Okay, so lately I haven’t been feeling so hot. Not “hot” as in Paris Hilton “That’s hot”, but “hot” as in well – heath wise. Thanks to my husband’s attentive eye and appreciative smile I always feel Paris Hilton “hot”. But lately something’s just been off with me. So after having a perpetual headache for 2 weeks and constant bloodshot eye for over 1 week (neither of which were caused by binge drinking), I schlepped myself to the doctor. I dislike doctors. They hardly ever have any good news, they’re judgmental and the first thing you have to do when you visit them is step on a scale so I pretty much need either an anti-depressant or a quick run to the ABC store afterwards. The only time I halfway enjoyed going to the doctor was after my daughter was born. I had found an unusual lump on my shin and wanted it checked out. There I sat on the examining table with my general practitioner (a fairly handsome guy) running his hand up and down my lower leg. I know it was just routine for him, but my husband and I were still in the midst of our 6 week hiatus from any post-baby fun so this was a hell of a good time for me. The only thing that kept it from being Harlequin Romance perfect was the fact that he diagnosed my leg lump as a “fat deposit”. Yeah, not sexy. But still, there was the leg rubbing. I’d always have that.
Well, since then I have switched to mainly seeing the Nurse Practitioner they have on staff. No, it wasn’t court ordered by my doctor. I just like her a lot and she has really cute shoes. So a few weeks ago I made an appointment to see her and get myself checked out. During my exam she “guesstimated” (because isn’t that what 80% of doctoring really is?) that I had a sinus infection and put me on a steroid, an antibiotic and gave me a script for pain meds to handle my headache. I took the script even though I hate taking medication and never planned on swallowing one pill. Actually, I may keep it in an emergency pouch just like the astronauts supposedly keep a cyanide capsule – only instead of using it in case I get stranded floating around in space, I’d use my pain pill the next time I go to the doctor and they have me step on the scale. Whatever works and quiets the sound of the nurse sliding the miserable weight ten more pounds to the right… right?
“Okay, so I have a sinus infection. Can I go now?” I was asking internally. Her fingers probing my neck and the look on her face told me the answer was most likely no. Turns out she also thought she might have felt a “nodule” on my thyroid and ordered an ultrasound of it. Great. Add that to the list of internal organs I’ve had scanned that I never cared to see. As far as I’m concerned, I’m made up of parts only God and my OB-GYN have been privy to and that’s the way (uh-huh, uh-huh) I like it. She explained it’s most likely nothing. I’m sure. But I don’t really care for things that aren’t supposed to be there being there, so I’m reserving judgement. Of course the first thing I do when I get home is get on the internet. What I learned was that thyroid lumps are fairly common – a fact I already knew since two of my friends have had issues with this lovely butterfly shaped gland. Also, “most” nodules are benign and don’t affect your thyroid levels at all. I felt somewhat relieved but being in a position where words like “benign” are bandied about is not thrilling.
I went for my ultrasound a few days later at a very busy radiology practice. The people there amused me. First there was the World War II Veteran who was very proud of his service. He was decked out in a WWII t-shirt and ball cap which was festooned with all sorts of pins and patches. He was there by himself, walked with a cane and in general seemed just plain annoyed. I’m not sure if he was annoyed at the line, annoyed at the forms or possibly annoyed at the chair he was sitting in which I tended to agree with him about. One thing’s for sure though, he was flat out about to lose his shit at some guy who had the audacity to ask him two questions about the war. “Man, would you let me finish what I’m doing here, please???!!!” he shouted as he pointed to the clipboard in his lap. Note to self: Even though WWII vets may advertise that they are vets, it is NOT an invitation to strike up a conversation but instead a warning to shut the fuck up. Once they called me to the back, they ushered me to yet another, gender specific waiting room. We were separated by the rules of anatomy because some people had to change into gowns depending on the test they were having. This is where I met the woman I’ll refer to as “Gotta Go”. Gotta Go had to drink a shit-ton (her words) of fluid so her bladder could be full for her test. The result was she needed to GO! And the nurse was taking her sweet time in calling her back for her test. Once she was finally called, she swooped up her gown, picked up her toddler sized Bojangles cup and disappeared down the hall only to return a few minutes later with a tale of even more indignities. It seems as she was told to roll from one side of the bed to the other, her gown rode up exposing her back side. When the nurse gasped, Gotta Go apparently replied, “What? You ain’t never seen an ass before?”. I love Gotta Go.
All of these people kept my mind off of the fact that I had potentially cancerous growths somewhere in my body. When it was my turn, I was escorted to a dark room and told to lie down. If I think about it, the experience up until then was not unlike the spas I’ve visited. The girl’s waiting room was quite soothing – complete with toile covered overstuffed chairs, classical music and pitchers of water and the “exam” room was dark and a little warm and (if I ignored the scary pieces of medical equipment) mostly inviting. Unlike the spa though, I didn’t start to second guess my decision to leave my panties in the locker in the bathroom. (There was no locker. My panties were on, as were the rest of my clothes. They were only scanning my neck, sicko.) Bringing me back to harsh reality was the sound of the ultrasound tech dispensing copious amounts of lube which then found it’s way onto my neck. She was gentler than I expected but took longer on the right side than the left. It’s amazing how you can try to read so much into seemingly endless minutes worth of keyboard clicks.
And then I was left to wait for days on end until the result was passed from radiologist, to nurse practitioner, where it sat while she was on vacation, to fill in physician’s assistant, to nurse, to me. The result? Not one but two nodules. Yeah, that’s how I roll. If one is good, two is better, right? They were small though and “most likely benign” so they want to do a follow up in 6 months to check their size. Cool. Putting off dealing with something is the name of my game, sister. But blood tests were ordered to make sure my thyroid levels weren’t being affected.
According to the internet, wacky thyroid levels could be the cause of lots of my problems. Headache… check! Heart palpitations… check! Night sweats… ewwww and yep! Moodiness… what are you trying to say, asshole??! Weight gain… cnlcobvoi… oh, sorry. I was trying to type with one hand since I was eating a slice of pizza. Tiredness… *yawn* The list goes on. Of course, all these “symptoms” could be easily explained by other things. But until I knew for sure, my lumpy thyroid seemed like a good scapegoat. And then I got a postcard in the mail from my doctor’s office. I sliced open the taped sides and there in front of me was a whole bunch of numbers and the word “Normal!”. Whew! Right? Right? No. While I will be the very first to say I would never wish for there to be anything wrong with me, and would never want to undergo surgery to remove a faulty thyroid unless it was absolutely necessary, or take pills on a daily basis to keep me “level”, it was kind of nice thinking for 7 days that it was all my thyroid’s fault. My weight gain couldn’t be the result of the pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey that my husband and I would split when we started dating. And surely my love affair with Two Buck Chuck is not to blame! Neither is the aforementioned pizza. No, there in black and blue was the word “normal” which means that I was holding in my hands proof that I am just naturally fat and lazy. Fantastic! I guess it’s time to break out the treadmill once again. And where the hell did I put those pills she gave me? I feel some pain coming on.