Saturday, December 29, 2007

Mixed Emotions...

As I sit here writing this, I can't help but think about what could have been & am so thankful that it's not. But...what could've been keeps popping into my head.

Let me back up a little & explain. I've had a "lump" (for lack of a better word) in the palm of my right hand for the past 3 1/2 ~ 4 years that started out the size of a lima bean. I had an MRI done on it in October, 2004, & it was diagnosed as a ganglion cyst which is described as the following: "A ganglion cyst is a tumor or swelling on top of a joint or the covering of a tendon (tissue that connects muscle to bone). It looks like a sac of liquid (cyst). Inside the cyst is a thick, sticky, clear, colorless, jellylike material. Depending on the size, cysts may feel firm or spongy." In essence, it was nothing to worry about ~ not cancerous, etc ~ & no surgery needed to be done unless the thing grew and/or gave me pain or limited what I could do.

Well...the "cyst" has since grown to a lump nearly the size of my entire palm. It either hurts me or makes my hand & fingers numb & tingly; it has gotten to the point where it does limit what I can do with that hand (& being a righty doesn't help matters). I went to a orthopaedist near where I work on December 17th ~ he's partners with the head of the department in the local hospital & another doctor ~ & point blank, with little feeling or concern & after only feeling my hand for a couple of moments, told me that it's either a lipoma or a lipocarcoma. I asked him, "lipocarcoma, that sounds like cancer. Is that what you're telling me?" "Yes," he said. I then asked him, "well, what does that mean? What happens?" I fully expected him to say that the lipocarcoma (or tumor) would be removed & I'd have to go through chemo and/or radiation. All he said was "you'd lose your arm." It hit me like a ton of bricks...I didn't know what to say. No mention of chemo/radiation; no "you'd only lose your arm in a worst case scenario;" just plain & simple "you'd lose your arm." WTF??? He then told me that I'd need to have an MRI done & we'd go from there.

I've since had the MRI done & went back to the doctor's office, but saw the 3rd partner in this practice. He was very kind & gentle & told me happily that it wasn't cancer & was indeed either a ganglion cyst or the lipoma (which is described as "A lipoma is a common, benign tumor composed of fatty tissue. Lipomas are soft to the touch, usually moveable, and are generally painless. They grow very slowly...") & that it could be removed easily since it was all sitting on top of any tendons & arteries/veins.

Sooooo....this Friday, January 4th at 10:40 am, I check into the hospital for same day surgery on my hand. I won't be under a general anesthesia thankfully. They'll give me some medicine to make me a little drowsy & a little loopier than I normally am & then put a "block" in my shoulder to numb the entire arm. I'll have a whole bunch of stiches, starting in my wrist & travelling up into the palm of my hand & I'll have to wear some sort of brace on my hand/wrist. 7 ~ 10 days later I'll have the stiches out & start to exercise my hand. I'm so happy that the nice doctor will be doing the surgery & that he's also a plastic surgeon, so that the scars won't be too hideous. I'm so thankful to whoever was watching out for me from up above that it wasn't cancer & yet so angry at the one doctor for telling me this & in the manner he did it ~ I had to go through Christmas with these doubts & worries in the back of my head.

I haven't mentioned any of this before now because I didn't want to alarm anyone needlessly. I guess I didn't want to think about more than necessary myself either. I wanted to know exactly what I was dealing with before I wrote about it here. I also haven't wanted to make a big deal out of it & draw attention to myself ~ that isn't even the point of my posting now ~ just wanted to fill you all in. I do post this with a picture of blue skies because I feel like there is some sort of a silver lining to the cloud that has been following me for just over a week.

I'll try to post again before the surgery, but I'm not sure if I'll have the time. I will update after the surgery, but give me some time. I'm not sure how much pain I'll be in or even how well I'll be able to type.

In the meantime, I wish you all a great 2008! Hugz to you all!!!


Becky said...

Wow Liz... it pains me that you went through that extreme fear needlessly. Honestly, where did that doctor learn his bedside manner! That was the WRONG approach for potential news like that. Sheesh! I'll cross fingers and toes that the surgery goes smoothly and you have no problems during or after. I have a ganglion cyst my forearm. It sometimes hurts if I press on it. So I don't press on it. LOL But luckily for me, it hasn't changed size or shape in many years. The same can't be said for the lump in my arm pit. My doc told me 2 years ago that it wasn't cancer and probably a "fatty cyst". Well...last new years it blew up like a balloon while I was out of town visiting relatives. I couldn't get to a doc or hospital until I got home, but by then the infection had found a channel out of my body. Yuck...that thing must have drained for 3 weeks straight. I still need to see a doc about it since there is still a small lump left and it feels kinda jagged. Hard to explain. Here it is, almost a year later. I'm so bad about doctors. @@ at me.

Phinney said...

This pretty much comes as a shock to read, you gave us really no clue that you were going through something as scary as this! I'm glad that you shared the news now. That first Dr. needs a good slap, man. What a JERK!

I am here for whatever you need. You know that you can email or call WHENEVER you need to or want to. Just want to take your mind off things for a bit?? Give me a ring. We can talk about whatever silly things come to mind. I do hope that you will let us know as soon as you can after Friday how you are feeling. I will be praying for you and worrying just a bit, too, 'cuz that's what I do! Do take care, have a WONDERFUL New Year's celebration, and be in touch soon, ok??? I love you, my dear old friend!! xoxoxo Phinney