I Have a Goiter

A lump in my throat, the size of a boulder*

jd-and-her-goiter3.jpg

Goiters! They’re not just for old ladies anymore.

Actually goiters are pretty common, especially among women. I’ve been the proud owner of a goiter since I was about 26.

At that time, I was diagnosed with Graves’ Disease, or hyperactive thyroid, which is characterized by shakiness, heart palpitations, weight loss, and an increase in appetite. Yup, increased appetite and weight loss. Those were good, good, unhealthy times. Sadly, as is often the case, my Graves’ turned into Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is hypothyroidism. Low energy, weight gain, and—so unfair!—no decrease in appetite!

Goiter is just another way of saying “enlarged thyroid gland.” My thyroid is about 4 times bigger than normal. That sounds huge, but believe me, there are WAY more huge goiters out there. If you’re curious, just Google-image “goiter” and then see if you can swallow normally for the next 15 minutes.

I take a pill to keep my goiter from getting any bigger and also to regulate my thyroid function. I’d love to blame my excess weight on my slow thyroid, but I just ate 4 donuts in one sitting, so maybe I’m partly responsible.

Speaking of food, have you ever heard of goitrogenic foods? If you think you may have thyroid problems, you’d best be avoiding rutabagas, millet, and turnips.

A goiter, tho lumpy, doesn’t fall into the category of “lovely lady lumps,” I’m sorry to say. I don’t think it’s that noticeable, but my doctor does, and he would love to slice open my neck and scoop it out. However, it’s really not causing me any problems (other than having to chew my food for 10 minutes so I can swallow without choking and dying).

You know, I kind of like my goiter. I think I’ll keep it.

Did You Know?
  • Your thyroid gland is shaped like a butterfly (aww, pretty!)
  • Thyroid disease is an auto-immune disease, which is medical jargon for “We don’t know what causes it!”
  • George H.W. Bush, his wife, Barbara, and their DOG, Millie, all had thyroid problems

If you think you may have a goiter:

  • Don’t panic! They’re common and treatable. Get your big bulging neck to an endocrinologist, who can perform some simple and painless tests
  • Visit Mary Shomon’s site for all things goiterous and thyroidian
  • Consider purchasing some of these attractive neck-wear items to hide that disgusting bulge in your throat:

Please check back for what I’m sure will be an exciting update on my thyroid after I have a suspicious nodule biopsied in October!

Today’s lyrics are courtesy of Dream Theater.

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