Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Well, this sucks

The lump I had discussed a while back did not, despite the antibiotics, go away. So, today I visited the doctor again to see what we should do next.

The news is not good.

At the center of the swelling is a small hard mass. Based on his experience and the data available to him, the doctor said in 80% of such cases, the mass proves to be a tumor that they must remove surgically. If it is a tumor, 80% of the time it is benign, which is good.

If it is not a tumor, then the mass is most likely a cyst with a liquid core. Again, though, the odds are only 20% that it is a cyst.

Still, at this point I am fervently hoping for a cyst--something I would never have guessed I would one day be wanting.

The way they will determine the type of the mass is via a CAT scan, which I am now scheduled to have tomorrow morning. I've never had one of those, so it should be interesting. I should leave with a disc of images--images that I, of course, will not be able to read.

On Monday morning, the doctor will read them. He says he should be able to tell definitively if the mass is solid (tumor) or liquid (cyst). If it is solid, he will stick a needle in my face and take some cells for a biopsy to determine if it is benign or malignant. If it is liquid, he will stick a needle in my face, drain the cyst, and then probably hit me with a shot of super-strength antibiotics.

Either way, Monday I get a needle in my face. I'm hoping for one that's draining a cyst.

If I do need surgery, they will end up having to lift up a section of the right side of my face. They will cut starting just in front of the ear, follow the ear downward, curve under it, and then run along below the jawline. I will end up with a rather huge scar. They will then face the delicate task of removing the tumor and probably most or all of the gland without affecting any of the five key facial nerves that run through it. If they mess up, I lose control of that side of my face.

They claim to be very good at this sort of operation. I'll be doing some research, of course, into that claim.

The surgery will require that I stay overnight in the hospital for at least one night, and I will be on sufficiently massive painkillers that I will probably not be able to work or to write. I'll be out of commission at least a week.

If I do need the surgery, I'll have it as close after my next long trip as I can manage, which means as close to November 8 as possible.

I'm not a religious man, nor am I convinced of the power of good wishes, but I'll nonetheless happily accept any prayers or good wishes you would be willing to send my way that this lump is a cyst they can drain and then kill via antibiotics.

Sorry for the bummer post.

7 comments:

Michelle said...

That does suck. I have three things to say: 1) Even though knowledge is power, stay off of WebMD. You will just worry yourself needlessly. 2)Accept that you may not be able to work or write for a bit and try not to beat yourself up for what you will consider slacking (it is called healing). 3) If you do have to have a scar, pass it off as a wound you received from a knife fight while rescuing underage orphans from an human trafficking den in Hong Kong while working undercover. Your scar will seem cool and make you a bad ass.
All kidding aside, the power of positive thinking, prayer and healing thoughts can't hurt. Know your readers are sending all of them.

J. Griffin Barber said...

It does suck, and you do have my very best hopes and well wishes.

Mark said...

Thanks for the kind words, Michelle and Griffin.

Dan Campbell said...

Bleah! I hope it turns out for the best--i.e., least pain / trouble / risk all round. I delayed having my wisdom teeth out b/c they said there was a risk of nerve damage--years later, I had them out, and thankfully, no damage.

*Fingers crossed*!!!

Mark said...

Thanks, Dan.

Lisa Shearin said...

Michelle's right. You can come up with all sorts of bad ass stories about how you got that righteous scar. Though hopefully, the needle in the face will take care of it. Sending prayers, good wishes and karma your way!

Mark said...

Thanks, Lisa.

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