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Thyroid Nodule and Enlarged Lymph Node
I am a 23 year old girl, currently in school to become a registered nurse and am almost done. A year ago in May 2021 I noticed a small bean shaped lump in the side of my neck, below my ear. I went to get it checked out and the doctor told me it was nothing- that I likely pulled a muscle in my neck and it would go away.

The lump was very small, soft, and moveable so I wasn’t overly concerned. I spent my summer exercising, working on my flexibility, and eating healthy. In September, I noticed the lump was still there. That was about 4 months later. I got worried and decided to look at old pictures of myself and noticed that this lump has been present since at least July 2020. It has not changed in size. With that I went to the doctor again who told me it could be lymphoma. I freaked out and went to the Emergency Department (ED) at my local hospital.

At the ED, my bloods were taken and they came back normal. An ultrasound of my lymph node was taken, and it also came back normal- benign appearing, with the size being prominent but not technically enlarged (7mm). I was then referred to an Ear Nose and Throat Specialist (ENT).

A week later I saw the ENT who did not seem concerned- he felt my neck and said my lump was so tiny he would’ve overlooked it in a routine exam. He felt my thyroid as well and said that everything felt great- that my lymph node was probably permanently enlarged from an infection I had in the past. I took his word. For good practice he ordered me a thyroid ultrasound in 6 months, which brings us to this past April 2022.

I had the thyroid ultrasound last month, which also checks the neck lymph nodes. My ENT called me to tell me there were no changes to my lymph node besides that instead of 7mm it was now 9mm- but I was sick during the ultrasound so that was likely why. He said that it still appeared benign, and that a 2mm difference is not significant. I was so relieved and thought I was done, however he then told me something very alarming.

A thyroid nodule was found incidentally during the ultrasound. The radiologist reported that it is partially cystic, partially solid, slightly vascular, and measures 1.5cm x 1.5cm x 1.2cm. The radiologist did not mention it’s margins, or if it had any calcifications. He stated that it was recommended to have another ultrasound performed on it in 6 more months to check for any changes.

My doctor told me that it is good the radiologist did not mention if it had calcifications or irregular margins, because those can indicate malignancy in a thyroid nodule. Therefore he likely would have mentioned if they were present, and not have simply recommended an ultrasound in 6 months. I freaked out, so my doctor offered me to get a Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy as those are the gold standard in diagnosing thyroid nodules.

I am worried sick. My biopsy is scheduled in two days (this Wednesday). I also happen to have a nursing exam that day, an hour after my biopsy which I have to attend. My doctor told me not to worry about thyroid cancer just yet, but I’m absolutely terrified.

My thyroid is functioning normally and I have no symptoms- you can’t even see it. I know that thyroid cancer seldom causes thyroid dysfunction so the fact that my thyroid is working normally is actually scaring me in this instance. Although my lymph node appears benign I have read that often times enlarged lymph nodes were many individuals’ first symptom of thyroid cancer- my boyfriends boss had it and that was her first symptom too. I’m absolutely terrified and feel like my life is over, which I know is stupid because thyroid cancer is so treatable to the point that you basically have to win the lottery to die from it.

I’m just horrified about the future and feel like I’m living a nightmare.
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122 Posts

Dear @sparkilygurl,

Im so sorry you’re going through this uncertain time. I don’t have any experience with thyroid cancer so I can’t help you there. You've got some waiting and then it all happens at once (biopsy and exam) and you’re in training to learn about these kind of things which can make it worse.
All I can say is try to focus on the material for your exam and take a lot of deep breaths. Stay away from all the websites because you really don’t know yet. When you do get the results, then you’ll be able to get lots of good info if you need to. Distract yourself with pleasurable activities when you can. Listen to something at night to help you sleep. Eat well. I know, it’s not much to go on. :) Take care of you. Big hugs from Sask. Keep us posted.


2343 Posts

@sparkilygurl Hi…..I read, and re-read your pre diagnosis “intro”…….it all is so challenging….I am sending you strength for Wednesday…..get the biopsy over & done with; and FOCUS on the exam, and doing great! You have worked, and studied so hard, to get to this point…..keep at it! You will be a skilled and kind Nurse !

We are here for you! Period.



#Nurse To Be

@Whitelilies @JenG

Thank you both for your supportive and encouraging words regarding my schooling as well as reminding me to focus on studying and completing activities of daily living to help distract me.

I had my biopsy on Wednesday, which involved an ultrasound. The doctor and ultrasound technician both told me during that they have no doubt this is cancer that has spread through my neck to at least a moderate amount. I took the news well as I already knew this was cancer and am actually looking forward to receiving the results as I know that will be the starting point of my treatment.

The biopsy was painless and I should receive results between 1 and 6 weeks! Hopefully closer to 1!

Of course there is no denying the heaviness of this situation but I am doing better than I thought. I will certainly continue with cooking healthy, exercising, and my stretches! I did my exam after my biopsy and had another exam yesterday- both went well!

I plan to stay active on this site and will continue to update!

Thank you both again for the support, I know this is online but if you could see me in person you would get to see how much it means to me and how far your kind words go!

I wish you both a lovely long weekend!

2343 Posts
sparkilygurl‍ Hi......I am glad both exams went well......Please DO continue to focus on YOU/your health...well being....mental health....eating well...exercising.....all of this IS for knowing you will get through, the treatment plan....you will!!
As you move forward....you will see that....things "settle" a bit.....there may be "waves" of busyness.....but calm can follow too....
Use this "open" time....to be "ready" for the next steps....fill the freezer.....get all pharmacy goods purchased....ie lotions....tummy concerns , advil, etc.....one less trip to any store will be appreciated, when you may not feel like it.....stock up!
We are all here, to support one another.....offer kindness......words of hope....share our experiences, and more.....
With pleasure....
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