Went to the doc the other day because I’ve just been feeling “blah”. I’m tired; seem to have to take deep breaths frequently; doesn’t take much to get out of breath; heart races with little activity; chest feels “heavy”; weird cough/clearing my throat a lot. I went because my mom died of a heart attack at age 70 (whose symptoms were ignored by the medical community because she had emphysema and T1 diabetes and they blamed everything on one or the other). Doc felt a nodule on my thyroid, but at this point is centering on testing my heart first. They’re scheduling me a stress test for next week. She did take some blood to test my thyroid (3 vials!), even though everything looked normal when I had my labs done in December. She did mention an ultrasound to be done of my thyroid, but didn’t schedule anything. With cancer rampant in my family, I’m not sure if I should be concerned or not. From what I’ve read, most thyroid nodules are benign. But I also read that if there is just one, there’s more chance it’s cancer than if there were several. Any thoughts? Experiences?
(Type 1 - on a pump using Humalog - numbers pretty good with the occasional high/low, usually due to my error in counting carbs)
Putertech I was dx with papillary thyroid cancer after three nodules were discovered on my thyroid via ultrasound. It really shocked me! Upon waking up from my thyroidectomy I was told that there were also nodules on adjacent lymph nodes and that these too were removed. They also proved to be malignant, according to the pathology report.
I would suggest that you be as proactive as you can be about this, simply for your own peace of mind. If they don’t push to confirm the presence of the nodule via ultrasound and if it is confirmed biopsy it right away, ask them why not. The reasons may very well be that thyroid cancer is (1) extremely slow-growing, (2) VERY treatable with excellent survival rates. To give you an example, while I was diagnosed shortly after giving birth the surgeon who removed my thyroid told me that had I been diagnosed while I was pregnant they would have just had me wait for surgery and treatment until after giving birth anyway. There isn’t the same sense of urgency with the type of Thyroid Cancer I had. I actually have a friend right now who has had a nodule palpated on her thyroid gland, and there has been no rush to biopsy it.
On the off-chance that thyroid cancer is the ultimate diagnosis, take heart! It absolutely sucks – you need surgery and radioactive iodine treatment which is certainly disruptive to say the least – but most surgeons and other providers will tell you that thyroid cancer is merely a speed-bump, a nuisance. Most just do what they have to do to get rid of it and go on to lead happy, healthy lives.
I am feeling back to normal now and am only 6 months post treatment.
Feel free to ask if you have any questions, and good luck!
Thank you, Laura. Did you have any symptoms before diagnosis?
Sorry for the delayed response! I can’t figure out why I don’t get email notifications when there’s a response to something I typed!
I had had Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (hypothyroid) for many years prior to diagnosis. I was taking Synthroid to replace the hormone my sluggish thyroid wasn’t making, so no, I never really ‘felt’ anything out of the ordinary. I just showed up at the endocrinologist for a routine diabetes appointment, and voila. Lucky ME.
Well, had a thyroid ultrasound done today. She found 10 nodules! Now it’s a “wait and see” until I hear from the radiologist. Probably a week…ugh!
Thyroid cancer is very rare, even with nodules. If you have mulitple nodules, your cancer risk is even lower. Definitely get an ultrasound scheduled, that way they can determine how many nodules you have and how big they are. You may have more than one, but just can’t feel them. Usually if they are 1cm or bigger in diameter, they will schedule a biopsy. This is done with lidocaine and a small needle and is really just uncomfortable and not very painful.
I had a scare a few months ago with nodules. I had a biopsy done and it was negative. My doctor is being really great about it and is having me go for an u/s every 6 months to make sure they don’t get any larger. She said if I wanted to, if they interfere with swallowing, or if they grew that I could get a thyroidectomy. I am opting to wait and see if they are getting bigger and then make my call then. My grandmother did have thyroid cancer when she was 16, so I am definitely staying on top of this!
An imbalance in thyroid hormones can affect your heart rate. If you haven’t had your levels checked since December, I would call your doctor to schedule more blood work. If your doctor doesn’t agree with this, I would find another doctor. After all, it’s your health!
I had an ultrasound done last week. The tech found 10 nodules. I don’t know how big they are (not sure she was supposed to tell me how many I had, as it was). I have to wait for the radiologist to read the scans and get back with me. I am constantly having to clear my throat, so I’m thinking at least the one the doctor felt in her office is probably bigger than a centimeter. I don’t know if I have any family history of specifically thyroid cancer, but we definitely have cancer in the family (my brother, mother, aunt, grandmother, great aunt…). I do know if it turns out to be cancer, it’s a slow growing one and can probably be treated with radiation alone (from what I’ve read). We’ll see…
Thyroid cancers are known to be very slow growing and highly treatable. Meanwhile I think the chances are much greater that you simply have benign nodules.
Best of luck with the radiologist, and please keep us posted here!!!
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is what the doc thinks I have. Going for a needle biopsy on Monday. Should be a simple procedure - done in the doctor’s office. Being diabetic, a needle poke is nothing…ha!
I had undiagnosed, and therefore untreated Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis for about 20 years. When I FINALLY got diagnosed, and sent to an endo (because I had diabetes as well), he started me having regular ultrasounds to keep an eye on it. I had bunches of nodules – apparently, that’s common with Hashimoto’s.
I’m not sure if it was because I went untreated for so long, but I developed a goiter that kept on growing, and finally started interfering with my swallowing, so I had it removed a couple of years ago. The only downside was that I lost the upper half of my singing range, so I can no longer pursue that hobby, but being able to swallow comfortably is not to be undervalued!
It sounds like your doc is following up appropriately – you didn’t mention the results of the blood tests, but that will tell them if you’re hypo- or hyper-thyroid, and also, if he ordered the antibody test, whether you have Hashimoto’s, which is more common among diabetics than in the general population. That’s why they are now recommending that all Type 1’s, including small children, have their thyroids examined, and hormones tested regularly – it’s a cheap test, so why not?
Good luck with this stuff!
Got there fully expecting a biopsy, because that’s what the letter stated - surgeon talked with me - told me I have 6 nodules on the right, 2 on the left and one in the middle, with the biggest being 1.3 centimeters in diameter. He didn’t think it was Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, just a multi-nodular goiter (although, it doesn’t look like I have a goiter at this point). He didn’t biopsy anything because he didn’t feel the need and told me to come back in 6 months for another ultrasound. So, I guess I wait.
My TSH test came back normal. I don’t think any antibody test was taken, not that I’m aware of. Guess I’ll just wait and see how things progress.
I have a multinodular goiter as what the dr. said and he wants to take my thyroid out. I have type II diabetes too and wonder how in the world am I suppose to treat diabetes with no thyroid. I've been living with symptoms to nodules since 2010 and the past few months they've gotten worse. I had 2 biopsies done and they both came back benign. I really want to find other alternatives for dealing with this besides surgery because he said that it's doing what's it's suppose to do and that's why they didn't give me med to treat the problem because they don't want to overtreat the thyroid.
I think you need to see a new doctor. A goiter is a sign that something is wrong. A biopsy can look for cancer, but there are lots of other reasons you can have a goiter. And what is "normal" thyroid function for one doctor is "crazy abnormal" for another. Since something is clearly wrong, it may pay to a specialist, an endocrinologist who specializes in thyroid conditions.
Agreeing with bsc that a second opinion might be a good thing to do.
But on to your question.If there IS a good reason to take your thyroid out, then it's not the end of the world. You replace thyroid hormone, which is slow-acting, with a little pill in the morning and that's all there is to it. It doesn't affect your diabetes treatment, except that if your thyroid hormone is at a normal level, then your BGs will behave better, too. And you will feel a lot better.
So go get that second opinion, and then remember that thyroid disease, these days, is easily treatable for most people. Good luck! From a fellow thyroid-less person! :-)
I've called my insurance and my primary care dr office to see who else they use for their endo for diabetes and thyroid and they only have the doc that I complain about. So they have to send me outside my medical group to get a 2nd opinion. I finally can do something about it besides taking out the thyroid. They always say that I shouldn't worry because there's med for hormone replacement. Not everyone that take med is successful. It doesn't make since that I have to do my own research to find out why he wants to take it out. I hope I get a different opinion and some help besides surgery. I heard of laser ablation to thyroid nodules, called the insurance to see if they cover it and they said that it was experimental and investigational.
Thanks for sharing that Natalie. I was wondering is it working for you and did you gain any weight or lose any weight? Someone told me that one of their patients had thyroid cancer and is doing well on her med and lost about 30lbs. I 'm glad I found this on this page.
I didn't have cancer; I just had a large goiter that was interfering with swallowing. I had proven Hashimoto's thyroiditis because I had antibodies. So it was not really going to get better on its own. I had been very tired before it was treated and cold all the time, but that has subsided, even though I do run a lower-than-normal body temp -- 97.5. As far as diabetes treatment, it has not made any difference. I still think that moderate exercise and healthy eating are the best you can do, and after that you body settles into whatever weight it was genetically destined to do. Some people complain that T4 alone is not sufficient and need to supplement with t3, but I have not found that to be the case. But it wouldn't hurt for you to investigate that as well. Good luck!