Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I be Illin'

Last year I had a bunch of tests to find out why I intermittently had terrible bouts of vertigo and it all came down to poor ear drainage and congestion.   I was relieved it was something that simple, so when I woke up Sunday morning and was so dizzy I could actually see the room spinning, I was able to tell myself it was just congestion and poor ear drainage and as soon as I managed to get lots of decongestants in me I'd be fine.  Of course, it scared the sh*t out of me like having that kind of vertigo does - and being so helpless does.  But it did pass as the more rational, less panicked part of me felt.

For the last month I've been not taking my Enbrel for my rheumatoid arthritis because of a lingering cough and wheezing.  And I've been telling myself "I should really go see a doctor."  I also have been getting more and more fatigued the last month or so, but I figured that was a symptom of my RA since I hadn't been taking my Enbrel.  Then last week while I was out with my daughter staying with my parents the front of my neck started hurting.  I thought it might be muscles but couldn't tell.  So, the vertigo was the last straw and I dragged my sorry butt to the doctor today.

I was not surprised when she said I need antibiotics for a sinus infection, but when I told her about the pain in my neck, she checked me out, got a horrified look on her face and said, "My god, your thyroid is huge!" then her "doctor mask" went back on and she said, "Well, let's get some tests and find out what's going on, shall we."  She sat down and started writing out some orders on pieces of paper and seemed a little flustered for a moment then said, "Ok, you'll need to get some blood tests and we'll start with an ultrasound as soon as possible."  When I asked what she thought it was she said she couldn't tell yet but it is probably thyroiditis and that usually resolves on its own but they may need to give me some medicine to regulate my thyroid.  I managed to choke out the question, "Do you think it could be thyroid cancer?" and she said quickly, "Oh, probably not."  I would much rather hear "No, definitely not!" But "probably not" is better than "Let's hope not," or even worse, "We'll just have to wait and see."

So, I was freaked out for part of the afternoon.  Until I looked up thyroiditis and it looked like the symptoms were more like what I had than the symptoms of thyroid cancer.  I watched an old friend go through thyroid cancer and having her thyroid removed.  I was in the hospital with her and her brother and husband after surgery and it was just horrible.  They had to put a shunt in her throat to drain the blood because she was bleeding so badly, and she threw up blood then dry heaved horribly.  She was in awful pain and it just looked torturous.  So, although I know it's fairly easy to treat, I really would not want to go through that surgery.  Or put my poor husband through the recovery with me.

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