Posted by: jinniver | January 6, 2010

Thrown a curve ball

The only video game system in this house is a Wii.  I love the fact that it’s such an active system, and we have a great time playing the basic sports games.  Jeffrey’s favorite is boxing, but he has trouble getting anyone to play with him because he moves so fast that an opponent can work him/herself into a lather without getting more than a few punches in.  So we try to focus him on golf, bowling, or baseball.  He’s not a very good batter–his hand/eye coordination needs some work–but he’s a wicked pitcher.  He throws a change-up that will have me swinging several seconds before the ball crosses the plate…but his most impossible pitch to hit is his curve ball.

I’ve been practicing with hitting that curve ball and getting better at it, which is good…because a few days ago life threw me a curve ball of its own.

A couple months ago I noticed a lump on my neck.  Didn’t think much of it at first, mostly because docs have noted several times in the past that I have an unusual thyroid (right before doing a battery of thyroid tests that all came out negative), but it kept getting bigger.  So, after the usual bureaucratic wrangling and wait, I got a visit with an endocrinologist this week.  An unrelated MRI (for my multiple sclerosis) had shown that it was a mass 7 cm long and mostly on the left side of my thyroid.

The endocrinologist recommended a thyroidectomy–complete removal of my thyroid.

I…wasn’t quite expecting that.  I had done some research online, but the impression my reading had given me was that as long as the mass wasn’t affecting thyroid function, it would simply be biopsied and watched if benign.  If it was so big it was affecting breathing or swallowing, it would be removed…but the reading didn’t make clear that removing the mass meant removing at least part of the thyroid.  However, the endocrinologist explained that for a mass this big, there was a good chance of sampling errors (meaning, the biopsy could show benign cells but a different part of the mass could be malignant and be missed).  Also, an ultrasound showed small masses (nodules) forming on the right side of my thyroid as well.

Obviously, removing something as important as a thyroid isn’t something you do on a whim.  But the endocrinologist was quite convincing and firm in his belief that this was the best course…and frankly, I’m not willing to let a mystery 7 cm mass just hang out in my neck.  If removing it means removing the thyroid…well, so be it.  It’s not going to be easy, to say the least, and this isn’t exactly minor surgery.  And, of course, I’ll be on medication for the rest of my life (but that’s actually something that’s fazing me the least because I’m already on medication for the rest of my life).  I’m much more interesting in doing whatever needs to be done to ensure I have a rest of my life.  I’ve got young children to watch grow up and to knit for…and I plan to knit for their children.

I’ve been amusing myself by coming up with silver linings for this cloud.  My first one was that after the biopsy was done (tomorrow), I could tell people I’d fended off a vampire attack, but then I learned from someone who has had her thyroid removed that the biopsy sites are barely visible.  But once my thyroid is removed, because I scar easily I’ll have the basis for a great Halloween costume.  And for when I don’t want to scare people with my slasher victim look, I’ve got a reason to knit more really cute shawlettes (like my Simple Things) with all of that fingering weight yarn I bought that I was wondering what to do with.

Smell the Roses (5)

They should whip up pretty quickly, especially since I’ve learned the last few days that I knit a lot faster when I’m worried. Heck, I’m already up to the bodice of Lexie’s Misty Seacoast jumper…



  1. Now I understand your “ironic” comment on Twitter!

    My mom had a thyroidectomy a few years ago because of a goiter, and it went very smoothly (other than a minor tiff between her sister-in-law and me because I felt I wasn’t kept as up-to-date as I could have been about what was going on half a country away). It was an outpatient procedure, and she was actually hitting the thrift stores a few days later and bowling the next week!

    Her scar is actually JUST barely visible; I know it’s there, and I have to really look for it.

    But know that you’ll be in my thoughts and prayers.


  2. Best of luck and outcome to you.

  3. {{{hugs}}} you know I’m keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. And if you do need anything I can do from NJ let me know.

  4. Sending love and hugs and well-wishes your way. It’s all going to be just fine. Don’t you worry.


  5. If a doofus like me can have a thyroidectomy, you should be fine.

    Hugs to you anyway, cause they’re always appreciated.

  6. All manner of prayers and love coming from Georgia. Penny sends tons of puppy kisses. And ditto on the help thing. 🙂 Whatever we can do, just let us know.

  7. Sending you best wishes for an easy surgery and a quick, comfortable and complete recovery.


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