Wednesday, May 19, 2010

#165: In Which Pennsy Learns Something Might Be Wrong

Early in March, I trimmed my beard. It had gotten pretty shaggy, and Spring comes early to the Bluegrass. I had noticed a swelling in my neck, but figured it was just an inflamed lymph node caused by a cold or my lousy gums. They ache from time to time, but the pain always gets better eventually. Once my beard was cropped though, I looked in the mirror and was pretty surprised at just how big this swelling was. I was used to feeling them. I was not used to seeing them. Mrs. P confirmed that something was certainly out of order and we made an appointment to see the family doc.

I was expecting penicillin and the usual spiel about how I need to lose weight. Instead, Dr. Hall ordered a CT scan and a consultation with the Ear, Nose, and Throat surgeon. She also ordered a fine needle biopsy.

A few days later I had the scan before work, then waited a week to get in to see the ENT surgeon, Dr. Colin. His RN took a long medical history from us and read my vital signs. Pretty standard stuff. Dr. Colin came in and the room turned into a tech lover's paradise. First he looked in my ears, nose, and mouth using one of those little flashlights that they all have. Then he screwed this optical cable gizmo together and shoved a camera up my nose, through the sinuses, and down my throat. The weirdness of this sensation was far outweighed by the coolness of the experience of seeing my innards on a big color screen. He even showed me my vocal folds and let me see my voice-box working. We saw my pharynx, my tonsils, all the little parts I had studied in school as an actor and singer. It was awe inspiring. I expected him to withdraw the endoscope and show me where I had Mono or Strep Throat. Instead, he turned to the computer monitor and brought up the images from my CT scan.

As he scrolled through the pictures that represented my head and neck had I been shoved through a deli slicer, his cursor came to rest on a large bulging mass on the right side of my neck. It looked like a balloon with a rubber band wrapped around the middle. I had never seen a CT scan before, but Mrs P had. She spent a year working as a social worker with Hospice and had helped lots of patients through meetings like this. I heard her catch her breath. She was seeing something I didn't.

Dr. Colin showed me how the mass was not just a lump on my neck, but actually extended all the way in to my throat. My jugular vein and carotid arteries were being pinched in toward my spine and my windpipe was deflected severely to the left. He told me that it seemed to have originated in my Tonsil. We would need the PET scan to be more certain, but there was a real concern that this might be "cancerous." Mrs. P asked some questions I didn't understand, and we thanked the doctor for his time.

The ladies at the reception desk were very nice about setting up the PET scan and a follow-up visit. They also cancelled my biopsy. No time for needle pricks. We left with the distinct impression that time was becoming precious.

No comments:

Post a Comment

There was an error in this gadget

Label Cloud

mrs p Cancer running lifting weights LIVESTRONG at the YMCA treadmill weight nutrition depression God Living Strong at the Y injury YMCA dogs mom walking radiation Weight Lifting cardio friends program theatre body fat long slow run love One for the Five aches elliptical race resistance bands stretching 5K Acting Jeff Galloway chemo doctor family mental health Church Pittsburgh Marathon bluegrass fundraising inspiration patience personal trainer recovery Flying Pig Marathon Jesus Johns Striders Race Report Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon bipolar frustration kentucky knees measurements morning promatx yoga Christmas Marathon Pennsy's Greatest Hits cats clothes heart rate hope lance armstrong life molly poetry rest side effects steelers swimming 10K Actors' Guild of Lexington Blog CT Scan Coach Carrie PET Scan cross training exercise fear feeling good groin healing ice cream livestrong nausea powerlifting run/walk/run stair climber surgery Cancer Fighter Cold Gear Hills Iron Horse Half-marathon Job LSR Mum Nike+ Shamrock Shuffle 3K achilles advent arboretum bmi bodyweight exercises changes charity circuit training cycling dad deadlift diabetes encouragement experts give up goals horses interval training jake kettlebells lean body mass new rules of lifting pacing personal best plateau prayer recumbent bike research shoes sleep strength teeth therapist toe video Blood Easter Endurance Funeral Garmin 405 Homecoming House Insurance Juicing Keeneland Legacy Night PR Pennsyltucky Pittsburgh Relapse Run This Town TRX Training Values aflac arnold ben-gay bench press chafing christian compression shorts dentist dreams faith fat fatigue foreclosure good day half marathon hospitality javarunner john's run/walk shop lou schuler new year nurse pains peg tube powercage progressive resistance. racing rain rapture reboot runners world squat sun block supplements team pennsy tired weather will rogers work #3rightThings 9-11 ACSM AIDS Aquaphor Blessings Bluegrass 10K CSN Cancer Boy Cedar Hill Charles Dickens Class of 82 Classes Colby Road College Compassion Courage Crowdrise Cystoscopy Dee Diet EFM Epiphany Fall Fartlek Fat Man Fat Sick and Nearly Dead Frankfort Gadgets Gramma Grampa Gratitude Grete Waitz Guest HITT HIV Hell Holding Hands Holy Saturday Homer Horse Capital Marathon IVP Ice bath Jacuzzi James Taylor Jesus wept Joe Cross John Izzo Joy KY LaDonna Leg Day Lent Lessons Lexington Little Pennsy Mental hospital Midsummer Night's Run Mindfulness MobileFit Negative Splits Old Frankfort Pike Pilates Podrunner Pre-race Priorities RICE Railrunner 10 Miler Random thoughts Resurrection Reunion Run Bob Run Run Report Run Review Run for the Gold 3K Running Form Running for Sabrina STUPID Shakespeare Skip Brown Speed Spinning Summer Of Speed Sunrise Supersets Tao Te Ching Thank You The Wall Three Right Things Toxic Passenger UK UK basketball Urine Urologist Victory Walk of Shame Warrior Westminster Whole Foods Wind Words Zumba ace bandages addicted agony alwyn cosgrove america anger antibiotic anxiety awake back baseball blood clots blood pressure body glide bonhoeffer books brad calories chinup colonoscopy consistency crazy cycles dentures dip dr. google dumbbells elevation facebook failure farts feet fight for life fitness forgiveness frankenpennsy fun getting started glucosamine glutes goal gremlin grenz grumpy hair hamstrings hiccups high school hot ice incarnation indian food jogging john lennon joint legacy trail liniment lunges machines maker's mark mapmyrun.com medicine ball meds mercy motivation motley fool music nature neighborhood new balance nike noah numbers pennsyltuckian periodization persistence phlebitis postmodern prison professional boundaries progress psychiatrist pullups pushups quads ramble rememberance renewal road running ronnie coleman rowing safety sauna scan-ziety sexy shopping shorts shower sick sleepless snow socks spandex star trek statistics steam room steroids stiff strained muscle strap strength training supination support surgeon survive swackett swiss balls table technology tempo terry bradshaw testicular torsion text thai food that's fit the five thighs walk breaks warm up water fitness water jogging weak wedding ring wellness wife winter workout writing yardwork