During a routine checkup last August, my primary care doctor found that I had an abnormal lump in my neck. She directed me to have a set of tests and an Ultrasound, and the results came back showing high levels of Calcium in the urine and an abnormal result in the Ultrasound image. She referred me to my local endocrinologist Dr. Cheung, and I was advised to have a CT scan. Maybe it was due to the fact that I did not know much about parathyroidism, but I decided not to take any action on it for 3 months. It's interesting because unlike other common diseases, you rarely hear the word "parathyroid" being used in common dialogue. Parathyroid disease was a concept that was completely unfamiliar to me until it was diagnosed in my own body. I turned to the Internet for more information regarding the disease and what I read prompted me to take quick action. Parathyroidism is a serious condition, because if not taken care of in a timely fashion, Calcium will start being removed from your bones, leading to fragile and weak bones. The longer you wait, the more calcium you will lose. What influenced me to get the surgery was the fact that there is no medication that can fix this condition. One of my biggest concerns going in was the safety of the surgery, because surgery is inherently scary especially when it's being done on your neck. However, I was reassured by Dr. Yeh that the procedure would be relatively simple and short - the entire process including anesthesia took around an hour and a half and the actual operation time was 20 minutes.
Everything went very smoothly, and the experience was positive overall.
My advice for others would be to take action and not wait. Even if you don't think it's important, it's better to err on the side of caution and learn more about your condition. Hearing the word cancer usually jolts someone enough to take immediate action, but I want others to realize that lesser known conditions such as parathyroidism can impact your health and quality of life significantly as well. In practice, being proactive may entail booking an appointment ahead of time, because surgeons are busy and there is often a delay between when you call and when you can go in for surgery. You have to take into account the fact that you may not be able to get an appointment for surgery immediately after you make up your mind. In the end, you have to take your health seriously, because if you don't, who will?
Tags: abnormal lump, cancer, CT scan, Dr. Dianne Cheung, Dr. Michael Yeh, Endocrine, Endocrine Surgery, endocrinologist, Endocrinology, endocrinology, high levels of Calcium, parathyroid, parathyroidism, patient stories, routine checkup, Surgery, UCLA Endocrinology, ultrasound, Ultrasound image