Friday, October 28, 2005

the phantom thyroid

And now the waiting begins.

Today at one o'clock, I had the unusual experience of having a needle inserted into my throat not once, not twice but three times with the goal of removing cells from the nodule on my thyroid for culture purposes. And no, I don't mean they'll be taken to see the London Philharmonic Orchestra, though it would be my luck for body cells of mine, even less intelligent than those in my brain, to get that experience.

The procedure was brief, and relieved somewhat by the graphic depictions on the walls of the anatomy of the throat and face. The artist rendered these pictures in such loving detail that I remarked to Dr. Van Hosen that it hurt just to look at someone whose right side of their face had been peeled off, or their throat gouged open to reveal where their different structures were. Trimming the top of the wall were wild animals gleefully stalking patients in the examination room.

Essentially, all that the procedure involved was my laying my head back and exposing my throat to the doctor. Under normal circumstances, the doctor would be considered attractive, except for two things: one, I am married; and two, she was about to stick a long, thin needle into my throat. The insertion was, she assured me, relatively painless, and I must agree. It hurt far less than middle school did.

All told, she did this three times. My throat is a little sore, and I hate it when I cough, burp or turn my neck too far because of the discomfort and swelling. The cells -- I am told they are in fact "follicular cells" -- will be centrifuged and all sorts of other medical things to develop a proper culture. I got to see them after they had been stained, but the magnification on the microscope wasn't very inspiring. They looked like purple dots. (They seemed amused that I wanted to look at them, but how often do you get the chance to see cells from your own thyroid?)

Work on the culture begins this afternoon or evening. By Monday or Tuesday at the latest they will know the state of my thyroid and we will decide what to do about this nodule then, whether to let it be or to remove my entire thyroid. A news editor I used to work with, writing about his bout with cancer, once remarked that good news is given over the phone. If it's bad, they want to see you in person.

I'll let you know what happens.

1 comment:

JJ said...

It's amazing how someone's attractiveness can be mediated by the fact that they are about to stab you in the neck. :-)

You continue to be in my prayers.