So a few weeks ago I noticed that I had a small lump in my neck and naturally started to freak out about it. I noticed it on a Saturday. Miraculously I was able to hold off on tracking down a doctor until my chemo appointment the following Tuesday. When I went in for chemo I had my oncology nurse check it out. She said it felt like the size of a pea and most importantly it didn’t feel like cancer. She said it moved around and wasn’t hard which are two good signs. She then ran it by my actual oncologist (protocol) who was on a little vacation at the time. He got back to me the next day and told me he wasn’t concerned about it. He said it was most likely a ligament or dead cancer cells. He said my lymphnodes would never feel “normal” and that there would always be scar tissue there and that they could get swollen more than the average person’s.
I still wasn’t totally reassured. He said if I was really concerned about it and couldn’t get past it he’d be willing to let me get a PET scan. Of course I took him up on the offer. The PET scan which I got around a week and a half ago came back clear! It detected no cancer and no swollen lymph nodes. I felt better about it…for a week.
I recently found out that a PET scan doesn’t really pick up anything that is smaller than a centimeter. This lump was definitely smaller than that - so of course I can’t help but wonder if it could have been cancer, but it was too small for the PET scan to detect. I know this all sounds crazy to someone who isn’t going through this, but it’s hard not to worry when you find something! Ever since I found out that information about the PET scan I haven’t been able to stop myself from checking the lump out. Now I feel like it might be a little bit bigger, but honestly I can’t tell if it’s all in my head or not.
The chances of it being something horrible are rare because I’m in the middle of treatment and my PET scans have been coming back great, but I still can’t shake this feeling of worry. Even though my oncologist keeps telling me that it feels like a ligament or possibly dead cancer cells I can’t bring myself to trust his opinion. He’s given me no reason not to trust him throughout this whole experience, but for some reason I’m still finding good news hard to accept.
Since I can’t stop obsessing over it I called the oncology nurse today and she passed the message of the lump possiblyfeeling a little bit bigger to my oncologist. He agreed to see me tomorrow and check it out again. I’m really hoping that this is all in my head and he doesn’t notice any difference and reassures me again. I usually feel better after going into the cancer center and getting checked out and being given the all clear. At this rate I should probably bring a sleeping bag and camp out there! I’m so lucky to have such understanding doctors!