Let’s Catch Up!

knick knacks

Good afternoon, everyone! Another month has slinked away, hasn’t it? Hard to believe August is here. I have not forgotten about my little corner of the Internet, but believe me, the last month has been filled with activity (and a little stress… I’ll get to that). I have had time to do quite a bit of reflection, and I really want to get back into posting her regularly, so hold me to it, okay?

All right, first let’s just get to what the stressful situation was. As some may remember, I have a thyroid nodule. Four years ago, my journey with thyroid disease began. Things have been stable. I take my levothyroixine, I feel great, and I get an annual sonogram to check on my thyroid nodule(s) (one came and went!). Last December one of my lymph nodes was enlarged, so my doctor had me repeat the test in June. In June, it was still inflamed and the radiologist recommended an MRI.

Well, I kind of freaked out a little bit. It could be nothing — it could be just regular inflammation associated with my Hashimoto’s, it could be because I had a sore throat, or… obviously it could be something a lot more scary. My insurance wouldn’t agree to an MRI, and after a month of my doctor’s office going back and forth, the insurance agreed to a CT scan. I had no idea what to expect, I had to go to a facility I’d never been to before, Drew was going to be out of town… but somehow I kept it all together. I had my appoinment last Thursday and I have to say it was not at all scary. The tech and the nurse were great. The IV contrast was kind of freaky (as soon as it goes into your veins you feel as hot as if you were standing in the desert — so weird!). The entire appointment took last than an hour (including waiting).

In Saturday’s mail came my results from the imaging center. Thankfully, Drew was back from Kansas by that point. Shaking, I opened the envelope and was so relieved as I read line after line of “Unremarkable.” Never have I been so thrilled to be “unremarkable!” The last line said it all:

good news for me!

What a huge relief, and a heavy weight off my shoulders. A scare like that really makes you put things into perspective, though, trust me. I spent so much time thinking about what’s really important in my life… things I could let go of, as well as things I want to hold on to. I didn’t feel comfortable talking about it to many people, and certainly not blogging about it until I knew the outcome. So that happened. And it’s over!

Aside from that, July was a busy month with camps for the kids. Drew spent a week in Kansas City for work. And I kept on plugging away at my Stitchcation Afghan. I’m a little jealous of the ladies who are done. I am just about half-way there, but I’m just taking my time and enjoying it. (Though honestly there are a couple stitches that I will be happy to never do again.)

stitchation squares

Oh! I also got about 6 inches of hair cut off on Friday! With everyone out of the house for one reason or another, I took the opportunity to head to the salon and get a long over-due hair cut. I love it!



Ever since I attended the Country Living Fair in June I’ve been thinking a lot about style. There were some women there who had the cutest outfits and one of the things I decided among all this summer soul-searching is that it is high time for me to break out of the jeans-and-tee-shirt “uniform.” In high school in college I always loved clothes, makeup, and doing my hair. That really hasn’t changed but with little ones I didn’t have much time to put forth a great effort. But with all three a little bit older, and certainly come September when they’ll all be in school, I can eek out a little more time everyday to put myself together.

Are you still with me, or have I bored you away? LOL! Anyway. That’s the story from here! What have you all been up to this summer? Are your kids going back to school yet? Fill me in on what’s new with you!

Poked & Prodded

Some people don’t like getting up early for doctor’s appointment. Me? I prefer it. I just want to get it over with. So when I was able to score a 7:30 sonogram, I was psyched. Yes, it’s that time of year: time for my annual ‘roid scan.

annual 'roid scan

Let me assure you that while it’s not exactly horrible, a thyroid ultrasound is nowhere near as fun as a pre-natal scan. Lucky for me, I had an amazing tech and she didn’t bear down on my throat (for once). I’ll be curious what the results are this year. Last year I found out that I had a brand new baby nodule. Yay! </sarcasm>. My fingers are crossed that there are no surprises.

After I left the hospital I figured… hey, why not make it a day and head to the lab? OK, I didn’t really think that. But I did have to have bloodwork done (TSH, free T3, free T4) because I have an endo appointment in a couple weeks and we need to make sure that my meds are still at the right dosage. (With Hashimoto’s, the amount of hormone in your body can fluctuate — it likes to keep you on your toes.) I got lucky at the lab and didn’t have to wait at all, so that was great! Then I ran a few errands. My last errand was to gas up the car and as I stood there pumping, I stared at a sign for Green Mountain Coffee.

Mmm. Coffee. I realized that it was now around 10 and I hadn’t had breakfast and darn tootin’ did a hot cup of joe sound good. I almost ran into the gas station for a cup when I thought…

Yes! After getting my neck all gelled up, and my veins stuck, I totally deserved to treat myself (especially since I had a Panera coupon). So I did.

treat yo self

A dark roast and a cranberry orange muffin to go.

Hopefully I won’t have to do all that for another year. Well, except for the coffee and muffin. I could go for that any time 😉

menu plan monday, busy week edition

I don’t know about you, but around here the days are just packed with activities lately. We have doctor’s appointments, dentist’s appointments, school activities up the wazoo, and I also can’t forget to make my ultrasound appointment to check on my thyroid nodule (hard to believe it’s been a year already). So as school winds down and summer begins, my plan is to just go with easy meals that don’t take much time or brain power.

Speaking of my thyroid, my results came back from the Celiac panel, and they were within the normal range. Nevertheless, I am still going to try cutting back on carbs and gluten. The more I read, the less I want to consume them. Plus, I just feel generally better when I am not bloated after eating bread or pasta. And, of course, there’s my family history of diabetes. The less sugar in my system, the better. With all of the wonderful produce available during the summer, I think it’s good time to work on this. I’m not cutting them out entirely, but I’m going to be a lot more mindful of the carbs I eat. I currently have “Good Calories, Bad Calories” by Gary Taubes sitting on the end table, and as soon as I finish “Catching Fire,” I am diving into it!

Anyway… on to my meal plan.

  • Sunday: Take-out
  • Monday: Beef & vegetable stiry-fry
  • Tuesday: Turkey & bean chili (slow cooker), green salad
  • Wednesday: Chicken curry, basamati rice, cucumber & onion salad
  • Thursday: Spinach & swiss quiche, green salad
  • Friday: Cub Scout picnic – no cooking
  • Saturday: Winging it — leftovers or something on the grill

For more menu ideas, visit Organizing Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday feature.

menu plan monday

Is it really May? Then why is it weirdly chilly and so rainy? Eh… oh well. At least the weather makes for cozy days, right? This week is going to be so crazy. We have Drew’s dad & stepmom coming up from Miami on Thurs. We have various school activities. And I am doing all the prep work for Laura’s 2nd birthday party, which we are having on Sunday. So I am trying to keep things super simple because I don’t need to be more stressed out! I am also not doing much grocery shopping because I need to clean out the fridge for the party. (Have I told you how much I hate having a side-by-side fridge? It makes it very challenging when you have party platters and whatnot.)

  • Sunday: Grilled chicken salads
  • Monday: Sausage parm sandwiches, broccoli cheese soup
  • Tuesday: Dinner out
  • Wednesday: Grilled chicken, whatever I can find in the fridge for sides, LOL.
  • Thursday: Sandwiches, chips (In-laws are getting in from Miami, so I need something I can make the kids and us earlier and have for them later)
  • Friday: Grilled London Broil, grilled chicken with Piri-Piri Sauce, baked potatoes, tossed salad
  • Saturday: Whatever you can find in the fridge or freezer 😉

If I make it through this week with my sanity in check, then I will most definitely have earned that big slice of cake I am looking forward to on Sunday.

(Side note: while I have not been as diligent with exercising as I’d hoped to be this month, I am still down  2.5 lbs, which is awesome since I am really only trying for about 7 lbs. And really, this is just by cutting down on sugar. If I could eliminate carbs I’d be doing much better, but I have a Celiac panel later this month along with my routine thyroid bloodwork, so I have to continue eating bread and pasta, etc. at least until then. All in all, I’m pretty happy with my progress!)
For more menu ideas, visit Organizing Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday feature.

friday night

Eek. Sorry I haven’t really been updating here. I was busy this week working on a project for a new writing client, some other articles, and… I don’t really know what else, but the time did go by. I think I’ll just do a bulleted entry to catch up.

  • Monday I had my endocrinologist appointment. She was all right. I guess she was good as far as doctors go; so few of them have much personality. There wasn’t a whole lot to discuss since I’d had all the tests and I was very easily diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, which is an auto-immune disease. Basically my body is slowly destroying my thyroid. (What did my thyroid do to deserve this?) It sounds incredibly scary, but apparently it’s very common. She put my on 100 micrograms of Levothyroxine, which essentially is a synthetic version of the hormone your thyroid produces. In about 6 weeks I will have labwork done to measure my TSH, free T3, and free T4 levels, and I go for a follow-up appointment in November. The first day I took the medication I was somewhat jittery and had a metallic taste in my mouth, but those side effects didn’t last. I feel… pretty much the same, which is good since I felt fine before. Some doctors believe that dietary changes (particularly reducing the amount of gluten in one’s diet) can help, but she (expectedly) waved that notion away. I’m going to look into it further, though. Too many people are content just taking a pill for what ails them, but if some kind of change can organically improve my condition, it’s worth investigating.
  • Noah had kindergarten orientation this week. His teacher and the aides seem great. He was right at home in the class and I doubt there will be any issues. He was thrilled that a preschool friend is sitting right next to him 🙂 I had to chuckle because it was painfully obvious who was sending their kid off to school for the first time. The level of anxiety showed on their faces, but they’ll learn there’s nothing to fret over.
  • The weather has been beautiful lately. We had several days of gray skies that necessitated breaking out the rain boots, but I welcomed the change. Yesterday and today were gorgeous, but it’s going to start heating up again early next week. I’m already in an autumn mindset, so I’m not happy about that.
  • Next week I need to spend some time making sure we have everything set for school and getting familiar with the old routine again. I’m so ready for school to start.

great news!

Around 4:20 this afternoon the phone rang, and it was the radiology lab. Uh-oh, I thought. It had been just over 24 hours since the test. I figured it meant one of two things: I either forgot to fill out some paperwork or there was some concern. Thank goodness, I was wrong and neither was the case! The nurse had my test results and it showed “absolutely no malignancy.” I am relieved like you cannot imagine!!! I have to thank everyone who was thinking of me or praying for me.

The test did show the presence of lymphocytes. That indicates Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis — something my PCP suspected when my first thyroid screen came back. I had already made an appointment with an endocrinologist, so the lab is going to mail me these results for me to take when I see her in August.

So now I can go back to concerning myself with mundane things like how to get rid of blackheads. I don’t know about you, but this heat and humidity has my skin all broken out! I’m not complaining, though. I’ll take pimples over the alternative any day 🙂

what an fna biopsy is like

When I found out that I would need to have an FNA (fine needle aspiration) biopsy on my thyroid nodule, the first thing I did was try to find some personal stories. There are plenty of medical sites that document the procedure, but I’d hoped to find out what it was really like for someone. So I thought I’d write up what it was like for me, just in case anyone else is looking for that kind of information.

First off, although I have no fear of needles, the thought of having one poke my throat several times was incredibly nerve-wracking. I had two weeks to get myself used to the idea, but I’ll be honest — even though I knew what to expect, and the nurse had called before my appointment and gone through it all with me, I was still a little shakey in the waiting room. The good news is that the nervous anticipation was the worst part of the procedure.

The first thing I did was change out of my top and put a gown on. Some places don’t require this, but I appreciated the fact that no one wanted to get Betadine on my shirt 🙂 Then I went into the room and the nurse used the ultrasound to locate the nodule. This would make it easier once the doctor came in the room. She explained the whole procedure to me again and talked to me about her own thyroid issues (she had a total thyroidectomy, so she’d been through this particular procedure before). It was nice to relate to her on that level and it put me further at ease. I signed some paperwork while she got the doctor.

There were actually two doctors in the room during the procedure. One handled the biopsy itself, the other was making the slides. I never even saw the second doctor, heh! Anyway… the doctor who was performing the FNA introduced himself and asked if I had any questions (I didn’t). The pillow was adjusted so that it was positioned under my back and shoulders and my head was touching the bed/chair/whateveryoucallit. They complimented me on my “nice, long neck” which made me laugh, but apparently long necks make it easier on everyone so hey — glad I could do my part! My nodule is on the right side, so the doctor had me turn my head slightly to the left. After this I kept my eyes closed, but I couldn’t have really seen anything anyway.

The doctor then let me know that he was going to inject Lidocaine, a local anesthetic to numb the area. It pinched a little, but it was certainly no worse than a shot of Novacaine. I thought he’d have to wait a few minutes for the anesthetic to kick in, but all of a sudden he said, “OK, the first one’s done. Relax for a moment.” I didn’t even feel it. I was more aware of the next two sticks, but I can’t say they hurt. I could feel a tiny bit of pressure, but it wasn’t bothersome. The whole thing took between 5-10 minutes and then it was over. I got a Band-Aid on my boo-boo and a self-adhesive purple ice pack on my neck. The nurse joked, “Next time, you really should schedule these things better so that you can wear a turtleneck and not show off that crazy purple ice pack.” 😉

I kept the ice pack on for about 20 minutes and then it was no longer cold so I took it off. I never put it back and didn’t have any swelling around the area. Last night it felt slightly sore — like a bruise — but when I woke up this morning everything felt normal. It looks like I have a scratch on my neck, but that’s about it!

The radiology center I went to does a lot of FNAs, so I have to imagine that made a difference. My experience was very positive and if you ever need to have it done, there is nothing to worry about! So now I just have to wait for the results. Let’s hope that brings good news, as well.

ent appointment

I just realized that I never wrote here about my ENT appointment. I guess because I updated the people who seem interested via e-mail and Facebook, I just didn’t really think about it. All in all, the appointment made me feel more at ease. He could not feel the nodule, so he gave me orders for an ultrasound-guided FNA biopsy (which I scheduled for July 6th). He looked at my thyroid through a scope (yeah, that was weird!), and said that it’s obviously inflamed, but I really need to see an endocrinologist to help me sort through my hormone issues. That’s what I’d asked my primary care doctor last week! Sigh… At any rate, the ENT gave us the impression that it’s unlikely the nodule is cancerous, but if it is, that half of the thyroid will be removed and in all likelihood I won’t need to worry about anything else. He said that he thinks it’s more likely hormone-related. Let’s hope the results of the biopsy will give us a definitive answer.

I did find a local endocrinologist, but could not get an appointment until late August because she’s currently out on maternity leave. I did call one other office, but got a bad vibe from the staff. They would not allow me to make an appointment. She said I’d need to have my doctors fax over all of my labs/ultrasounds/biopsy results, and then the doctor would review them, and then they’d call me to make an appointment. Perhaps that’s standard procedure in some specialist’s offices, but I didn’t like it. Who knows how long it would take to have my file reviewed? And what if they don’t deem me “important” enough and don’t call for months? I felt more comfortable scheduling a visit with this other doctor. The way I look at it, if I have little to worry about, then I’ll be fine until the end of August. And if the FNA shows something that requires immediate attention, I’ll find a doctor down in Westchester County (about an hour away, where I saw the ENT) and go from there.

So that’s where I am! I’ll spare you from my boring thyroid issues for a couple weeks. I’ve scheduled everything I can, so there’s little to do but wait and show up at my appointments. Thanks for your continued thoughts and prayers. I do believe they work!!!

so, the results…

Well, my doctor called me today with the results of yesterday’s ultrasound and the blood work they ran on Monday. I’m still trying to process everything, but the bottom like is that I need to go to a specialist to get my thyroid issues sorted out. My doctor is concerned because the u/s showed that I have a single nodule that measures 2 cm. Single nodules, according to the doctor and what I’ve read, are more likely to be cancerous, so I will need to have it biopsied.

My husband’s aunt worked at Phelps Hospital in Tarrytown for over 30 years, so I looked to her for an ENT recommendation. Why an ENT over an Endocrinologist? I asked the same thing, and an ENT ultimately performs the biopsy. I have an appointment on Monday Wednesday*. Unfortunately Drew has to be out of town for work, but my MIL is going to watch the boys and Drew’s aunt is coming to the appointment with me. The doctor will go over all my labwork and discuss things with me before I make an appointment for the biopsy.

Needless to say, I am a little nervous, and yes scared. I’ve had several good cries today. Although thyroid cancer is uncommon, anytime the “c-word” comes up I think it’s natural to worry. So, if you are so inclined I would really appreciate any prayers you might offer up for me. It’s probably a condition that is easily managed, but there’s always that chance. Nevertheless, I am staying positive and I’ll wait until I meet with the specialist to get more information.

* Update: I had to reschedule my appointment because I forgot Jake had a field trip and would have to miss school. Who thought a 7 year old boy would be so upset, crying, over missing a visit to the FDR Historic Site? Anyway, he was so torn up I couldn’t stand it. Now he just has to miss a playdate, but apparently that is a better trade-off in his eyes.

bleh :-(

I hate to say it, but that’s how I feel today. Bleh. I have a horrible case of poison ivy that has resulted in an infection on my left foot. I went to the doctor’s this morning and yes, I got prescriptions for a steroid (to make the poison ivy go away) and an antibiotic (to make the infection go away), but I also had to deal with the results of my blood work last week.

See, I decided this was the year I’d start going to the doctor regularly. I’ve been blessed with good health and have only gone maybe three or four times in the last 10 years. I figured it would be a good idea to have baseline numbers for my sugar, cholesterol, etc. The good news is that those things are all fine and dandy. The bad news is that my thyroid is out of whack. It is “sluggish” as my doctor put it. So, I had more blood drawn to test for more specific levels. She felt around my neck and noticed that my thyroid felt enlarged so tomorrow I’m having an ultrasound to check it out. I might have a goiter. A goiter! I’m sorry but that makes me think of a circus sideshow. I’m 34. Isn’t that a little young for a goiter? Don’t you have to be really old for that? Sigh…

The good thing it that I guess if I start taking medication the levels should balance out. The bad news is that I have to start taking medication. Such a bummer. I’m hopeful that the tech can give me some indication of how ye olde thyroid looks when she scans it tomorrow, but I have a follow-up visit in two weeks, at which point I am sure I will necessitate one of those Sun.-Sat. pill boxes. I guess it will make it easier to remember to take my vitamins.

After I picked up my poison ivy/plague medicine I decided to pick up another “prescription” — some rocky road ice cream. I think some chocolate therapy coupled with a dumb comedy will help.