As mentioned previously, I have been known to be something of a hypochondriac. Generally it’s low-level, irritating maladies; a Morton’s neuroma, hypermobility, carpal tunnel syndrome, but this year I have been in the unfortunate position of needing biopsies. Twice.
The first was back in February – a painless lump in my breast. YoungestGirl likes to add an additional complication to breastfeeding by refusing to feed from the left-hand side; it was in this breast a lump developed. I am no stranger to the world of blocked ducts (six and counting), but this did not feel like a blocked duct. When you’re breastfeeding, there’s no point having a mammogram, as it will only show a whole load of milk. Which is great if you’re a dairy farmer, but not that useful for diagnosis. So I went straight for a consultant’s appointment, ultrasound, and then a guided needle aspiration the same evening. A guided needle aspiration is where they use the ultrasound to make sure they’re getting the needle in the right place, and then extract material to examine or biopsy.
Readers, it was cheese.
YoungestGirl’s failure to take milk from my left breast basically resulted in the milk turning into some sort of breastmilk-based cottage cheese (recipes available on request). The results were given to me there and then, and off I toddled. It had been scary, it had been quite painful, it was bloody horrible (quite literally) to express bright pink milk for the next two days where the biopsy had been done, but it was over.
Fast forward to now. I had noticed a swollen gland for a few weeks that wasn’t going down. After a month or so, I saw my GP who said she thought it was a salivary stone, please go away and leave her alone (see also: Morton’s neuroma, hypermobility, carpal tunnel syndrome etc.). She didn’t actually say this, but you know what I mean. A month later, it was still there, so I asked a GP friend what she thought. She confirmed salivary stone was her opinion, so I stopped worrying. Sort of. It was still niggling. Painless, but you could feel a definite lump in my neck, just under my chin.
Conscious that my private health insurance will be expiring soon (another story for another day), I decided to ask my GP for a referral to a private consultant. Off I went, expecting to be told salivary stone, please go away. After looking at the lump (and putting a camera up my nose and then down the back of my throat, which retrospectively seems a bit odd), he said he was sure it wasn’t a salivary stone. He said he didn’t know what it was, but no point in worrying until we found out for sure.
He sent me for an ultrasound and biopsy the same day, but this time I would have to wait a week for results.
And then the fear set in.
Within this seven day period, I was fairly convinced I was going to die. I mean yes, we are all going to die. None of us is immortal. But death seemed reasonably imminent. And in these times, these dark times, I started to think what I needed to do to try and ensure my family’s life went on as successfully as possible.
Readers, it was admin.
I pretty much decided that I would set up a series of post-dated Google Calendar reminders for TheBloke (TM), to ensure he managed the family adequately. They would say things like:
- Get tutor for EldestGirl 11+
- Find piano teacher for YoungestGirl
- Change Brita water filter
I figured that I could successfully project manage the family from beyond the grave. I could even make some little videos reminding them that Mummy loves them lots (but also don’t forget to brush your teeth and it’s never too early to start reading Dickens. Also, tell Daddy to MOT the car).
Thankfully, my family were spared this particular madness, as the lump turned out to be a large 1.6cm lump caused by “foreign material in a lymph node”. Nobody knows what the foreign material is or how it got there, and I may yet need surgery at a later date to remove it. But I’m not dying. Well, I am. Just more slowly than I thought.