A health update

I’m skipping this week’s WWW Wednesdays update because I’m still reading  Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. I’ve read some wonderful books with the kids this past week so I’ll share them with you in next week’s update.

I want to thank everyone who left kind, caring comment after reading Monday’s post. It wasn’t an easy one to write but I felt it was part of the healing process to lay down my thoughts and feelings about the situation. The blogosphere is a wonderful place to find support, no matter the distance that separates us all. I also found out it’s a place where you can get anonymous (i.e. from your in-laws) comments complaining I only tell my side of the story. Well, isn’t that the point of a “personal” blog? Honestly, I could have shared a lot more of the ugly parts but chose not to. Thank you, WordPress, for giving me the power to moderate comments on my own blog.  :-)

Today I wanted to share a health update (and what an update it is…) since I had my visit with the surgeon this morning. The doctor felt some of my concerning swollen lymph nodes and plainly said, “You’re fine, I see no reason to biopsy you. At least not now.” He added my lymph nodes didn’t “feel” like lymphoma and he’s been a surgeon for 30 years. Well, that’s reassuring.

Here’s how the protocol goes, if you ever find yourself in this situation. If your lymph nodes swell in various places, a surgeon will not perform a biopsy unless they are really swollen (as in 2cm diameter or more), or they are swollen and you have what they call lymphoma “B symptoms” (fever, fatigue, night sweats and/or weight loss), or some other signs you could have cancer, for example abnormal blood tests. My blood tests were all normal. He also told me not to worry about the swollen lymph node by my breast because the mammogram showed no sign of cancer. Oh, I feel much better now.  ;-)

So now, it’s a “sit and wait” game since this is what could happen in the future:
– My lymph nodes swell more and/or I get B symptoms
– My lymph nodes go back to their regular size
– My lymph nodes all stay swollen permanently

The mystery illness – Where is Sherlock Holmes when you need him?

Lovely! Why don’t I feel relieved I may not have lymphoma? Because I don’t know what I have. And now I’m even more certain my kids have the same thing. The three of us have some “mystery illness”, which could be a bacterial, viral or fungal infection. With hundreds of possibilities and no other obvious symptoms to help pinpoint the culprit, the doctors probably won’t test us for anything more. Whoever tells you medecine is an exact science, don’t believe them. It’s just a guessing game, crossing off the possibilities as you go down the list.

So the anxious mom that I am will on a weekly basis feel her own lymph nodes thoroughly and do the same for both her kids. Gosh, I need a drink just thinking about it. After six weeks of swelling that is spreading from one area of my body to another, I’m starting to think they’re here to stay and maybe we should make friends.

Have you ever had an illness that doctors couldn’t explain? How did you cope (besides the obvious glass of wine or piece of chocolate)?

24 responses to “A health update

  1. I’m poring your wine right now.

  2. Medicine is far from an exact science. In fact, it is as much an art as it is a science. Once again, I hope all works out for you. And remember, I’ve had my enlarged lymph nodes for years and years now. We’re quite happy together. ;)

    • Thanks for your support! At least, I know what to watch for, even though it really bugs me I don’t know what we have. I asked my doctor to test me for West Nile, so I hope she approves the test. I just don’t like guests that extend their stay without asking first. ;-)

      • Don’t worry–the “guests” leave. It’s just the reactive lymph nodes that stay behind. They’re just doing what they’re supposed to be doing: making antibodies to fight the “guests.” But sometimes those nodes like to stay big for a while afterwards. :)

      • That’s why I think the guests are still here. We had a cold this past week and our neck glands got pretty big but they’re back to normal now. The others, not so much… I just got tested for West Nile Virus today, so we’ll see…

  3. Oh how much I feel for you and the anxiety of these mystery illnesses. With luck it may be some passing virus?

  4. It;s the not knowing that makes us anxious. We can’t start dealing with stuff until we know what it is.

  5. Quite unnerving to go sans-diagnosis :\. Hopefully they are just a few short(er) term squatters and not long term mooches!

  6. I’m glad you don’t need surgery. But it is frustrating not to know WHAT in the world is wrong, isn’t it? Medicine is definitely an educated guessing game.

    • My doctor is testing me for West Nile Virus at my request, but if it’s negative, I think she’ll give up testing after that. My kids’ pediatrician is also choosing the “sit and wait” method, asking to see them again in a month and decide if more tests are needed. I would definitely prefer a set answer than a “we don’t know”.

  7. “We do not know” is awful.

    My son had a mystery illness for several months a couple of years ago. He kept bleeding under his skin and he had large egg shaped swellings around his joints. He was hospitalized several times (once for a week where he spent the whole week in bed/in a wheelchair). They gave him antibiotics several times because they got positive tests back for blood poisoning, but apart from that they had no clue. Over a four month period various illnesses were suspected like leukaemia (that was terrible), a blood clot on his lung, and even tuberculosis.
    He had so many blood tests, x-rays, biopsies, ECG’s etc it was incredible.

    Then one day he just got better again. And that was the end of it.
    It was a terrible time.

    I hope that your swellings go down very soon and that it’s been a strange virus that will just disappear and you won’t have any trouble with again. The not knowing is awful and I know it’s really difficult right now.

    Massive hugs for all three of you form Germany.

    • Wow, that’s awful, Sarah! I can’t believe you didn’t fall apart, what an ordeal… I’m pushing to have the lymph node in my breast biopsied so I can get some answers. I hope they go for it. Otherwise, the head and neck surgeon is willing to biopsy one of my neck lymph nodes but he’d have to use general anesthesia so I’m not too keen on it if I can avoid it. We’ll see. More waiting for now.

  8. Unexplained symptoms are challenging to deal with . . . what we don’t know can “hurt us.” Patience and acceptance will help get you from HERE to THERE.

    As for unwanted, tedious, and unkind comments from in-laws, out-laws, passers-by, and rabble rowsers . . . YAY for being moderators authorized to control the flow!

    Over the years, I have had to put several visitors in the “Time Out Box” because they couldn’t control their poisoned pens and be civil.

    • I’m working on getting a biopsy through a couple of other departments who may be willing to do it, so we’ll see.
      I just love in-laws complaining about me daring to tell my own story on my personal blog, trying to blame me for the failure of this relationship. They clearly don’t know the whole story from the other side, which I really didn’t detail in my post, out of respect for privacy. The only thing I could blame myself for is staying for too long.

  9. Thanks, Milka, for continuing to share your journey with us…and I continue to send my love and healing thoughts…as well as a little package that will be on its way to you next week. :)
    Stay strong…I know it is hard, especially since your little ones are involved.

    • Aw, Vivian, you’re something special, you know? Thank you so much for your caring and support.
      Even though the general surgeon doesn’t want to do a biopsy, I’m pushing for a biopsy of the lymph node by my breast since it’s with another department. My last resort is the head & neck surgeon, who offered to do one in my neck but under general anesthesia. I really would like to get to the bottom of this, so I’m exploring my options, especially if it can help my kids. We’ll see…

  10. Well, I’m certainly glad that the surgeon didn’t suspect lymphoma, but I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be to not have any answers even as you continue to deal with the symptoms. Here’s wishing you strength as you search for resolution.

    • Thank you for your kind words. I’m trying to get a biopsy of the node in my breast, to hopefully rule out cancer and lymphoma, and maybe help pinpoint the infection if it’s the case. I really don’t want to be left in limbo. The head & neck surgeon is offering to do one, so it will be my last resort. I really want to get to the bottom of this.

  11. Hope you are on the mend. Sorry to hear about the events as of late. Try to enjoy the beauty of your surroundings in lovely San Diego and your wonderful children to get you through. I really enjoy your photographs. You are a very talented photographer!

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