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lynnmarie 03-29-2002 08:56 AM

Thyroid nodule & gray mass
Hi everyone,
I'm so frustrated! I had a physical last year. Because my doc. is so busy now you usually get referred to one of his nurses. One of them gave me a physical. I told her that my lymph nodes in my neck were more swollen then usual and I was having difficulty swollowing. She quickly felt around my neck and said I was a little swollen but nothing to worry about. She did a thyroid test, came back normal (I've had thyroiditis twice, both times after pregnancy).

I am scheduled to have cervical spine surgery next Tues. During the pre-op exam my regular doctor thought he felt a nodule, and said my lymph nodes were swollen so he scheduled an ultrasound. The ultrasound shows one nodule on my thyroid gland (right side) and a gray mass in the tissue. The ultrasound tech. said it could be some sort of infection. The surgery I am having is an anterior cervical fusion meaning they make an incision in my neck, insert bone into the collapsed disc, and put in a plate which will help with the fusion.

Has anyone experienced a nodule with a gray mass? If I have an infection or something else I can't see going through this neck surgery next week.

Thanks everyone,

ArtfulD 03-30-2002 11:51 PM

Re: Thyroid nodule & gray mass
Hi lynnmarie. Did your pre-op blood tests indicate any abnormalities (particularly a high white blood cell count that might indicate an infection)? I'm not sure why they weren't more specific interpreting the ultrasound -- "gray mass" in your nodule should have been described in terms of the echoes it gave during the scan. I'm also quite surprised that the ultrasound technician gave his/her opinion. I believe the law requires only doctors to interpret scans to the patients, and techs are usually reluctant to say anything except explain the body parts you're seeing on-screen.

It sounds like you need to see an Endocrinologist to have a true thyroid workup. It is not appropriate for a nurse to be palpating your lymph nodes without a doctor's opinion. And, given your history of post-partum thyroiditis, I think it would be a good idea to request thyroid antibody blood tests along with Free T3 and Free T4 to get a better idea of what's going on. If the doctor you spoke about is already an Endo and is "too busy" to be listening to your symptoms himself, it sounds like time for a change. Our Information Archive thread includes a list of useful questions/answers for interviewing a new doc.

You need your energy for your surgery next week. If you have any doubts about your health or are worried about other infection, PLEASE discuss it with your surgeon and, perhaps, postpone your surgery until you are mentally ready to focus on a smooth surgery and healing yourself.

Let us know what happens.

lynnmarie 04-17-2002 03:00 PM

Re: Thyroid nodule & gray mass
Thank you so much for your reply. I did go ahead and have the cervical spine surgery and recovering very well. As far as the thyroid problem, I'm still very confused. My regular doctor told me prior to surgery that he went over the ultrasound with the radiologist and, they did not see a nodule, and therefore would not be doing a biopsy during my surgery. He said that what they were seeing could be residue? left over from thyroiditis. I had the surgery two weeks ago and two days ago received a call from my reg. doctor telling me I needed schedule a thyroid scan so they could determine what is going on w/my thyroid. I met with the surgeon today for a post-op appt. and he said that a scan really needs to be done to rule out cancer. I'm also having severe rib pain. A bone scan revealed uptake in the rib area and they are not quite sure if it is a fractured rib or something else. This is all very confusing. The Ultrasound technician did get in a bit of trouble for telling me about the gray mass she saw. She knew I was having the surgery and I think she felt I should know about that. Anyway, I'm getting very mixed messages from the doctors, nothing straight-forward. I think I should go to the endo. who treated me for thyroiditis. I've moved so she's an hour away but its pry worth the trip just to get a straight answer from someone who knows what they're talking about. I'm just so tired of doctors now! Anyway, I'll keep you posted.
Thanks again,

ArtfulD 04-20-2002 11:46 AM

Re: Thyroid nodule & gray mass
I'm glad to hear things went well with the surgery, lynnmarie.

When you are feeling better, definitely make an appointment and go see that Endo you liked. I'm not a doctor, but it sounds like a full-body Iodine Uptake Scan would be an excellent diagnosis tool for you right now. It may be a good idea to call her as soon as you feel up to it, just to get on her schedule.

You can read a lot about some of these tests and findings at <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A> (Click on the link for "Your Thyroid").

Let us know what happens.

lynnmarie 04-21-2002 05:32 PM

Re: Thyroid nodule & gray mass
Thanks again for your response. I've pulled out my old thyroid records (two viral thyroiditis after pregnancy)
and am going to go back to my endo. I saw 12 years ago. I have lots of confidence in her and that is important.
My thyroid feels a little larger than usual and I'm hoping its not a on a growing spree since I just had surgery and I'm afraid the stitches will far apart as the lump gets lumpier. Now wouldn't that just be my luck <IMG SRC="">. Also, my abdomen is very swollen and the lower right part of my abdomen has a big lump. I'm not sure what that's about - a little bit of pain there when walking otherwise it does not hurt. Are there any types of thyroid problems that cause abdominal swelling?
Hope everyone is doing well today, beautiful day here in California. It's really hard to stay put on days like this!
Wishing everyone peace and better health!
Lynn Marie

ArtfulD 04-21-2002 08:26 PM

Re: Thyroid nodule & gray mass
Hi lynnmarie. Abdominal bloating is a side effect of thyroid disease, but it sounds like your trouble may be more site-specific. Is it in the area of your gall bladder (under the right rib cage)? Do you notice more pain after you eat meats and fats?

Some of the folks on this board have mentioned gall bladder problems since their thyroid disease began. Mine becomes tender from time to time, but I see an acupuncturist/herbalist for it instead of more meds and/or surgery. When it really flares up, he tells me to eat fresh daikon (Japanese horseradish).

Ask your Endo to palpate your abdomen when you're there, so you can see what's going on.

And let us know what happens.

lynnmarie 04-22-2002 02:22 PM

Re: Thyroid nodule & gray mass
Hi Everyone!
ArtfulD, as usual, thank you for taking the time to respond to my post.

I have a question for anyone - During a thyroid ultrasound a gray mass was discovered (I've had viral thyroiditis twice right after two pregancies, both last ing about 8 months). I am now scheduled for a thyroid scan. My question is, wouldn't it make sense to test my thyroid levels T3 & T4 before the tests? Or is this necessary. I looked back at old records and my blood was tested first, then the scan. It's been 6 years since I had the last scan so maybe things have changed since then?

Thanks everyone,
Lynn Marie

lynnmarie 04-22-2002 08:11 PM

Re: Thyroid nodule & gray mass
Regarding my abdomen, it is swollen all over and on the lower right there is another lump that looks kind of like a sausage. I have a little pain when I walk and sometimes the pain shoots down into my groin and upper leg. The swelling has been there for about 2 months but the lump is new. I called my Doctors office and they can't get me in until Thurs. What's discouraging is that an ultrasound a few months back showed a cyst on my ovarie, a bone scan shows uptake in my upper rib area (they're not sure if its a fracture or something else) an ultrasound showed something going on with my Thyroid yet it's been months and I have no answers.

I'd be interested to find out if anyone has had a lump such as this on the abdomen relating to a thyroid problem.

Thanks everyone!
Lynn Marie

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