Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Here we go again

My sixty days are over and today I attended the Outpatients' ENT clinic where I saw a charming ENT registrar. He looked at the PET scan done in June (the one that was so spectactularly good that it led to my lung surgery)and decided to do, there and then, a small needle biopsy. This involved plunging a needle into my neck which wasn't unpleasant, although the subsequent jigging up and down of the needle wasn't very nice. He sent me for blood tests and said he'd schedule an ultrasound scan. Then I'm to return in three weeks when he'll have a much better idea of what's going out.

You may well not have realised, because this blog didn't start until I had my diagnosis, that I've already suffered a thyroid biopsy. Because the first PET scan I had done - in October last year - showed a glowing thyroid as well as a section of my lung, the chest physician first scheduled me in for a thyroid biopsy. However this didn't take the form of a quick needle in the neck as today. No, it involved a hospital admission the night before, a procedure the following day under a local anaesthetic (but I presume a much larger needle), and then a second night's stay. The protocol for such biopsies instructs 24 hour observation of the patient, in case of haemorrhaging. So that's a total of three days in an NHS bed.

That biopsy told the doctors nothing - it was "inconclusive". I then went on to another hospital where I was investigated for lung cancer, which did prove conclusive. The query over the thyroid was left hanging - unresolved - presumably because in all eventuality, as I wasn't going to live that long, it wasn't considered important enough.

And so the lung episode over and done with, I have chosem myself to continue to pursue the thyroid issue. This hasn't been automatic. In fact there was no procedure whatsoever it would seen for dealing with it. When asked the oncologist he said I had to go back to my GP and ask him to refer me to the ENT guy. So here I am with the obvious question on my lips:

"Why last year did I spend three days in hospital having a biopsy which proved nothing and wasn't followed up, when a simple fine needle biopsy in the clinic might have provided the same - or maybe a more conclusive - answer?"

Mr ENT Registrar did not answer nor comment. I still want to know though I wonder who to ask next. I have a follow up appointment with the chest physician in December - I'll ask him then.

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