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Old 11-17-2010, 12:07 PM   #1
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Wife had FNA today on thyroid nodule.. Im confused

Hi all.... I have read through some of the stories and i am feeling better but i do have some doubt about what the future will hold. I just need a vent and hopefully some reassurance from you kind folks on what to expect or just ideas on coping.

My wife's thyroid has been under scrutiny lately with items that suggest a sort of cancer. I am going out of my mind and i dont know what to do. Apologies if this seems long..

Here's some background...

She has had issues with GI for the past few years.. Doc's thinking she may be Celiac, but no tests have confirmed despite having the symptoms that suggest it.

Anyways, she had a full metabolic panel done a couple months ago following the birth of our recent boy back in May 2010. The results all seemed normal (For her) including TSH and other thyroid related levels.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. She had a visit with our family doc and they were discussing another issue but he felt her neck checking for swollen glands discovered a sizable lump on the left side of her thyroid. They made arrangements to have this examined by a specialist.

She had the specialist take a look and they performed an ultrasound. There was some concern over the findings as the nodule appeared larger (13mm/1.3cm) and potentially a mixed solid and liquid nodule. It was explained liquid filled nodules are less concerning. So we're hoping that it was just liquid and the ultrasound was a little "off".

A follow up appt was today for a needle biopsy (FNA??). I had to work from home and watch my sick boys so she had to go alone. I was going crazy on what they would find.
Finally, i heard her drive up... she come through the door.. She had huge tears in her eyes... My heart sank...

Apparently based on what the findings were, they believe it is a pure solid nodule and they wont have the results back until this upcoming Tuesday.

The doc said there is a definite concern that it could be cancerous. They will await Tuesdays results and schedule to remove her thyroid pending result findings.

I am being so strong around her, but i am torn up in side. I want to talk about it with her, but i want to avoid it at the same time. I know she is frightened as much as I am.

She is only 28.. We have 3 beautiful boys (10, 3 and 6months).. We just added a family member the other day, Chewy our 6 wk old Blue Heeler.

We first met in High School.. We have been together over 10 years and married for 6 years. We promised each other that in our 70's we'll be sitting on the porch together with our kids and grand kids. I can't fathom something to get in the way of those plans.

Maybe im over re-acting, but I just dont know what to do.

If you're still reading this, thank you!

James

 
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Old 11-17-2010, 09:01 PM   #2
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Re: Wife had FNA today on thyroid nodule.. Im confused

James
Please do not panic. I think everyone here can relate to what your wife is going through. After the initial shock, you start adjusting and find ways of coping.
First of all, you don't know for sure if it is cancer, so wait until the biopsy results.
If it turns out to be cancer, it's not the end of the world. I had the surgery for total removal of the thyroid last June and I am doing just fine. One day in the hospital and then back home. It's not the type of cancer where you need chemo or radiation. Your wife won't lose her hair and the prognosis is excellent. It sounds like they caught it early, since she did not have any symptoms.
Be strong for her. I remember my husband going through the same thing. Sometimes I think it was harder on him than on me.

If it turns out to be cancer, make sure you find a good surgeon with a lot of experience with thyroid surgeries. Hospital affiliated with a university are usually pretty good.

You will get through this. Enjoy your 3 little boys and keep posting on this board. You will get a lot of information on thyroid cancer. The more I learned, the less scared I was.
A big hug for you.
Y.

 
Old 11-23-2010, 06:30 PM   #3
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Re: Wife had FNA today on thyroid nodule.. Im confused

Thank you so much for your post and the reassurance Yannick!

Today my wife made it in to the docs to get the results for the FNA last week and im now going crazy.

Based on the findings, unfortunately she is diagnosed with stage 1 papillary thyroid cancer. I was unable to attend the appt with her, but a friend was able to make it with her. It was good that she did so she could have support.

I wish it was me that had gone with instead, so im kicking myself. Apparently the doctor said it is in its very early stage and they have already scheduled her to have surgury on 12/06/2010.

The question is now that do we want to cut off the lobe with the nodule and leave the other half of the thyroid with RAI and risking reoccurance and spreading or remove the thyroid completely.

I read many things that say that it grows slow, and not as much of a worry as other cancers, but i have read reports of others that have had thyroid cancer mestasize (spelled right?) to lungs, spine, breast, etc..what is the possibility of this spreading since it is early?

I am trying to stay up beat for her and the kids, but in my guts i feel awful and fearful of what is to come.

Is it possible to get rid of this thing for good and for my wife to live a long healthy life post-op?

Thank you

 
Old 11-28-2010, 08:43 PM   #4
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Re: Wife had FNA today on thyroid nodule.. Im confused

Sorry about the cancer diagnosis but as I said before, it's not the end of the world.
My doctor recommended removal of both lobes, even though I had cancer in only one lobe. My surgeon works at a teaching university medical center and he does nothing but thyroid and parathyroid surgeries. So, I went with the full removal of the thyroid. Surgery was easy for me. I did not get sick, was able to eat easily and did not lose my voice. The RAI treatment (radio active iodine treatment) was recommended 6 weeks post surgery, to make sure all cancer cells have been killed. Again, this was not bad at all but you do have to be careful to be isolated from your family for a few days.
I am 6 months post surgery and I take thyroid medication every day (one pill). I am doing great and so will you wife. Be as supportive as you can. Remember that if she sees you stressing out, it will make her feel worse. So, be strong and provide her with all your support and love.
Keep in touch, OK? It's good that she can get her surgery done so soon. I had to wait a month and it was really hard.
Hugs
Y.

 
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Old 12-03-2010, 07:40 AM   #5
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Re: Wife had FNA today on thyroid nodule.. Im confused

Her surgery is a go for noon on Monday (12/06/10). I attended a pre-op appt with her yesterday and this doc seems confident in his abilities. We also ran into others patients have had surgery done by him and we haven't heard a single complaint.

She opted for a total thyroidectomy despite the doc leaning more towards just removing the one side.

We are hopeful that we can get this thyroid out, clean up any residuals with the RAI, maintain a steady balance with the meds and put this behind us.

Nobody likes the "C" word, but this has been an experience for my wife an I - well, our whole family really. The only thing to do is face it head-on with confidence.

Thank you Yannick for your kind words and sharing your experience with us.

- J

 
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Old 12-03-2010, 12:33 PM   #6
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Re: Wife had FNA today on thyroid nodule.. Im confused

It sounds like you have a good doctor. It takes a while to adjust to the diagnosis of cancer but we eventually accept it and move forward with the treatment, which in the case of thyroid cancer is not as bad as some other types of cancer. My surgeon said that he has seen so many people coming back for removal of the other half of the thyroid that he recommended a full TT.
I will be thinking about you on Monday. Let us know how it goes. Make sure you have a list of questions to ask the doc. after the surgery. For example: did he remove any lymph nodes and when will you get the results of the final biopsy? Will he put your wife on thyroid med. right away?
Be strong and positive for your wife. It helped me a lot that my husband was not falling apart.
Keep in touch. I wish your wife a speedy recovery and excellent results.
Y.

 
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mtnman (01-23-2011)
Old 01-23-2011, 12:26 AM   #7
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Re: Wife had FNA today on thyroid nodule.. Im confused

Hi
Apologies for not posting an update until now. Just so much has been going on. Hope everyone has had a great New Years!
So, my wife had her surgery as scheduled. She is doing well and the incision is healing very nicely. But... Despite our request, the doc only performed a partial thyroidectomy and heres why:

Immediately after removal, he had a pathologist biopsy the thyroid lobe and the path found the tissue to be negative of any cancer cells. The Dr. was confused since the initial FNA biopsy results were so specific so he called on another pathologist to test the tissue. Again, found to be negative for cancer cells.

He was ready to remove the remaining lobe but with the findings of 2 seperate pathologist showing negative, and the appearance of the remaining lobe looking *clean*, he felt compelled to leave the remaining lobe in as the FNA could have been a false-positive.

The removed lobe was sent to another lab for thorough testing. A few days later we received the results of the lab in a followup appt with the doc and the results were positive for a small amount of papillary. This is very concerning as we would have rather had the other lobe removed.

So, the doc said our options are to remove the other lobe, or just wait monitor. If it comes back, then remove it. He said that *if* it ever returned, it would be years down the road, and then we could work to resolve it then.

Overall, we were a bit relieved that it was only papillary.

But, here's the kicker.... On a second followup a month later, we asked for a printed copy of the lab findings.

I dont have the copy in front of me, but they were something along the lines of "positive papillary carcinoma with follicular casing". I will have to get the results and update, but this is pretty much what it said.

Based on what the report mentioning follicular might be involved, my wife has been stressing ever since. We have not asked the doctor to clarify this, but thought that if it was concerning, he would have opted to be more proactive and have the other lobe removed immediately. Instead, he just said "See you next year for your thyroid checkup*.

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago. My wife felt a strange lump under her right breast about the 4 o' clock position. She said she could feel it because it was painful. She saw her OB to have it checked out and they said that it was suspicious so they scheduled her an appointment at the hospital for this upcoming Wednesday (Jan 24) to have a mammogram and biopsy performed. They said that if it is found to be positive, they will perform a surgury right there immediately to remove whatever it is or possibly a mastecomy if its neccessary.

So, going from bad to worse, my wife is in shambles. I am only hoping it is a blocked milk duct or mastitis, or fibromitosis.. something benign.

My question is, can there be any link between thyroid cancer and breast cancer?

Thanks!

I promise to update more often.

-J

Last edited by mtnman; 01-23-2011 at 12:30 AM.

 
Old 01-23-2011, 12:16 PM   #8
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Re: Wife had FNA today on thyroid nodule.. Im confused

So sorry your wife and you have to go through all this. I don't really believe there is a connection between breast cancer and thyroid. My friend had a questionable mammogram a few months ago and they did a biopsy. Turned out that it was just microcalcifications. I hope it's the same for your wife.

Regarding thyroid surgery, I had one lobe removed first. My doc thought it was clean. However, a pathology report one week later showed a follicular variant of papillary cancer. I had to go back the following week for removal of the other lobe, which turned out to be cancer free. I was not really given a choice to wait. Then RAI 6 weeks later.
The second surgery went well, similar to the first one.

Maybe you could get a second opinion from another surgeon. That's what I would do.
Let us know what happens. I wish you the best results for the breast mammogram. BENIGN is such a wonderful word.
Y.

 
Old 01-23-2011, 12:30 PM   #9
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Re: Wife had FNA today on thyroid nodule.. Im confused

OMG, I just read again what you wrote:

They said that if it is found to be positive, they will perform a surgury right there immediately to remove whatever it is or possibly a mastecomy if its neccessary.


I would never agree to have the surgery immediately after the biopsy. It does not make sense. IF the biopsy showed cancer, then your wife and the surgeon should sit down and discuss exactly what they plan to do. There are MANY options nowadays and a mastectomy is not always the way to go.
Good luck to you. Hopefully, it will just be a benign lump. Please let us know the results. Your wife is lucky to have such a caring husband.
Y

 
Old 01-26-2011, 09:39 AM   #10
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Re: Wife had FNA today on thyroid nodule.. Im confused

Thanks for everything, Yannick.
I'm now in the waiting room while my wife is getting ultrasounds / tests done. I have to say that stress is at its peak right now and there wasn't much sleep last night for either of us.

So here's to positive results! And yes, I have to agree 100% that benign is a great word. That's what we're shooting for today.

Thanks!
-j

 
Old 01-26-2011, 09:57 AM   #11
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Re: Wife had FNA today on thyroid nodule.. Im confused

mntman
I am thinking about you and your wife. Please let me know what the results are.
Y.

 
Old 01-26-2011, 02:41 PM   #12
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Re: Wife had FNA today on thyroid nodule.. Im confused

Not a quick day at the hospital. But the news was OK.

She had an ultrasound and another scan done. Apparently they don't do mammograms if your under the age of 30.

Anyways, she it turns out to be an abnormally bunching of fat tissue. There is a name for it but my wife forgot it by the time she left the exam room and made it to the waiting room There were two physicians that looked at the ultrasounds.

While it is not cancerous, they say that this non-typical bunching is suspicious and a red flag. It is apparently common, but I wish I knew the name of it.

They told her that there could be one of 3 outcomes to this... The fat tissue could dissolve and go away or it could stay just the way it is or worst of all, actually progress into a form of carcinoma. So they say that she'll need to keep it monitored from now on.

Thanks Yannick for the concern and support you have provided. These have been some scary, stressful times for us. It is great to have a place to turn to for support.

Thanks again!

-mtnman

 
Old 01-26-2011, 03:06 PM   #13
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Re: Wife had FNA today on thyroid nodule.. Im confused

mntman
This is actually pretty good news. If they were very concerned about cancerous cells, they would have ordered a core biopsy. They did not, so I see that in a positive light. Your wife will be carefully monitored and she'll be just fine. Enjoy your evening with her. Difficult times like this one can make you focus on what's good in your life and strengthen your relationship.
Y.

 
Old 01-26-2011, 04:37 PM   #14
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Re: Wife had FNA today on thyroid nodule.. Im confused

Hi James,

When one hears the possibility of cancer, they automatically think it is a death sentence. Let's just say cancer is a word, like any other word. I was diagnosed with stage 4 papilliary thyroid cancer in 2009, and I will be 49 this year (over the danger age). Research shows that under age 40/45, the cure rate is close to 100%. So don't panic and tell your wife not to panic, you dont even know if it is cancer as yet. Try not to worry about something that you don't know. You will just be wasting your time. I did a tremendous amount of research when I was diagnosed, because information makes me more comfortable. Not everyone likes to know what is going on, but I do. Thyroid cancer is one of the most curable cancers, especially in younger patients. Often times, if there is no metastasis, (lymph nodes or outside the thyroid) only the thyroidectomy is needed or they will request that you do Radiodine (radioactive iodine) therapy to ablate any remaining thyroid tissue or tumors that they could not get to. The FNA (Fine Needle Aspiration-Biopsy) is a good place for the doctor to start, but it can be difficult for them to tell you much from that. So in the meantime, until you hear from the doctors, please don't start getting scared. There is quite a bit more diagnostic measure that they will do before they are sure or tell you your next step. There is quite a bit of information out there for you to read and have questions ready for your doctor. Also, it can be just a nodule and no cancer

jeanniebj

 
Old 01-30-2011, 06:41 AM   #15
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Re: Wife had FNA today on thyroid nodule.. Im confused

I would like to Add some info about FNA and being told that they are inconclusive or not to worrry and just moniter. In 2008 I had a FNA for thyroid nodules and it was quite painful and I was very scared. The results came back inconclusive and Thank God I had an aggressive Dr that didnt take the wait and watch approach. He said the only way to really know if there was cancer was to do a thyroidectomy and have the biopsy done while I was under which is what was done. Well it did turn out to be cancer and I thank God for that Dr every day. I have been fine now after treatment and It makes my blood boil when I hear Drs have said to just moniter . Please take into consideration to get a second opinion and reference my situation. If I had just monitered I may not be here or may have had a different outcome. I am so against FNA for diagnosis!

Last edited by REE77; 01-30-2011 at 06:42 AM.

 
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