It's late Sunday night when I go to change the dressing over my wound. I'm pleasantly surprised to see some small scabs forming in the center of the wound. I get a fresh piece of mesh to lay over the top of it, and start to smooth the edges of the Mepilex onto my skin. Except, in the corner, its not smooth.
What the heck? Did I turn the edge of the bandage under by accident. I'm not even watching with my eyes, my fingers accustomed to the landscape of my misshaped chest.
I look now, running my fingers over the corner again and notice the bandage is smooth.
But my skin is not.
Directly above the corner of my bandage... is a lump.
My fingers frantically fly across the contour of it, over and over again.
Is this just "scare" tissue? You know, the remnants of a scar that "scare" you when you first encounter it? Or is this a cyst perhaps? Some swelling?
I call for Superman to check. Without much in the way of navigation from me, his thick fingers deftly go right to the same spot. He feels it too.
There isn't much more to be said. I assure him I will notify the nurse at infusion.
Grandpa Jim has put clean sheets on our bed and I am thankful for that kindness as I sink into my own bed.
I've always known that old mastectomy site that refuses to completely heal, must serve some greater purpose that I am unaware of.
Tonight it seems, its caused me to find a lump.
Its Tuesday, at infusion when I address the lump with my nurse. She too finds the lump instantly. Its almost a relief that I'm not just making it up in my head. She makes note of it for Dr. Panwalkar.
Later, Dr. P's nurse, Andrea calls.
They would like to see me. The earliest Dr. Panwalkar can see me is in two weeks. But I can see his PA, Erin, the next day.
I busy myself. I'm not really here, nor there.
Erin gets down to business right away and thoroughly examines me. As she feels for the lump, I ask, "do you think it could be a swollen lymph node?" No, I really don't think it could be in this area, she says. I ask what the next steps may be. Ultrasound, she says, maybe with biopsy or mammogram. Or CT scan perhaps? She doesn't really know. But she'll need Dr. Panwalkar's assessment first.
In mere seconds he is popping his head through the door. There is no big greeting, no handshake. But concern crowds his voice and corners his eyes when he talks. He is soft spoken and sparse with his words. "This is new? All of a sudden?"
Yes. I reply.
He quickly finds the spot and probes all the way around it. I decide to ask if he thinks it might be a lymph node. His eye brows shoot up a bit, and he looks at me again and says "yes, I do think it could be a lymph node."
Has your new insurance kicked in? Yes I reply- a little surprised he remembers that tidbit.
PET, he says, We'll scan.
I don't remember his quick exit.
I am left sitting and pondering his choice. It slowly occurs to me. Its not the lump he is most concerned with right now. He wants a broader view, to see what else might be amiss.
Erin concludes the visit.
We are awaiting insurance approval to schedule the PET scan.
Dory:"Hey Mr. Grumpy Gills... When life gets you down do you wanna know what you gotta do?" Marlin:"I don't wanna know what you gotta do." Dory:"Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim." Marlin:"Dory, no singing." Dory:"Ha, ha, ha, ha, ho. I love to swim. When you want to swim you want to swim." Marlin:"See I'm gonna get stuck now with that song... Now it's in my head!" Dory:"Sorry."