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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fine Needle Biopsy, Sounds Scarier Than it Is

I am not sure where to start on this because I can't assume everyone out there knows what a thyroid nodule is to begin with. We all have a thyroid, (if you have never had it removed) and it does a whole lot of things for our body. It stimulates our metabolism, which is why people who are very skinny or very heavy can be said to have a thyroid issue. It does run in my family.

My doctor discovered the thyroid nodules upon physical examination and I thought it explained the pressure I was having in my throat. I still think it might explain for some of the pressure. I can now visibly see one of the lumps in my neck. Some can't tell but if you look closely it sometimes appears as though I have an Adam's apple. UGH. I hate it and part of me just wants it gone but for that to happen we'd have to get rid of the thyroid which is functionally properly. That's not an ideal thing to do. We do have to watch for thyroid cancers since I already have four nodules and now I have had radiation to that area.

Anyway, long story short, they decided the first time to biopsy my thyroid nodules to make sure they were not cancerous. This is all before my cancer diagnosis of Hodgkin's. Since I have four nodules I got around 7 to 8 sticks. They put the needle into a nodule with a sonogram to guide it. It's not like a shot though. They don't just go in and then pull out the needle. No. They put the needle in and wiggle it around to get a good sample. The pain wasn't as bad as I thought though. The wiggling around was a little painful but mostly I felt pressure and like if I swallowed, I would swallow the needle. Obviously I wouldn't but it still felt like it. I ended up with a band aid. It was not too traumatic but anytime someone wants to poke you in the neck repeatedly with a needle you get a little scared. The second time was the day they actually did find the tumor. They ran a series of tests one being another fine needle biopsy which I used no anesthesia for this time around. I had realized that shot hurt worse than the others combined so I opted for none. It was again uncomfortable and scary but not too bad. They got nothing but blood though. They got no good samples and then on the sonogram she saw the tumor. So, I think she was pretty sure something else was wrong anyway. So, that is a fine needle biopsy in a nutshell. If you have other questions ask. I have no problem answering what I can.


Dorsey said...

WOW! You are soo much better than me! Shoot, I didn't even have an epidural when my kids were born b/c I HATE HATE HATE needles! I think in order to do this to me, they'd need to knock me out completely!

Anonymous said...

Found you through On The Verge, then again through Entrecard. The biopsy sounds scary, needles are bad enough but in the neck, wow, it would be hard to sit still for that. I'm wishing you the best for your upcoming follow-up, you'll be in my thoughts and prayers.

Mandy said...


Forgive me if I didn't catch if you posted the results of you thyroid biopsy, I am having terrible brain fog today. I had Follicular Thyroid cancer that was discovered back in '05.

I really admire you dealing with being pregnant and dealing with Hodgkin's. My husband had Hodgkin's 17 years ago and did not have a very good experience with the chemo. Thank goodness he made it through but it was really tough. He has been cancer free now for almost 17 years now.



Sandi said...

Mandy I don't think I did post the results! I did get only blood from the second biopsy. They had no good sample out of all those needles but on the first biopsy it came back fine. I am just keeping a close eye on it. Congrats to your husband for beating Hodgkin's! That is such a wonderful thing to hear of a survivor for so many years. Did you beat yours too? I am assuming so! :)

Cammi said...

It is great that you put this information out there to help others. About 2 years ago, I was pregnant and was told I needed to have thyroid nodules biopsied. They wouldn't do it until after I delivered, so I went back soon after. The process is just as you explained. Definitely not comfortable, but not as horrible as one might imagine. I was also stuck 7 times. I was actually joking with the doctor and nurse in between pokes. They couldn't believe it. It's a matter of perspective I think. I had just had natural childbirth, so that was nothing. Also, the possible bad results were more of a concern than the needles (and I REALLY hate needles!)

Best of luck to you in staying cancer-free. It's sad that anyone has to go through this, and for mothers it seems that much worse. God bless.