It just happened. I woke up, got dressed to go for a run and there it was. A large lump on my neck.
I wondered…I had bloodwork done the day before, is this a reaction to that?
What is it? Should I worry? Google? Call the doctor? Go to urgent care? A rush of questions filled my head. I briefly did some research online. It seemed it could be minor, with a possibility for something major. I decided not to worry too much. I already had a doctor’s appointment scheduled for the next week. I called my doctor, told her about the lump. She said,”If it doesn’t hurt to the touch, its fine to wait until my appointment the following week.”. Since I had just had bloodwork done, that would be our first step anyway. We just needed to wait for the bloodwork. I refrained from asking if it was okay to drink wine.
The next day, I woke up, got the kids off to school, then AJ says “take my dermatology appointment today, for peace of mind.”. I’m pretty sure he meant his peace of mind.It was just a general appointment but why not. So I did. Honestly, I was hoping they could fit me in for a facial. I am who I am.
They did not give me a facial. They were more concerned about my lump, which I guess was appropriate. The next week was me running fast through water. Everything happened quickly and slowly at the same time. The dermatologist immediately referred me to get an ultrasound. While getting the ultrasound, the tech left the room. She comes back and says I should get a mammogram and the mammogram tech was available. When does that happen? I got dressed, went back to the lobby, less than 5 minutes later I’m getting a mammogram. Mammogram tech says I should have a breast ultrasound. She walks down the hall, comes back and voila they had an opening. When leaving that ultrasound appointment, which turned into the ultrasound/mammogram/xray appointment, they scheduled me a biopsy. All before my actual doctor’s appointment. Either I have moved to the state with the best healthcare system in the United States or I should be worried. For the time being, I hope I’ve moved to the state with the best healthcare. It actually might be true.
Then the day of my actual doctor appointment. There I sat with my new doctor, with bloodwork results, ultrasound images, mammogram images, breast xray images, doctor’s notes from the dermatologist. notes from the ultrasound tech, mammogram tech and a large lump on my neck. “Hi, I’m Jenny. We just moved here.” I officially have met my doctor. She looks at me, I can see she is overwhelmed. I see her process my situation. She handles it well. She was compassionate, informed, and eager to help.
Discussions of oncology referrals, biopsies, cat scans, and more chest x-rays. I left her office with a new agenda of appointments.
It didn’t matter how many appointments I went to, I knew. I knew from the moment I had the first ultrasound on my neck. The moment, the ultrasound technician moved the wand over my neck and a mass of enlarged lymph nodes surfaced. I’m not a doctor but I have spoken to more than I ever care to. I know the look. I know the concerned look. Its slight. Its easy to miss, but when you know, you know.
I mentally prepared myself. I decided I wouldn’t worry until it was time to worry. Two more months of testing and waiting, testing and waiting. More ultrasounds, xrays, PET scans, underarm biopsy, needle biopsy in the neck, surgical biopsy in the neck….then finally the diagnosis.
I have cancer.
Follicular non Hodgkins Lymphoma. It isn’t curable, but it is treatable. I am hopeful this round of cancer treatments puts it into remission. Then hopefully it doesn’t come back for at least 5 years. Its a bit of a gut punch. Is it fair? Not really. But, it could be worse. Do we have a lot on our plate, ummm yeah. I actually worry more for my husband than I do myself. He has more on his plate than anyone I know. Literally, anyone I know. He is an amazing human.
Follicular Non Hodgkins Lymphoma. Harder to say than Rett Syndrome, but an easier pill to swallow.