Isn't it funny how I say I'm taking a break from blogging--and then DON'T? Had you noticed? Anyway, I wanted to give you an update on my armpit cancer saga. No, I don't REALLY have armpit cancer--at least, not that I know so far. (If you have no idea what I'm talking about and didn't read my earlier post, "I Think Zebras," then click on the title and read it first--it will make this post make more sense, I suspect.)
As I've mentioned in the last few posts, I've had a reoccurrence of the pain that I originally suspected was armpit cancer. You'll probably remember that a few weeks ago, my workers' comp doctor examined me and thought it was most likely a strained or pulled nerve due to the unreasonable exercise demands of my physical therapist. Remember that? Because I'm such a worrier, at the time I asked him if he was SURE it wasn't MRSA (a nasty form of staph infection) that had traveled up my arm and seeded in my armpit--that would have been as a result of the staph infection/sore on my arm I'd had treated back in January. (Yeah, I know he probably thinks I'm nuts.) He promptly reassured me that it was unlikely due to the location and nature of the pain, the ongoing nerve problems in my arm, and the fact that my armpit wasn't red and swollen (and I knew I didn't have a fever--another sign of infection).
Fast forward a couple weeks. The pain had been fading, but around about a week ago, it started coming back. I thought I'd stressed the nerve somehow getting ready to teach the wool class, and I was feeling awfully guilty, although I couldn't imagine WHAT I'd done that I shouldn't have. By Monday, the pain was worse and it felt a bit swollen. Day by day, it got worse and worse, and I kept replaying in my head the whole conversation with the doctor and weighing whether to remain calm, limit my activities, and wait it out, or start to panic again. By Wednesday night, the area looked a bit red. So now it was red AND swollen, something it wasn't when I saw the workers' comp doctor--although the pain felt the same and the location was about the same. So what to do? And--if I WAS going to see a doctor--should I see the workers' comp doc or my regular family practitioner?
Because I'd called in prescription refills to be picked up today at the pharmacy in the building where my family practitioner is located and had also arranged to meet a couple friends for lunch nearby, on a (rather painful) whim, I decided to see if my doctor might have an opening in his schedule this afternoon. As fate would have it, he DID! So, after lunch with my friends, I headed to his office and showed him my armpit tumor. It was hardly reassuring when he told me the first thing he wanted to do was call the surgeon to see if they wanted to do a needle biopsy or send me for a CT or what. So while he was in the exam room with me, my family practitioner called the surgeon, and the surgeon told him to send me right over and they'd stick a needle in it and see what happened. Yay! (Not! That's sarcasm. The last thing I wanted was someone to stick a BIG needle in a rather PAINFUL armpit tumor!)
The surgeon's office was in a larger medical center/hospital a few miles away, so I hopped into the car and drove over there. And what did he do? He stuck a couple smaller needles into my armpit to numb it up a bit and then he stuck the BIG needle in and drained out what seemed like all of my bodily fluids. Ick.
So what do you think? Cancer? I don't think so. Whatever it is will be cultured and he'll let me know. If it gets worse in the next several days, I get to go back and he'll have at it with his scalpel; if not, I'll keep on with the antibiotics. In the meantime, although it's not completely gone, a lot of the pain and pressure has subsided and I feel much better.
Needless to say, I'm awfully glad I finally decided to go to the doctor. As a layperson (albeit one who frequently diagnoses dire diseases in myself), it was hard to decide to seek further medical help after being reassured by a doctor that there's nothing to worry about and that it will just take time to heal. I don't mean to imply my workers' comp. doctor was incorrect or did anything wrong--after all, when he saw me, I didn't have the same signs and symptoms I did today. But I'm glad--sometimes!--that I worry as much as I do because THIS time it prompted me to follow up with another doctor who was able to get me the treatment I needed for this problem.
I won't be surprised to find out it is staph, but we'll see. In the meantime, I'll be taking the antibiotics, which are rather strong and may make me feel a bit icky. If I don't write, it's probably just because I'm resting up and healing and don't have much more to say. But you know me--I'll probably write anyway! Thanks for visiting!