Monday, 5 September 2016

The diagnosis

One of the most common questions I am asked is what lead to the diagnosis and how I found it, so I thought I'd start with that.

I have a small lump behind my left ear, in the top of my neck. It's not very big. I noticed it a while ago, didn't think too much of it (with two young girls who spend three days a week in daycare colds and such are a common occurrence in our family and I assumed it was an enlarged lymph node), but I did mention it to our family doctor at an appointment following the birth of baby Kate. The GP examined me and checked surrounding lymph nodes and told me to monitor it and return if it grows in size or doesn't go away.

It didn't, though I didn't think it had grown, and so mentioned it again at another routine appointment with baby Kate.  Now I should mention here that we have a really great family doctor. John did his GP rotation with him as a medical student and liked him so much that we registered with him as a family. I am glad we did. At the appointment he examined me again and thought it might have grown slightly. He wanted to check it out to see what it was and so arranged for me to have an ultrasound. This happened a few days later (21st July) and off I went with the girls. The sonographer was great, so great in fact that after we had left Elle said she wanted to be a sonographer when she grew up (she usually wants to be a tooth fairy)! The sonographer said it didn't look good and the doctor would want a biopsy. Sure enough, a few hours later the doctor called and said he was very concerned. The ultrasound showed a lump about 13mm in size, it had a blood flow and signs of calcification. None of these are good signs. He had me booked in for a biopsy three days later. He also called John. Once John got home for the day he took a good look at the ultrasound pictures and was also concerned. At this stage I wasn't too concerned. Nothing to worry about yet.

The biopsy was on Monday morning. I watched on the screen as they stuck and jiggled a needle around in my neck. Afterwards I felt like I had been to the dentist as half of my face was numb. Nothing to do now but wait. Results take about 5 days. The pathology was done at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney (RPA) which is where John works and so each day he called down to see if the results were in. They took 4 days and on Friday morning John called - the results were in.

The diagnosis was Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma (ACC).

1 comment:

  1. *big sigh* that last sentence just makes my heart sink, every time I read it! xx