Thursday, December 13, 2012

Health Issues

I've never been inclined to hide my health problems, particularly from employers. I understand why most people want their privacy, but I just don't care so much.

That said, I've figured out that my recent health thing has alarmed some folks due to my posts on Facebook. I didn't mean to scare anyone, it was all routine and no big deal as far as I was concerned. So I guess I'll provide the lowdown.

In mid to late September I noticed a little bump on the right side of my neck, below my ear. I didn't think much of it, even when it grew from insect-bite-size to baby-slug-size. I thought, "maybe I should see the doctor," but didn't get around to it for various reasons.

I had my annual physical right at the end of November and when my physician felt the lump she decided it would be better to be safe than sorry and scheduled me in to see a specialist. Then she ordered an ultrasound.

So I went in for an ultrasound. It was completely inconclusive. The two nurses and doctor that were in the room weren't even sure they were looking at the right spot. So the ultrasound doctor decided I needed a CT scan.

So on Tuesday I went in for a CT scan. Here's what I put on Facebook:

Had the CT scan this morning. Had an IV of high contrast something pumped into my arm. It's odd to lie still on the moving bed, with a kindly male voice saying "Breath in, breath out, stop breathing..." pause as the bed moves... "Breathe." The techs were all female, so that voice was the computer. The sound of the spinning equipment was loud, but not horribly so.

It was over pretty quick, and they gave me a voucher for the cafeteria. Since our hospital has AWESOME food I was right in there.

If I wasn't still recovering from this annoying cold (still some dry coughing) it would have been fairly pleasant. As it is, I got to work in good time and was able to get stuff done before taking off for an early lunch. A surprisingly not-bad morning.

Results in a couple of days. I wish they'd been able to resolve it with the ultrasound, but oh well. Such is life.
Next morning I visited the specialist, who showed me my head from the inside. Which is a really odd thing to see. "I want a doctor to take your picture so I can look at you from inside as well."

Ahem. Anyway, when he showed me the cross section of my neck where the lump is, it's moderately clear that there's a really enlarged lymph node there. Large enough to be concerned about. The specialist decided he wanted to slice open my neck, pull out the node in question and do a biopsy on it to make sure it's not malignant.

I will go into surgery on Thursday, Dec. 20. They will put me under for the operation. I have a pre-op tomorrow and a list of instructions for the days leading up to the operation to decrease the chances of any complications.

So, we don't know what the lump is. It could be the dreaded C-word, but it could also be due to a mild infection, like cat scratch fever (which we discussed as a possibility). It could just be a lymph node acting out and looking for attention. The specialist noted that I haven't had any systematic symptoms that would indicate a more serious problem, so I'm trying not to worry.

Except when I stop to think about it, any time you get surgery is kind of serious, whether the result is more terror or relief.

In the meantime, I have the lingering effects of a nasty cold that I'm dealing with that are making me MUCH more annoyed than the CT scan, ultrasound and yes, even the upcoming surgery. I want to be able to sit through a meeting without coughing.


Roger Owen Green said...

Well, good luck with this, whatever it is.

Dwight Williams said...