The Results Are In

A month ago, I wrote a blog post about all this weird stuff happening to me and I wasn’t sure if it was my thyroid or what. I’ve known about these thyroid nodules I have for a few years now, so I see an endocrinologist annually to get them checked and to make sure my thyroid is still functioning properly. The nodules haven’t changed as long as I’ve known about them and my thyroid has always been fully functional on its own. I decided I would get another opinion since I’m due for my annual check on this anyway, so I went to see a head and neck specialist at USC Medical Center two weeks ago.

I went over my health history with the new doctor and talked about the symptoms I’ve been having this past year. He said the same thing I had researched on my own, which is that it’s either my thyroid function or the ‘ol body not producing as much estrogen as it used to, because that’s just part of getting older. I went to the lab and had blood drawn to test my thyroid and then had to wait a week to go back and get an ultrasound with another physician to biopsy any nodules that may look unusual.

When I went back for the ultrasound and biopsy, the physician told me that one nodule was large (1.3cm is large, I guess) and it had calcification in it, which is concerning. He did a very unpleasant biopsy with three different needles, getting directly into the calcified spot, and said to call my doctor in a week for the results. Of course, over this last week I made the STUPID mistake of reading way too much online on what it could be, almost all of it saying it was thyroid cancer. I know that is very treatable but still not what anyone wants to hear. I called my doctor on Monday and got his voicemail so I left a message. I did the same thing on Tuesday because he still hadn’t called me back. When I did get a call today, it was from his nurse saying my doctor wants to talk to me himself about my results and he would call me later today.

WHAT THE HELL. Thanks for the paranoia boost, pal.

An hour later my doctor called to tell me my biopsy was benign and that my blood work shows my thyroid function is completely normal. HOORAY! A huge wave of relief washed over me, followed by the realization that all of my symptoms (slowing metabolism, thinning hair, and not sleeping well to name a few) are actually because I’m getting older and not producing as much estrogen.

That is so weird to me.

In my brain, I still feel like I’m in my early 30’s but my body is here to remind me that I am in fact, 45 freakin’ years old. I kind of figured that’s what it was going to be when I used MyFitnessPal for a month to track what I was eating and to make better food choices to see if I could drop the 5 extra pounds I’d been carrying around this year. I was able to drop the weight so now I know it’s because my metabolism is changing and not my thyroid function.

I’m so glad I got another doctor opinion anyway, even if I did feel like I was being a bit paranoid. I will continue to get these annual check-ups  and watch what I eat but BOY, is getting older weird.

16 thoughts on “The Results Are In

  1. There’s a pretty good chance your doctor already checked this, but sometimes they don’t, so I’ll mention it. You might want to get tested for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, it’s a common autoimmune disorder but can be underdiagnosed. Also, you can have hypothyroid symptoms without having clinical hypothyroidism. My sister and I both have Hashimoto’s, and my hypothyroid symptoms don’t go away until my TSH level is under 2, and she feels best at like 1.

    That being said, yay for not cancer! I had a similar thing a few years ago. Thyroid biopsies are seriously unpleasant.

  2. I don’t know if this will help, but you still look like you’re in your early 30’s, if not younger.

  3. Thanks for sharing the good news, Anne. Aging is enough of a challenge. Almost every day, I find myself thinking, “What do you mean [insert recent-seeming event] was 15 years ago? I swear it was just the other day.” That is despite the fact that I started mentally rounding my age up to 50 when I turned 45 two years ago.

  4. I know I HATE it when folks tell me what to do when I already have an answer, but I’m going to go ahead and call this just an idea. 😉

    One think to keep in mind with thyroid numbers, in recent years there are new studies to say the “normal” range is not accurate, and that high normal is too high. ie: most folks feel best in the .5 – 1.5 range. High normal in most places is still 5.5

    So, not for the world to see, but maybe just ask for the numbers and track them? I am very very glad I did.
    (Went from 5.4 to over 50 in one year. Now told I should have been on meds when I hit 4. 🙁 long long story.)

    Anyway, glad you are ok! !

  5. If my mother was sitting here right now, she’s not though, she’s at work; she would say whatever you do, DON’T do any hormone replacement therapy. When she did it in her 40’s, it extended her menopause. Says she would have been done with the worst of it by now, shes 61. She would tell you to stay away from the 4 whites, sugar, flour, potatoes, & rice. Those will kick off hot flashes worse than anything else. Eat lots of vegetables and exercise regularly. I’m pretty sure you already do a lot of that.

    1. I definitely am not going to do any hormone replacement. My body isn’t producing as much estrogen as it used to because it doesn’t need it! It’s scary to me that doctors prescribe that.

      1. I was on hormone replacement for a few months, due to a diagnosis of ‘sudden severe onset’ menopause all by itself, no surgery. It was not pleasant, and I almost wound up hospitalized from a lengthy lack of sleep, because I just kept telling myself it would pass and didn’t need any help. My blood work showed differently, as did the rest of my symptoms which were severe.

        I know HRT has its risks, but please be careful about blanket statements about it being ‘scary’. Some women are suffering needlessly. I was fortunate to have a doctor who believed in topical BHRT (which also has risks), and I only needed to be on it until things leveled out. I was also having some side effects but the timing worked out for me anyway. As I tapered off, I was having less perimenopausal difficulties, and now have very few 6 years later as post-menopausal. I would also like to add that women my age (late 50s) and younger are beginning perimenopause a good 10-15 years earlier than their mothers and grandmothers. One of the thoughts is all the hormones in foods, and junk foods that began to exist. I had a primary care doctor who told me at 43 I was too young for peri, but have since learned she was very wrong. Women need to do their own homework for their own symptoms, and insist their doctors be thorough and up-to -ate. And, I was told that B/HRT for women who still have their ovaries, should not be a forever thing, just until the body gets itself regulated, and some may need a little intervention getting there. B/HRT is not good nor advisable for every woman, but there are some of us who would have no quality of life (or worse) without a little help.

  6. I’m glad everything was negative – tests & biopsy. The feeling of relief when they say that is as intense as the fear of wondering if it’s not. So glad it’s “just aging issues”. That’s a phrase I’ve been hearing a lot lately. So fun. Still, as one poster already said, the alternative is not aging and there’s only one way to do that.
    Wishing you well – Molly

  7. Yay! Glad it’s just normal aging and not something worse. And you do look great, btw. I have my dad’s baby face, so people often guess I’m younger than I really am. But sometimes I can tell I’m 50+ when I have aches in my legs or the arthritis in my foot acts up. So, look young on the outside and thank nature – and accept the reality inside. And then keep in the best health you can.

  8. Ha! I can totally relate to the getting older part. I turned 40 in the summer and I swear overnight my bum dropped 2 inches! And that extra 6 pounds I put on while on holiday has not budged like it used to. But like I’ve been telling friends (all turning 40 this year) there’s worse things than getting old – like not getting old.

    Glad you’re all clear, though! Doctor Google is bad! *g*

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