Let me start by saying, “I’m fine.” Though, a week ago, I wasn’t so sure (though I didn’t say anything until now, lest I cause unnecessary worry beyond my own mentality – emphasis on mental). I had a swollen gland below my right earlobe and one on the back of my neck, plus some oozing things on my right earlobe and at the top of my back/bottom of my neck. I debated about messaging Dr. Alla, and held off until Google got the better of me. I emailed her, describing my lumps and bumps + oozing. After a panic-filled, sleepless night, she replied that it sounded like an infection and I should see my PCP.
I did miss Dr. Christopolous. We’d grown quite close over the months of trying to diagnose me. We had even been on texting terms! Heck, she was on vacay the day I got my diagnosis, and called me from her cell (I yelled at her for checking her messages while on vacation). Anyway, it figures I’d have something juicy to show her (get it – oozing – juicy?) now. A checkup would just seem so mundane. Anyway, she looked, palpated, and squeezed, and decided I had a bit of impetigo (on my earlobe) with the added bonus of a sebaceous cyst. I wanted to believe her, but really had a hard time. I took my scrip for Bactrim, and went on my merry way. I mean, what would be the odds that I’d have those two different processes going on? I couldn’t believe that Occam’s razor would lead to any other option than a recurrence of cancer. Google said so. Yes, I know I should know better, but I did look to reputable links, like Mayo and NIH. I always do.
Much to my surprise, I was markedly improved within 24 hours, and mostly back to normal in a couple days. Still, I went for my follow up today (and to finally get my long overdue cholesterol screening done). I figured it would have been rude to show up empty handed, so I presented dear doc with a lump I found on the left side of my torso. Again with the palpating and squeezing. This time she asked me when my next scan is (trigger strangely cheerful feelings of denial). Then, she said it didn’t feel like lymphoma, and seemed more like a lipoma (a what-a?). A clump of fatty cells (hmm… guess that explains my ass?). She popped out to pull up my record on a bigger screen and look at my original CT. I was smart enough to stay off Google, and Facebooked while I waited. When she came back, she told me that it was definitely there on my original CT scan from before my diagnosis, and is definitely a lipoma. Cue tears of relief.
While I feel great, physically (except for funky knees and feet), it’s so difficult not to think every little lump and bump is cancer. The fucker can be in remission. I could even be cured of it, but I wonder if it’ll ever really be gone. Will a swollen gland just be a swollen gland, doing its job? I know some of you reading this have also kicked cancer’s ass. I’d love it if you’d weigh in on this one.
On a lighter note, I have some very interesting hair growth with my bangs. Well, not really bangs, but the beginnings of bangs. They’re weird. On the left (your right in the pic), they’re coming forward – just like I envision for the pixie I’m planning. On the right (your left) it’s kind of swooping up and over. Like it wants to be an Ace Ventura ‘do, or something. I’m a bit worried about what this is going to look like in the coming months. And, I’m now reminded of the struggles I had with bangs never looking right, and why I grew them out. Growing my hair back out is definitely more awkward than shaving it off.
Original Comments from the CaringBridge Blog:
You’re beautiful Deb
—Adrienne Meyer, October 22, 2015
Anxiety can be a bitch! Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
—Susan Rosenthal, October 21, 2015