Friday, February 3, 2012

Welcome Back, Ms. Frankenstein!

I recently posted about a lymph node on the left side of my neck that had been swollen, disappearing, then it showed its ugly face again yesterday. Today, that lymph node had friends join her. Please excuse my ignorance, but I had no clue until today that you have lymph nodes behind your ears. Huh. Swollen lymph nodes cause me concern because it could mean infection or the big C. I can handle swollen lymph nodes for a few days because they usually go away. However, today I had a suspicious "area" pop up that caused me to call both sets of doctors: The Wizard in New York and Dr. Bad Mustache in Roanoke.

When I explained the symptoms--swollen lymph nodes, the sensation that my throat is closing, and the suspicious tumor/vein looking thing, she immediately called me back and said, "How fast can you get here?" Off I went.

I went first to the lab for blood work (no results yet...they aren't as fast as Sloan Kettering!) and then headed over to see Dr. Bad Mustache, who I had not seen in a year. It was nice catching up with him and hearing how interested and up to date he was on my medical history. Sloan Kettering has been sending him reports and it looks like he actually takes the time to read them. (Maybe he read them right before he walked in, either way, he knew who I was and what I am doing.)

Anyway, Dr. Mustache looked at my neck and said, "No need to ask why you are here." Ding. I do look like Frankenstein! At first glance, he was concerned that it was a blood clot. Once he started pushing around (ouch!) and actually examining me, he believes that the reason I am having all the inflammation is actually due to a response to the drug I may possibly be receiving. He said that although it hurts, this swelling is a good side effect.

Here is how he explained it: Yervoy is an immunotherapy, we want it to boost my immune system into kicking melanoma's ass. Because I have so few lymph nodes remaining in my neck due to the 3 surgeries, the lymph nodes that I do have left have to go into overdrive. He believes that the swollen nodes are a sign that my body is responding to the drug.

As far as the swollen tumor/vein looking thing? It is NOT a vein. He is not 100% sure what it is... He said that I have a lot of damage to my neck due to the surgeries and that we will keep an eye on it. If it is not better in a week, it will be ultrasound time.

Until then, I am going to chill out on the couch, wear a scarf, and eat things like mashed potatoes and ice cream. I am hoping soon I will no longer feel like someone is trying to strangle me.

Oh, the joys of Hotel Melanoma.

Do. Not. Tan.

1 comment:

Alexis Anderson said...

Sorry to see this! Feel better soon!