friends.
I will be back with another post tomorrow to announce the winner of the Tiny Prints giveaway.  There is still time to enter!


becka said...

We are very thankful for the good test results! Love the pictures. :)

Stephen & Rebecca said...

Thank you for sharing your experience, Megan. I had just finished spending some time in online "research" (a.k.a. making myself nervous) on this very topic when I saw your post. I'm thankful to hear of your good results.