Growing up, going to the doctor for our annual physical exam was taken seriously in my family. Besides having high cholesterol, I was a healthy kid. As I got older, I remember my doctor making comments about how my neck looked a little thick. It seemed to change a bit in size and looked puffy in the front at times. Dr. Malinow always checked my thyroid levels as part of the lab work during my physicals and it always came back normal. But every year when I went back, Dr. Malinow made sure my thyroid levels were added to the lab work. He used to say that he would rather be safe than sorry.
In 1999, Even though the lab work came back normal, Dr. Malinow went with his intuition once again. But this time he sent me for a thyroid sonogram. When the results came back, there was a very small nodule on my thyroid. Thyroid Nodule 1999 It is very common to have nodules in the thyroid and based on the shape and what he could see there was no need to do anything more than watch it. So every few years, Dr. Malinow sent me back for a thyroid sonogram “just to be safe.” Each time it came back and the nodule was the same size and shape.
In 2007 after the thyroid sonogram results came back Dr. Malinow noticed a change in the shape of the nodule. It was probably nothing, but he wanted to be “safe instead of sorry” and recommended that I go see an Endocrinologist. I took his advice and didn’t think anything of it.
It took about three months before the Endrocrinologist has an appointment available. So I went on living my life and totally forgot about the nodule. It wasn’t until a few months later when I was in the office of my new Endocrinologist, Dr. Madoff that I gave it any thought.
Dr. Madoff looked over the thyroid sonogram and compared the notes to the notes from the previous years. Then he said that he wanted me to go have a fine needle aspiration biopsy. I thought, “What? Did he just say BIOPSY?!!” I must have looked like a deer frozen by headlights. Time slowed down. He continued talking but I couldn’t hear anything. I just saw his lips moving. I kept thinking, “Biopsy goes with CANCER!!! Do I have cancer?!!! What is going on here? Did he say biopsy?” Then I took a deep breath.
I calmed down enough to ask him for more information about the nodule and the biopsy procedure. He assured me that 95% of all nodules are non-malignant. That made me feel better. But deep down in my gut, I knew that I was going to be in the 5% category. Call it thyroid intuition, but I knew that it was cancer. This was one thing that I did not want to be right about at all.