Uncertainty Part 2: Scanning for cancer

Mdnc_img5b_1In my last post about my journey with thyroid disease, I left it at the point when my ENT doctor sent me to a nuclear imaging facility.  The goal of medicine at this point is to rule out malignancy.  So, this next test I was taking is called an "uptake".  This scan takes three appointments over two days. 

On day one, I went into the facility at 10:00 AM and was seated in chair while the technician handed me a cup full of capsules.  These pills were filled with radiated iodine.  Iodine is handled by the thyroid, so the imaging equipment can watch the function of the gland and see in detail what the nodules are.  If they are hot spots, meaning over-active, then that means they are producing hormones.  If cold, then they may be something bad.

On my second appointment that day in the afternoon, I sat on the narrow table with my arms restrained under a lead blanket.  The tech said I had to be very still, since each picture of my thyroid would be take ten minutes. 

The next morning I had my final appointment which went a little quicker.  The strange feeling of knowing you are being around radiation and being confined was a little unnerving, but not really that big of a deal.  The cool window on the ceiling helped, however I wished I had my iPod.

At the end of the scan, I was asked to wait for the radiology doctor to go over the results with me.  My hope was for good news.  Actually, the news was good.  She said I had benign multinodular goiter.  This means that instead of a large hard growth, my lumps were many little nodules.  Goiter simply is the swelling of the thyroid.  The nodules were both hot and cold.

Well, I felt pretty good and told a few people that I thought I was clear.  Then I read an explanation on a website of a reputable hospital that says that no test like this can be sure, but that they could be up to 95% accurate.  But, being male and having calcium spots on my nodules gave concern.  Then, I found out the blood test I took was prepared incorrectly at the lab and that I needed an immediate retest.

I was waiting to meet with my ENT doctor about the series of test results.  What does all of this mean?  All these tests must add up to something, but what I would I find out when I actually had the visit with my ENT doctor?  What was God saying to me in all of this?  I just wanted answers and I was not getting any.

Check back soon for what my ENT doctor told my this past Tuesday.  Thanks for praying and sending your support!

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Rich Kirkpatrick

Rich Kirkpatrick

Writer, Speaker, and Musician. Rich Kirkpatrick was recently rated #13 of the “Top 75 Religion Bloggers” by Newsmax.com, having also received recognition by Worship Leader Magazine as “Editor’s Choice” for the “Best of the Best” of blogs in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

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