January 2019, went in for my commercial drivers license physical. Company doc says “Hey, your thyroid is too big on the right side, don’t worry, but go get that checked out, just in case.” At the end of the physical doc says “I wasn’t kidding, don’t worry, but you really need to get that checked out, just in case.”
It’s a good thing, that as a rule, I don’t worry much. Otherwise the doc’s double insistence might have really worried me.
So off to my regular doctor, and blood tests, and an otolaryngologist, and an ultrasound, and a needle biopsy, and a manual pathology of the biopsy, and a genetic pathology of the biopsy and … woo hoo! 97% sure there was no cancer. Doc says “Nothing in medicine is ever 100% definitive. Don’t worry, but let’s do this all again next year”
Even with the good news I knew it was time to learn something about cancer, and lumps in one’s throat, and probably to clean up my act a bit. One of the videos I found useful is here:
What William Li is advocating fits well with what most docs and such have been advocating for a long time, cut out the sugars, eat better food, and eat things that actually look like food.
Time for me to get those recommended vitamins and minerals so I changed and biased my diet more toward veggies, fruit, and nuts to get the nutrients that might really help.
So much for those slices of banana creme pie and pizza I was taking in my lunch.
Well, I can’t say that the diet staved off cancer, but to be fair, in my case I started this diet much too late in life to really expect that. Eating better food (though not less) really has improved the way I feel. Almost no acid reflux anymore, except when I splurge on something really sugary, and it’s helped helped control my weight, and my gut feels better and…
Eating well is a win.
So back to testing again this spring. Blood work is normal, ultrasound though reveals that the problem lump had grown by 10%. On learning that it became absolutely obvious that regardless of what might be growing in me, that rate of growth was not going to be a sustainable situation. Time for the right half of my thyroid to come out.
That removal operation happened in June, a complete success. At my first checkup after the operation the doc held up his fist, to demonstrate the size of the half thyroid with the growth. (When I use that visual talking to the people I bump into in life, it always brings an interesting reaction.)
At this point I do want to say that, my neck feels different, not better, not worse. The extra (now missing) mass in my neck had moved my esophagus and trachea about an inch off center. My muscles when I swallow and such are having to adjust to a different geometry.
The removed bits were sent off to the lab, put through a meat slicer, dyed with special chemicals, stuffed under a microscope, and analyzed by smart people.
Oncocytic (Hurthle cell) carcinoma, minimally invasive. Margins of resection: Involved by carcinoma (posterior aspect, inferior half). Pathologic stage (AJCC 8th Edition): pT3a.
The troubling bits in that diagnosis are not in the fancy words, it’s buried in the plain ordinary english.
The margins are involved. That means it may have escaped the confines of the right lobe of my thyroid.
My treatment isn’t done.
But hey, don’t worry… 😉