Not So Great News

Local friends may have noticed that I haven’t been very upbeat recently. I went to the doctor last month. I’ve already had my annual check-up several months ago; this visit was relating to a specific issue that has cropped up in the last month or two. I’ve been trying to keep it under wraps, but I’m starting to freak out about it a little bit.

I have a tumor. Before anyone other than me freaks out, let me explain something. I’ve had them before. What I’ve had are called lipomas–fatty tumors–and are non-malignant. I had one removed from under each arm back in the 90s. The one first one I discovered–in my right armpit–was so large and unusual at the time it was removed that the doctors took a polaroid of it, which I saw later. It was the size of a grapefruit, and had a freaky, lobed tail that grew out of it, extending behind the interior side of my right shoulder blade. The second tumor was in my left armpit, and was about the size of a golf ball. It was not so freaky-looking, and cropped up a year or two later.

The thing is, there’s a 90%-95% chance that what I have is another one of these. Every doctor I’ve spoken to about this agrees: If you have one, you probably will have more. My GP’s initial assessment last month confirms that this is most likely what I have. I don’t feel at all ill or in pain from it, nor have I noticed anything unusual besides an obvious bulge. Trouble is, these things keep growing: right now, it’s not causing me any problems, but given its current size and the location where it is–close to a major set of lymph nodes–it wouldn’t take much for it to start causing me problems. It must go.

There are two issues relating to this. The first is I don’t deal well with full anesthesia. The two previous surgeries were both scheduled early in the morning as “outpatient,” and I was supposed to go home that evening. However, I was so messed up from the anesthesia that I couldn’t sit up without convulsing with dry heaves even hours after the surgery was over, so they had to keep me overnight in both instances. Despite warnings to the anesthesiologist before the second surgery, it happened again. Perhaps my body is just sensitive to general anesthesia.

The other issue is psychological: I’m not looking forward to the several months of feeling like crap. The saying is that for each hour you’re under general anesthetic, it takes a month for you to fully recover, and in my limited experience I’ve found that to be fairly accurate. There’s also the question of that extra 5%-10%. Growing near those lymph nodes like it is, if the news on this thing is bad, it’s going to be REALLY bad. The chances of this being something other than a lipoma are very, very small, but I can’t stop thinking about it. I’m already depressed, and this isn’t helping.

I go back in for an assessment in about three weeks, and at that time I’m going to ask for them to schedule the surgery ASAP. With luck it’ll happen during GenCon, so even though I was going to miss being in Indianapolis anyway this year, I’ll be in no condition to think much about it. In the mean time I hope you’ll forgive me if I’m slow to respond to things; my mood right now is complicated, and I may not feel much like leaving the house for a while. My supply of spoons is pretty low at the moment.

14 thoughts on “Not So Great News

  1. Yikes, I’m sorry to hear you’re going through this. I hope they can get it removed and tested and calm your (very understandable) fears super soon. *offers hugs*

  2. Bill, Sorry to hear you are going through this stress. There are lots of new anesthetics since the 90’s, so your anesthesiologist may have better options this time around. Ask your doctor next time you’re in – he/she might be able to relieve some of your anxiety about that at least.
    Fingers crossed that it is ‘only’ a lipoma!

  3. Sending you all the healing energy I can, Bill! It’s a sucky thing to go through, but I hope if you put your foot down they can come up with a better anaesthetic. Hugs and hold on there.

  4. I also have had serious issues with anesthesia in the past, and with narcotic painkillers. Hoping that you have good news from the doctors about the nature of the tumor, and that the anesthesiologists are able to come up with a cocktail of drugs that don’t knock you out for days! *hugs*

    • Sorry to hear it, Kathi, and thanks for the good wishes. The narcotics are only a problem for me because they won’t give me any! ๐Ÿ™‚

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