Saturday, October 6, 2012

Lumps and Bumps - Sliced and Diced

Today I can finally let my breath out. Whooosh! I've been holding it for a while. Just over a month ago I noticed that my underarm was swollen. I consulted Dr. Internet and was told to wait for a few weeks to see if the swelling, most likely a swollen gland, went away. The swelling virtually went away, but I could feel, deep in the tissue, a dense nodule. So... off to the Doctor I trotted. She felt it and sent me for an ultrasound. The Radiologist insisted that I also have a mammogram. Today was my day of reckoning. On the one hand, I felt very positive about this and knew it was going to be some benign lump... but on the other hand - one never knows. That little sneaky devil, Doubt, kept creeping in causing moments of concern and an occasional sleepless episodes where I would invasion all manner of terrible things.
The nodule is a calcified lymph node. It is one of several, likewise calcified, in the string of lymph nodes that live in one's arm pit. It seems I am turning to stone! The Radiologist asked if I lived in the midwest. Apparently Histoplasmosis is endemic, there, and one of the lasting effects of this disease is calcified lymph nodes. I have not lived in the mid-west. After easing my anxiety by saying the lymph nodes can stay there and are doing no harm, the Radiologist shook his head in puzzlement. Not only did I not live in the mid-west, but only the lymph nodes on the left side of my body are calcified.

Lumps & Bumps - They look like something out of the twilight zone!

Regardless of the puzzle, I left the imaging center feeling lighter in spirit than when I had arrived. My worst fears have been assuaged. What now? What to do next? Is it important to find the cause of this strange condition? Is it a strange condition? I guess I'll learn more when I have a follow-up appointment with my Doctor in November.
Maybe all of this hasn't bothered me so much, today, because of 'the tooth'. Have you ever noticed how when you have some sort of problem, it is often forgotten, or at least loses significance, when you acquire another? Take, for example, the throbbing of an annoying cut on your finger where you stupidly mishandled a knife while slicing tomatoes, and then, the pain of that is erased when you drop a bottle of mayonnaise on your toe? Well, 'the tooth', is that new sort of pain that is eclipsing the other and taking my mind off any level of concern, at least for the moment! The tooth has a long,  sordid history. It began, innocently enough, with a diagnosis of a strained ligament. Then, it turned out the tooth was toast. I had to have an implant. It has been a lengthy procedure. Finally, just over a month ago, the process was completed when my shiny, new porcelain crown was installed on the implant hardware. Everything seemed fine until I went back to the dentist last week to have the bite adjusted a bit. This is almost a rerun of the original story, except that implants don't have ligaments, and thus don't adjust to subtle changes in your mouth, and so they can be too high and feel like they are hitting too hard on the opposing teeth. The Dentist pared off millimeters of the porcelain. The bite felt better. Then, he showed me the X-ray. He pointed to a little white bump below the gum line. He explained that he thought it might be some cement left from putting the crown on the implant. He couldn't reach the cement with his pick, and suggested insisted I see Dr. Perio (whom you met in a recent post) who did the implant. He emphasized the importance of doing so, as the cement could lead to bone loss, which could cause the failure of the implant. So, I trotted over to see Dr. Perio. He began by saying how special my dentist was to admit to having caused a potential problem. He said it is very rare for a Dentist to do so. Not only that, the Dentist was footing the bill. But it is my mouth - and my anxiety - and my pain! Dr. Perio numbed the area around the tooth, sliced the gum from the east, sliced the gum from the west, and scraped off the offending cement. He put in some bone graft material and stitched me back up. Oh... the pain. Not to mention that I feel like I have a Walrus mustache in my mouth with stitches hanging over the tooth!
So today has not been on the top ten list of great days in retirement. I've been poked and prodded and squished. I've been sliced and diced and stitched. I think I'll sit in my chair and pout in my own misery. Tomorrow will be better, for sure!


  1. Poor Dreaming! Good news that the lump was just a bump, but odd that it is a Midwest problem. I have never heard of that and now I feel a need to look into it, being a Midwesterner my whole life.
    Sending feel good thoughts your way!

  2. Yikes, what a tough time you have had. Hope you feel better.

  3. I'm so happy that your bump is just that, a bump :) Sorry about the tooth thing, I know what a pain they can be literaly!

  4. May tomorrow be a happier day

  5. I had the exact same thing! A calcified lump under my arm, just at the top of my breast. I had it for many years and finally had to have it taken out in 2009 because when my breast would swell, the lump would cause a lot of pain because of it's location. So I just had it removed. I'm so glad that's all it was - and that you stayed positive, but I know how scary it can be. I was actually told by a stupid doctor "it was likely breast cancer" before they even knew! I went for my biopsy and the doctor said, I'll break the needle if I stick it in there, it's like a rock! Mine was on the right side only.

    I hope you relax a bit, pouting is fine, but also spoil yourself a little bit, you deserve it!

  6. Your recent posts re medical issues remind me why I avoid doctors and medical treatments. Lots of $$$ and often not much relief! Also, I am convienced that the practice of medicine is an "art" rather than a "science" --- and I have taken many science classes and have lots of common sense, which seems to be in short supply among some medical professionals.


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