Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tumor update

Today, I spent most of the afternoon in the offices of the Duke Health Clinic waiting for and then talking with Dr. Ramon Esclamado. Dr. Esclamado leapt out of the online research as one of the leading surgeons in the country for dealing with tumors of the parotid gland, which is of course what I have.

The wait was entirely unreasonable, well over 90 minutes, but at least I was able to do email from my phone. Eventually, I did get to see the man. Despite my request to send his office my records, my ENT office had not done that. Esclamado listened, asked questions, and checked out the tumor. (The tumor's name, by the way, is Hymie, a friendly name for a benign tumor.) He wanted to be 100% sure it was a Warthin's tumor and wanted his own pathologist to check the tissue sample--hey, this is Duke!--so I agreed to a second fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNA) right there and then. After all, it hurt not at all last time.

Ah, this time was a bit different. The pathologist came in and did not offer to numb the skin. She was moving fast and noted that she liked to take two extensive samples, i.e., to stick a needle in my face twice. She did. Each time, she rooted around like she was using that needle to check for underground cables.

The result was a more bloody, more cell-filled sample than the previous doctor obtained, which is good for accuracy but was definitely more painful to supply.

She took the samples outside--four of them, two from each session in my face--and read them at a microscope right there.

Conclusion: Warthin's Tumor, just as the previous pathologist had said.

Dr. Esclamado then returned. He said that in 24 years he'd seen the FNA be wrong exactly once, and that was a very long time ago. He said Warthin's tumors have zero chance of turning cancerous and basically are no problem. He said mine might stay as it is, or it might grow slowly. If it grows to the point that its appearance bothers me, he can take it out. It's also possible that when I get a cold (as I have now) or a sinus infection (as I just had), the tumor could get inflamed (it is not and was not, which is a very good sign), in which case they would give me antibiotics to reduce the inflammation, and then they would remove it.

Otherwise, though, he said there was absolutely no reason to take it out unless I just hated how it looks. He suggested I just leave it alone.

Considering that I spotted it only by accident and that I haven't met anyone yet who noticed it without me telling them it was there, I am indeed going to leave it alone.

If it one day grows big enough to bother me or starts becoming a problem with colds, I'll visit him again and schedule the surgery. He said he'd be shocked if that happened anytime sooner than a decade, and it very well might never happen.

So, like my broken arm and deviated septum, the tumor will be another sign of wear and tear that I will carry around with me.

I can live with that. In fact, I'm damn happy about it.

Hymie is here to stay.


Kyle said...

Woot! I'm glad you don't have to get a Nicolas Cage face.

Mark said...

As am I. Thanks.

Sarah said...

Hooray! Fantastic news.

Anonymous said...

Excellent news, now just don't get a cold or sinus infection, ever again, good luck with that.....Chris....

Lisa Shearin said...

Yea! I just love it when a doctor says "It's no problem; let's just leave it alone."

Happy for you (and your new little buddy). ; )

Michelle said...

Or Mickey Rourke.

Mark said...

Thanks for the kind words.

FWIW, I have a cold now, and it has had no effect on the tumor.

Ticia said...

"Say hello to my little friend..." is now running through my head instead of Arnold (as the Terminator) saying "It's a tumor!". I don't know whether to thank you or put a horse head in your bed.

All of this is nothing compared to my happiness over the updated results. Congratulations!

Mark said...

Thanks. I hope to forget about Hymie.

alvaro said...

Completely useful..good source, thanks anyway!


Blog Archive