My Personal Thyroid FNAB (biopsy) at a Thyroid Institute Story

So, I cancelled the surgeon's appointment that the P.A.-C. made for me and called this thyroid institute for an appointment. I printed out a travel plan I made by checking Google Maps, which helped me navigate (I don't have GPS) to the thyroid institute. I did fairly well using my crude printed-out map and only took one wrong exit while still managing to make it with time to spare.

At the institute, I checked in with the receptionist and was pleased that I didn't have to wait too long to see the doctor. I then told the doc all about the P.A.-C and his viewpoint that anybody with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis needs to have the thyroid removed and that having a biopsy first was unnecessary because of the pain involved.

This doctor scoffed big time. He said he had never heard such a notion and told me I was smart to not go along with a total thyroidectomy without having a biopsy first. He said there was little to no pain involved with the biopsy procedure. He again praised me for seeking out a second opinion, which, I might add, is almost a necessity when surgery is involved.

Anyway, I had another lab draw to check the TSH level and then went on to have what is called a thyroid elastography test to check the nodule for signs of malignancy, or something to that effect. It is very much the same procedure as the regular thyroid ultrasound with no discomfort except for boredom. They believe that a stiff nodule is a high indicator of cancer while soft nodules were benign. He never said if my cold nodule was soft, but it turned out to be "low suspicion."


Next was the fine-needle biopsy. He was concerned about the size (3.6 mm) and that there were microcalcifications, so that is why I needed the biopsy despite the "low suspicion" finding from the elastography test. I was really nervous about this because of what I had read on the Internet from people who had gone through this procedure. Some said it was very painful, but the majority said there was nothing to it and didn't feel any pain. All I could do was hope I would be one of the majority who didn't feel any pain.

[Note: I have since discovered, thanks mostly to an email I received from someone who has read my blog, that the amount of pain one feels depends on where the nodule being tested is located. If it's on the surface of the thyroid (just under the skin) like mine was, there should be little to no pain. If it's deeper in the thyroid, then you'll need to expect a good amount of discomfort and pain. At least the procedure doesn't take that long.]

So, they numbed the area with lidocaine and a few minutes later, the procedure began: the needle went in and what I felt was pressure. Pain? What pain? I was even allowed to swallow and talk if I felt like it. I swallowed, of course, but I didn't feel like talking. I quietly laid there while the needle went in and rotated around four different times to collect enough tissue. That was what I call a creepy feeling, but not painful.

That was it. Procedure over in less than ten minutes. There really was nothing to it. And the P.A.-C wanted to spare me from horrible pain? I was supposed to have my thyroid removed without even checking for malignancy? Just how much did the guy really know about thyroid problems?

Next time, I'll talk about the test results and what I decide to do about it.
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