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LovesTeaching 09-02-2004 05:51 PM

Fine Needle Aspiration - Has anyone had this done?
Hi. I'm new to the thyroid board. I'm 38 and have hypothyroidism. I've been on Synthroid for about 15 years.

I received a phone call from my endocrinologist's office today. The nurse told me that my doctor wants to do a fine needle aspiration of one of my thyroid nodules. I have many nodules (and have had them for years), but I guess they were small enough to not be worrisome. My latest thyroid sonogram showed that one of them grew to the point where I need to have it biopsied. The nurse explained that my doctor will use a very long needle and stick it in my neck 3 times to aspirate the nodule for the biopsy. As you can imagine, I'm none too pleased with the thought of this procedure. Of course, the procedure is nothing compared to the possibility that I could have thyroid cancer. If the biopsy is positive, I will need to have thyroid surgery.

I'm trying not to let this throw me into a tailspin of depression. I've been doing OK on the Celexa that I've been taking for my depression, but after hearing this news, I feel like crawling into bed and staying there...indefinitely.

Can anyone shed some light on this procedure I will have?

Thanks in advance.

bubblebug64 09-02-2004 06:35 PM

Re: Fine Needle Aspiration - Has anyone had this done?
I know that telling you not to worry is like spitting in the ocean. Doesn't change a whole lot. But, I have had the Fine needle aspiration...twice. Like you, I was scared to death... and my blood pressure that is usually 110/70 went to 150/100!!!!! But, the fear was the worst part of it... I promise. Mine was done in the office... they spray a topical anesthetic on your neck... and you DO NOT FEEL THE NEEDLE :bouncing: At least for the second one, I knew what to expect... and it was so much easier. My biopsies came back suspicious, and I did have to have surgery, removing part of my Thyroid, but everything turned out benign. You will do just fine. Try to take a few deep breaths... I will be thinking of you. Let us know how you do. I have only been on this board for a short time, but it has been a Godsend. The people here are very supportive, and very Knowledgable... It is kind of nice to be able to help someone else.
Hugs... and good thoughts....Bubblebug

LovesTeaching 09-02-2004 06:51 PM

Re: Fine Needle Aspiration - Has anyone had this done?

Thanks so much for your reply. I really appreciate it. It's a relief to hear that you didn't feel the needle during the aspiration. I'm also glad to hear that you're OK and that everything was benign. Do you have any effects from having had part of your thyroid removed? Did your doc up your synthroid?

I'm terrified and do not want to have thyroid surgery. I just hope that the biopsy will come back negative.

Thanks again.

bubblebug64 09-02-2004 07:17 PM

Re: Fine Needle Aspiration - Has anyone had this done?
Loves Teaching,
Like i said, it is nice to be able to give back to this board, it and the people here have given me so much.
My surgery was 4 years ago, and am currently going through a difficult bout with some severe Hypo symptoms,(which if you have been on Synthroid, you probably know all about) and fighting with the docs, to check blood levels other than the standard TSH. (the wonderful people here have been great about guiding me in knowing what to ask for)
While i had some problems with the surgery (my vocal chords are partially paralyzed), which gave me a very sexy voice for a while, and now i sometimes think i sound like minnie mouse on helium...teehee. Most people do not have those kind of problems. And the surgery itself was not as bad as you might think... just an overnight stay.. so try not to fixate on that. In the event that you have to have surgery, It too was not that difficult. Following surgery, i was self conscious about the scar that i thought everyone was looking at...and wore a choker for the longest time. 4 years later, no one can even see the scar... unless i point it out. Hopefully you will not have to have surgery, but again.. it wasn't that bad.
I'd like to know how everything turns out... your are in my thoughts and prayers... and don't be afraid to ask questions. I don't know a lot... especially about blood tests, and levels, but the others here are wonderful. I can just tell you what i went through... and hope it helps.
Hugs hugs...bubblebug :angel:

softcrush 09-02-2004 07:19 PM

Re: Fine Needle Aspiration - Has anyone had this done?
Not to scare you, but to just give a fair heads up. You will most likely have a much better time of this than I did. If your nodules are far away from your windpipe, you won't feel a lot of pain. Since you have many nodules they'll probably pick an easy one that won't hurt much. Mine was next to my windpipe (where there are lots of nerves) and I was unprepared for the excruciating pain and how it would impact my day or the months following the procedure.

LovesTeaching 09-02-2004 07:57 PM

Re: Fine Needle Aspiration - Has anyone had this done?

Thanks again for the info and support. I'm currently waiting for a call from my endocrinologist (she has wacky calling hours -- after 9:00 PM). I feel like a wave of depression and anxiety has hit me today, and it's paralyzing.

Softcrush, I don't know how close to my trachea the nodule is. It's one particular nodule that's being biopsied, as it grew to be very large. You had pain from this procedure for months following it?

bubblebug64 09-02-2004 08:16 PM

Re: Fine Needle Aspiration - Has anyone had this done?
Loves Teaching,
I hope that your endo can give you some answers. Just remember that no two people are going to have the exact same experiences... just try to look toward the positive. (and believe me ... easier said than done). Seems like i give good advice, i just don't follow it too well. :nono: I can not tell you that it is going to be "fine" or that you will have absolutely no problems.... but what i can tell you... is that there are people here that UNDERSTAND. And sometimes that helps. With all that seems looming ahead of you, try to take it in baby steps. The call with the endo.... then the FNB, and go from there. But keep in mind, there will always be people here to help.
Hugs hugs hugs....bubblebug

let us know how things are going.

westin4 09-02-2004 08:33 PM

Re: Fine Needle Aspiration - Has anyone had this done?
I too had the FNA done about 2 months ago on a nodule that had grown quite large. It is actually close to my clavicle. I have severe anxiety and panic problems and I was ok with the procedure. They gave me a shot of lidocaine to numb my whole neck area and I really couldn't feel the biopsy itself, only some pressure.

The waiting for the results is the agonizing part. Mine was all fine it showed I had Hashi's disease.

As for afterwards, I only had what looked like a hickey and a bit of a sore spot for about 2 weeks, but no pain.

Good luck and please let us know what happens!

LovesTeaching 09-02-2004 08:43 PM

Re: Fine Needle Aspiration - Has anyone had this done?
Thanks again, Bubblebug. You're so sweet.

Karen, thank you, too. Did you need surgery? I'm more afraid of the surgery (and what will follow) than I am of the FNA.

westin4 09-02-2004 08:52 PM

Re: Fine Needle Aspiration - Has anyone had this done?
No surgery here. Just ruling cancer out was what they did. Since it came back as indicative of Hashi's I am just being treated for that.


njgirl23 09-03-2004 03:59 PM

Re: Fine Needle Aspiration - Has anyone had this done?
I, like you, was terrified of both FNB and surgery. (I am very phobic of medical procedures and needles). The first endo I went to wanted me to go to a local hospital radiology dept for the FNB. She gave me a prescription for valium and EMLA cream (to numb the skin) since I was very anxious and this facility told me that lidocaine would interfere with the pathology. I was completely freaked out, ended up asking my primary care dr. for something to calm me down. Then I decided to see another dr. in NYC who specializes in thyroid disease. He did the FNB in his office with lidocaine. I survived. I felt a small pinch/sting each time he went in, and I could feel pressure, but that's it. If I survived it, anyone can!

The unfortunate thing is, mine was papillary cancer and I had my thyroid removed 2 weeks ago. The surgeon did a great job, the scar is hardly noticeable already (less than 2 inches) even though she said it would be bigger if she had to take lymph nodes (she did). I consider myself lucky that my gyno found this, I found great drs. and it is very curable/manageable compared to other things you can get.

It seems they do FNB slightly different everywhere, so if you are not comfortable- go somewhere else where you are...if you need surgery, just make sure to find a dr that is experienced. I went into the hospital at 7:30am, was in the recovery room at 1:30- advanced recovery by 3:00 and able to go home at 7:30pm the same day. I only had to take painkillers for 2 days. The worst part is the sore throat from the anesthesia (which I asked them to put me under with a mask before the IV went in, and they did-that-if that gives you an idea of my needle phobia).

Good luck! Stacy

LovesTeaching 09-03-2004 04:12 PM

Re: Fine Needle Aspiration - Has anyone had this done?
Hi Stacy,

Could you please give me the name of your surgeon in NYC? I think that's allowed on these boards. I live in NYC, coincidentally. How are you doing post-surgery? I hope you're OK. Thanks for your help.

Karen and Bubblebug, I am still waiting to hear back from my doctor (and I'm getting very upset with her for not returning my calls). I think it's awful to have a nurse call a patient and tell her she may have cancer and then to fail to return that patient's frantic phone calls.

Thanks again to all who responded. I very much appreciate it.

njgirl23 09-03-2004 04:29 PM

Re: Fine Needle Aspiration - Has anyone had this done?
Dr. Robert McConnell is the endo that I saw. He works out of Columbia Presbyterian and he is co-director of the New York Thyroid Center. The surgeon he referred me to is Dr. Kathryn Spanknebel, who also works there and is part of the center. Try google-ing both and NY Thyroid Center...lots of good info.

njgirl23 09-03-2004 04:33 PM

Re: Fine Needle Aspiration - Has anyone had this done?
By the way, after only 2 weeks, I am feeling like myself again and hope that I can go back to aerobics soon (only doing low impact now)- I see the surgeon for a post op visit on Tues. I still have to go thru radioactive iodine, but she said she got everything (the resident working with her told me she is meticulous) and that this is preventive to make sure every cell is gone and it would be outpatient/low I hope that is what she confirms for me next week. I even started a new job and starting commuting into the city again this week.

softcrush 09-03-2004 04:36 PM

Re: Fine Needle Aspiration - Has anyone had this done?
Yes, I had some pretty bad deep bruising. I couldn't turn my head for weeks and being a passenger in a car was near impossible. I was an on-the road sales Rep. and the pain was a constant reminder. They said it was because I'm so skinny that I felt it as much as I did. The bruise was very dark purple at first. By the time the pain went away, I scheduled the total-T. And, that didn't go well either. Now, I have racked up five months that haven't gone well.

I'm still out on disability (which ends next month) and, don't know how I'll pay for insurance coverage. I'm probably the exception though. Don't go by my story. So many people here seem to have faired much better than me. I do wish I had been prepared. The first boyfriend I had in 15 years and my closest friends dumped me because I'm just an insufferable basket case...and I don't blame them one bit.

I'm supposed to be glad to be alive and I'm having a hard time with that right now. Like I said, my story is mine. It doesn't have to be yours. Get all your research done in advance...know what kind of service your endo will provide, what tests you'll need and what the important factors are. I thought I had done so, and I've paid dearly. I wish you good luck.

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