What the Heck Is In My Neck???

I never use the word “heck” so please feel free to substitute the most offensive expletive possible.

Because there is something in my neck: a LUMP, actually.  I saw my surgeon last week — no lumps anywhere under the arms or in the breasts.  All clear.  See you in a year.  Two days later I find a bump just above my collar bone. 

Because I have the world’s best GP, she saw me immediately (Friday) and then called around until she found a radiology clinic that would fit me in for an ultrasound.  This morning (Saturday) my husband drove me to the clinic and held my hand until it hurt.  I watched the screen anxiously, but as usual with ultrasounds it all just looks like a satellite view of a bad weather system.  A storm front.  I thought of other ultrasounds.  The one last year for the lump in my breast, yes, but the ones before that for the baby growing inside me too.  The happy ultrasounds.

My GP called the radiologist to get a verbal report, and then called me right back.  We were still in the car.  We pulled over.  She said that if it weren’t for my history, the radiologist would have said the cluster of lymph nodes looks benign.  But…

(The longest three letter word in the english language is “but”)

But because I have had cancer (I insist on using the past tense) and it’s been in my lymph nodes (where it has NO BUSINESS BEING, obviously) this lump will have to be biopsied.

I am holding back the fear and the tears as best I can.  I am trying to avoid the thought “Dear god here we go again.”  I’m trying not to think worst case scenario. I’m focusing on the part where my wonderful, caring, amazing GP said that the radiologist is very experienced and that without my history, he would have confidently pronounced the lump benign. And the part where she said that viral illnesses can cause this kind of swelling sometimes. Nobody has used the C-word for this lump yet. It is totally possible they never will.

So.  Biopsy this week.  Think about something else. Enjoy the weather.  Buy some great shoes maybe? Take a few deep breaths. 

Is 12:30 pm too early for a glass of wine?



Filed under Living with Breast Cancer

5 responses to “What the Heck Is In My Neck???

  1. geminigirl

    Hi Leanne,

    I haven’t been on the net as much as usual, but when I logged in a few minutes ago your blog was my first stop. I’m glad it was.

    I can only begin to imagine how scared and stressed you are this weekend and will be until the lump is biopsied and proven to be nothing. I know the fear of finding a lump and the specialist wanting to biopsy it due to my history. It’s happened twice in the last 9 years since I completed treatment.

    Hang on to the radiologist’s words that in anyone else he would believe the lump was nothing. It’s good he’s cautious and not taking chances with your life.

    I hope you had that glass of wine and maybe a couple of other glasses to keep it company. If you feel like “talking” email me.

    Thinking about you.


  2. l.

    Thanks Gemini. The waiting is driving me crazy. Again. That it has happened to you twice and that you’re OK is a huge comfort. I’m just hanging on to the positives right now.
    I appreciate your words and thoughts so much.

  3. Sandra

    Hi Leanne,
    a few months after my second open heart surgery – the one that worked – I found a lump but in my neck. Because I had spent a lot of time in hospital and things had been going wrong for a while I got worried and went to my GP. After having a look at it, he told me to monitor it closely for ten days and that if it changed I was to call him. Gradually the lump just decreased and vanished (to my great relief!). I really hope yours is one of those. Although it must be indescribably difficult waiting to know I wanted to reinforce the idea that it is, in most people, most of the time, “just a lump”.
    Thinking of you,

  4. l.

    Sunny — THANK-YOU! The more just-a-lump stories I hear the better. I just keep thinking, how could anything cancerous grow when I had all that chemo and radiation and I am still in treatment?? Just-a-lump, just-a-lump, just-a-lump…. this is my mantra.

  5. angela

    Leanne, the waiting and wondering is the worst thing ever. I know this will be just fine, bad things don’t pop up that quickly. You have had the best treatment, it is far too soon for anything nasty. I know how awful it is to wait for results, by next week this will all be behind you. Big hug from me, I know you will have good news!!!! angela

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