I consider myself a very emotional person... not that you'll know it by looking at me. I won't cry on your shoulder, don't worry. I was raised to tune in to other people's feelings and emotions. It can be draining and it can be great too because I am able to help people through some tough times. It's a great thing to be able to feel people out. A huge downside is knowing other people's suffering and not being able to do anything about it to really ease their pain. The other down-down side is being able to tell when people think I'm an idiot...
I know what a lump in the throat feels like... when you feel someone's pain. You're not going to cry but if you were alone and no one was there to catch you with huge tears streaming down your face you'd be bawling.... Sometime in October, something made me put my hand up behind my ear in that nook that meets the neck - right by my throat. It was a hard, tender lump. I had to keep feeling it to check if it was really there. I compared it to the other side. It was definitely there.
My family doctor, Dr. B., basically smirked at me when I came into his office with my obviously worried face on. He told me it was probably a swollen lymph node. "You've been sick lately, haven't you?" He asked rhetorically, "a sore throat, fever?"
"No." I replied, "I'm worried it could be something bad...."
My doctor looked me in the eyes and said, "What are you worried about? You think you have Cancer?" Pause. Well, isn't that what 99% of people worry about when they feel a lump growing in what should be a lump-free zone? "Well, you can stop worrying. If it doesn't go away in two weeks or if it gets any bigger come back and I'll order a blood test."
So I left his office and waited two weeks. Based on the fact that I'm still talking about this now, 3 months later, you can guess where my story is going. No the lump didn't go away. It got bigger. When I went back to see my doctor again he wasn't at all concerned. He made me feel like I was an alarmist fool wasting his time when he could be treating the world's real sick people. He told me to stop worrying about nothing. This time, his smirk and condescending reassurances left me ticked. I ignored his "advice" and booked an appointment with the Ear Nose and Throat doctor (ENT).
The ENT took my case seriously and sent me for an ultrasound which confirmed that I have a significant tumor growing in my right parotid and a smaller tumor in my left. Next week I'm having a needle biopsy to find out what my deal is.
I know how to Google so yes, I know that 80% of parotid tumors are benign though most need to be surgically removed. I also know that the blood test offered by my doctor would not have provided any insight. I have read every possible medical text available about parotid tumors and swollen lymph nodes. I could possibly diagnose you if you'd let me. So my question to my doctor is, did they not teach you the basics on how to examine a patient presenting with a lump in their neck???? When I get the results of my biopsy... whatever they might be, I plan to present them to my doctor along with a lesson in Googling. I think Google will make him a better doctor than he is today... well unless it's Cancer - and then I'll have to decide whether or not I should sue his arrogant a$$....