My Personal FNAB (Afirma) Test Results Story

A few weeks after my FNAB, I went to my scheduled follow-up appointment to discuss the test results and what we should do about it. I forgot to mention in my last story that this doctor had the tissue sample sent in to the Afirma Veracyte genetic place (which I later found out that a lot of doctors won't take part of because it isn't accurate in determining malignancy, even the benign findings have been proven to be inaccurate).

Well, the test results came back as indeterminate/suspicious so he, too, scheduled me to talk with a surgeon, which I did that same day because I lived a two hour drive away. I also needed a second biopsy from a swollen lymph gland. Swollen lymph glands can mean thyroid cancer has spread to the lymph glands, which is pretty serious.

Fortunately, it turned out to be benign. I knew it would, too, because I had breathed in smoke from my brother's meat-cooking marathon for three days straight prior to my doctor's visit. Seeing that I'm very allergic to smoke, that is what caused the gland to swell.

Back to seeing a surgeon: what really bugs me about this is that they don't ask if I want to see a surgeon, they just go ahead and schedule it. I know it's probably just a protocol they follow, but it still ticks me off. I guess I need to get over myself a little bit, right? They're just doing their job.

So, I talked to the surgeon who described the procedure and who told me that after I had my thyroid taken out I would be able to breathe much better. Really? I was already able to breathe just fine. I would be able to swallow much easier. Really? I was already able to swallow just fine. I told him I could and he just laughed it off like I was trying to be funny.

Then I drove home. I had a long time to think things over. I had read on a number of websites that the medical profession might be over-diagnosing thyroid cancer, making people go through surgeries that never would have happened if all these new tests hadn't been created to find cancer. This is based on the fact that even if you do have thyroid cancer, the slow growing kind, that some people die never knowing they ever had it. An autopsy finds it.

Therefore, what I have decided to do is take my chances. I don't see a lump on my neck and I can't feel one (the ultrasound found the nodule on the front middle left lobe). The endocrinologist at the institute himself said I was asymptomatic and if he would have just gone by the results of that elastography test, we could do watchful waiting. He decided to go ahead and do the Afirma test, which is unreliable.

A year has passed; my thyroid is smaller and so far, no symptoms. The thyroid elastography test my last doctor took said "low suspicion." I read that that test is reliable enough to trust. That and the fact that some people die (of natural causes/some other illness/old age) without ever knowing they had thyroid cancer.

I don't know why I'm being so stubborn about this, and I hope I won't be sorry. I certainly don't recommend anyone else to be so risk-taking as to disregard what their doctor wants them to do. This is just my own feelings and probably dumb decision about the whole ordeal. If the FNAB had shown malignancy definitely, I would have gone ahead and had my thyroid removed.

This year I am planning on having another thyroid ultrasound to check to see if the nodule has grown and have another FNAB to see what the results are and take it from there. If it's indeterminate again (I do have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis), then I'll try again next year. I just don't want a surgery until the results say "malignancy" for certain.

There you have it. Wish me luck, or call me foolish; I probably deserve it.
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