(N.B.: This could get graphic, just so you know)
In the ongoing quest to figure out why I sleep but don't rest, my PCP sent me to get an ultrasound of my thyroid last month, after noticing it had several nodules and looked swollen. Said ultrasound came back showing that in fact I have a shitload of nodules in my thyroid. As the endocrinologist I got referred to explained, that in and of itself is nothing. Problem is, when the nodules get too big, they might interfere with several functions, including hormone production (not a problem here since my thyroid levels came back clear as per a comprehensive blood lab test), breathing while prone, etc. Oh, and when the nodules get over a certain size, they need to be biopsied to rule out any malignant growth, even though the likelihood of it is (a) a rare occurrence at my age and (b) accompanied by symptoms I definitely don't have (restlessness, inability to breathe during normal daily activity, sharp shooting pain in the region, etc.).
One of the stupid nodules, unfortunately, grew to said larger size, as it tends to happen during drastic hormonal shifts (like pregnancy and menopause, just so I have something else to look forward to when I get old). So even though I got assurances that it probably is nothing but my body being the usual freak show it has been throughout my life (Extra incisor in mouth? check. Double jointed thumbs? check. Extra sensitive nerve endings? check! Unexplained blood pressure in late pregnancy? check!), it had to be checked out.
Thankfully, since the last time I had a bizarre cyst (hello 2003, aka also ran and former leader of the "best and worst year ever rolled into one" category until 2013 took its place) medicine has moved on, and instead of having to be operated on, all that needed to be done is an ultrasound needle biopsy. So instead of a surgical scar, I just had to deal with getting my neck poked by syringe several times over. Hurray for progress.
The nice part is that at least I couldn't see what was being done, and that was good, because pain I can deal with (not surprisingly, the Novocain did jack squat to dull the pain, as per usual), but the visual would have been the worst. After enduring a pregnancy of nothing but blood tests in the latter half for Giada, I've learned that I'm okay with needles as long as I can't see what body part they're being stuck into. In this particular setting, I couldn't have seen firsthand what was being done even had I wanted to, so I just stared at the ceiling and thought happy thoughts, or lacking that, pondered what it's like to be a zebrafish.
The first two shots were not that bad. After all, that's when all the fluid-y, non-worrisome stuff came out (and there was a non trivial amount of it). The last four, however, dealt with what has been dubbed calcification of tissue (aka, hard tissue the nature of which is unknown until you look at it), and those shots hurt, not in the hurt like hell part (certainly nothing compared to C-section post-op pain, or trying to cough out a lung), but in the "oh here goes the stinging and pressure again, lalalala". Waiting for it took three times longer than the actual procedure, thankfully. So in about an hour and 2o minutes, it was all done.
I'll hear from the endocrinologist about what's next in a week or so. The swelling and fluid might or might not return, and of course, I might be back for other biopsies when/if any other nodules decide to grow. That's actually the part that scares me like fuck. Not that there is something terribly wrong with me (there isn't*), but the dawning realization that routine neck ultrasounds and biopsies are eventually going to be the new normal. One biopsy I could deal with, but if this ever becomes a routine thing, it will be a total pain in the neck (literally and figuratively), even if temporary.
Could be worse, though. I could be waking up from surgery and hear it told that a cyst that was being biopsied just exploded while being cut open and that the clean up took a while, and having to be a zombie on pain meds for a few weeks and numb in the neck for months because most of the nerve tissue wherever had to be repositioned for cleaning purposes (yeah, that really did happen, I kid not). A band aid and a couple of days of bruising? I'll take it.
* Besides, the only way I could get through writing a will to safeguard the future of our children once we did have children, and not dwell on the idea that I might not be there for them someday was to decide at the time the will was written that it will never need to be used because I plan on living forever.