Friday, February 26, 2010

Mystery Lump

A couple of months ago I noticed a small lump on the right back side of my neck right at the hair line. Every once in a while I'll get a swollen gland and they normally go away, but for some reason this one was sticking around. I felt it every once in a while and when it was the size of a small marble I finally mentioned it to my physician, Dr. Eads. His first thought was to send me for a CT scan but then he decided to give me a round of antibiotics for two weeks to see if it was some sort of nasty infection. After the antibiotics the lump was still there. Dr. Eads then decided to send me to an ENT, Dr. McNellis.

At this point in time I had developed a rash that looked a lot like ringworm that was directly over the lump.

Just because it's a ring doesn't mean it's a worm!

I initially put Eucerin on it and then moved on to triple antibiotic ointment and then benadryl. Robin finally got me some Tinactin and that seemed to help a little. Dr. McNellis asked me if the rash came first because apparently a rash can cause gland and lymph nodes to become infected. I told him that I've had the lump for several months and the rash for only a few weeks and had also developed another rash on my left hip. At that point the Dr. sent me down the hall for a CT scan. After the scan he wrote me a couple of prescriptions for my horrible allergies, scheduled me for allergy testing and also referred me to a dermatologist.

A couple of days later I went to see the dermatologist, Dr. Hannegan, who took a sample of both rashes and told me that they were fungal, but not ringworm. She gave me even more prescriptions and a follow-up appointment.

A week and a half passed by and I got a phone call from Dr. McNellis's scheduler, Michelle. She told me that Dr. McNellis had her schedule a biopsy of my lump at St. Francis Hospital. Um...what?? I was really surprised that I had not received a phone call from the doctor himself to discuss the results of the CT and now all of the sudden I am scheduled for a biopsy?!?

The biopsy was yesterday afternoon at 1pm. I was told to arrive between 11:30 and 12:00 and to also make sure I had no food or drink after 6am. Being a diabetic I was a little concerned about not eating because I tend to get nauseated if I don't eat on schedule. The morning was really rough because I drink a ton of water throughout the day. The worst part of the day was no coffee! Also, that morning at work was the service awards and they bought bagels, fruit and juice for all the employees. I just sat there swallowing my own saliva to keep my throat moist. It was sheer torture.

Robin came to pick me up at 11am and we drove to McNellis's office to pick up the CT disk to take to the hospital. I asked her to bring my laptop because I wanted to see the image. We loaded it up and you could definitely see a mass. I pirated a copy of the CD (which they ended up giving back to me!) to my laptop and we headed over to St. Francis.

After I was checked in they brought me to get my vitals and then to a prep room where I changed into a hospital gown. A nurse came in to put the IV in my arm and asked me a billion questions. They finally allowed Robin to come in and that was really a relief since the feeling of sitting a hospital room is one of the loneliest feelings in the world. Also, everywhere I looked there was Jesus! I had to remind myself that I was at St. Francis! I loathe hospitals for the most part and seeing Jesus didn't make me feel much better!

Robin and I chatted and goofed around and she took a picture of me with her iPhone

My super sexy hospital gown!

After a long wait. transport finally showed up to bring me downstairs. I was really confused because when he came in the room he said "You going to ultrasound?" and I said "No" and he said "Yes you are" - Huh?? He took me to a small room that had two nurses and a doctor. One of the nurses did an ultrasound of the front of my neck and then sent the images to the doctor.

A few minutes later the doctor came back in and he discussed with me the procedure that was going to happen. I was so confused because everyone was talking about a thyroid biopsy and I wasn't sure how that was related to the lump in the back of my neck! I asked him and he said they weren't related and then went on to say "sometimes when you look at something you end up finding something else!" He told me that I had a large amount of calcification's in my thyroid and that is what they would be doing the biopsy today. I was so confused. If this is what Dr. McNellis ordered why did he not call me to discuss this??

They made Robin leave the room and then they prepared me for the procedure. They put a towel under my shoulder so my neck would be high and visible then they sterilized my neck with betadine. The doctor put a drape over my chest and chin so only my neck was exposed. He then gave me a shot of lidocaine which numbed the area. I had asked several people if this procedure would hurt and they all said no. They lied.

After the lidocaine he put a needle in my throat down into my thyroid. The doctor made the comment that he could actually feel the calcification's with the needle. Apparently the calcification's were pretty tough because he DUG AROUND with that damn needle for several minutes. It was so uncomfortable and painful. I could feel the pressure in my throat and started crying from the pain. I really wanted Robin to be there. The whole thing was awful. The doctor ended up taking 3 specimens and told me that I should expect the results at the beginning of the week. I was so glad it was over.

They gave me a box of tissues and wheeled me into the hallway where I waited for Robin. I was so glad to see her. The nurse wheeled me back upstairs to a private room where I had to stay for an hour where my blood pressure was continually checked. Robin and I planned on getting lunch after we left so I had the nurse bring me some crackers and ginger ale just so I could get something in my stomach. I tried to nap while Robin read but I was still in pain and uncomfortable with the blood pressure cuff on and IV needle in.

After my hour was up the nurse came in and took the IV needle out. My arm wasn't resting on anything so it was wobbling around and the nurse couldn't get the tape off and all the while she was pulling on the needle... she ended up blowing my vein. Ugh.


Transport brought a wheelchair up to my room to escort me out of the hospital. I really wish that wasn't necessary - I really could have walked! As we cruised (incredibly fast! Robin could barely keep up!) from wing to wing I kept a lookout for Joan, who works at St. Francis. Of course I would have made "Speedracer Wheelchair Driver" turn on the breaks so I could meet my favorite blogger! No such luck... perhaps she was out and about walking our lovely city with her camera!

We finally reached the door and I was FREE! and hungry!!! We had some delicious Chinese buffet and headed home. I was sore, tired and so glad it was over, but I'm still wondering what the hell the lump is at the back of my neck!!

Results to come...

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