That lymph node I mentioned last weekend? It didn't respond to the antibiotics my oncologist prescribed. In fact, it grew to a painful, golf-ball sized lump under my jaw, and gave me my first real scare since beating cancer.
My oncologist frowned at me on Wednesday, and his words sent a chill up my spine:
"We need to have this biopsied."
Even though I knew it was probably nothing, that broken part of my psyche that was told by a couple of different doctors last summer that the lump in my breast was "probably nothing" had me scared out of my mind. When I went in for radiation Thursday morning, my radiation oncologist and my surgeon both tried to ease my fears. But between the anxiety and the pain, I had a couple of rotten night's sleep this week.
I was referred to an ear, nose and throat specialist, who saw me Thursday afternoon and said all I needed to hear:
"This isn't acting like cancer at all."
I almost hugged him. He went on to say cancer doesn't crop up in 3-5 days' time; it isn't usually tender and hot to the touch; and breast cancer doesn't tend to metastasize to the upper neck. He diagnosed me with an infected salivary gland - because I am the queen of weird diagnoses that are only supposed to afflict people over the age of fifty.
He also switched my antibiotic and said it should start to clear up this weekend. I am supposed to drink lots of water and suck on lemons to increase my saliva production. I am also making my way through a bag of Sour Patch Kids that my sister-in-law bought me.
I'm not out of the woods yet; if these antibiotics don't work, a biopsy could still be on the table. And I can't tell yet if the golf ball is getting any smaller, but it no longer feels like I had my wisdom teeth removed, so that's something. More importantly, it's probably not a lymph node after all, and almost certainly not cancer.