Show Your Stripes!
In honor of the circus coming to town for the last time in the history of the circus, today I’m performing a disappearing act! Now you see it; now you don’t! I’m referring to that big lump on the side of my face. Ugh! Can a girl just catch a break, already?! I do a darn good job of hiding this puppy by curling my hair, parting it a different way or just not pulling it back, but I’m sick of the darn thing! I can hardly wear my glasses because this lump on the side of my temple is getting bigger and bigger! Here’s the background…I started to get several bumps here and there all over my body…chest, lip, temple, arm, back of leg, hip, and of course we were getting them checked out. They had been popping up over several years, and my doctors were monitoring them. None of them were of major concern, but my team of doctors did think it was in my best interest to get all 7 removed and biopsy them just to be on the safe side. They also suggested this be done before I started chemotherapy because once I started chemo my immune system would be down. So, I had the surgery last March to remove all 7 “lumps” which the most noticeable one was the one on my lip. Bye Felicia! Look! Even Baker is waving bye! I don’t miss that blue looking bump thing for one second! My surgeon did warn me that the one on my temple may return because he did not get all of it. It ran too deep and he was nervous to dig any further because of facial nerves. If/when it returned, he recommended I see an ENT at Emory.
Well, he was right. It never went away. After the swelling from surgery went down there was still a lump there…and over the year it has gotten bigger. Honestly, I don’t think most people notice it, but once I point it out it I think people are like “WHOA! Holy bump, Batman!” but instead they politely reply with their Southern charm, “Oh! I didn’t even notice!” (Please say that in your best southern voice!) Well, I notice! Today, I took a sweet picture with Fischer at Lunch with Mom and the pic is adorable…except that darn face lump is photo bombing my picture!
So, what is the plan? At the end of last year I saw an Emory ENT who thought I would be better served by another Emory ENT who was also a certified plastic surgeon since they didn’t want to jack up my face on accident (thank you for that). She was wonderful, but wanted to send my CT scan (of my head from when I fell after cardiac arrest) to an Interventional Radiologist for a second opinion. This lead me to meeting an amazing doctor named Dr. Miller who has recently moved from Duke to now work for Emory and manage the different satellite locations of Emory for Interventional Radiology. He was VERY interested in what the heck has been going on with me, but before he started any kind of treatment he wanted an MRI to better see what exactly this was. When it was removed a year ago, 6 of my bumps came back as a hemangioma, but the one on my temple seemed to be a lipoma. Medical Lesson: A hemangioma is basically a benign tumor of blood vessels that often leaves some sort of discoloration…2 of mine were a dark blue color…the other 4 were so deep under my skin you couldn’t see their discoloration. A lipoma is a benign fatty tumor. KEY word in both of these is benign. Whew! Okay, done with that medical lesson- back to attempting to entertain you. Now, my MRI is showing that it’s not really either but it’s an AVM…an arteriovenous malformation (AVM, so I sound super knowledgeable in the medical field…like I know what I’m talking about). Can we just take a step back and talk about how unfun getting an MRI of your face is?! You lie (lie? lay? Why can I never remember which one to use? I’m hoping you probably forget too!) on a table with something touching your shoulders, top of head and both sides of your head, then a Hannibal Lecter type mask comes over on your face! We’re talking plastic mask with a bar over your nose, a grid over your mouth and this little tiny pair of mirrors that are positioned just right so you can see the nurses station. WHAT?! Seriously? I cannot believe one of the questions on the form I filled out was not “Are you claustrophobic?” UHHHH….I might be NOW! THEN they slide you back into the machine…I swear they slide you into an underground tunnel or something…it seems like you’re entire body, head to toe is trapped in this machine. They also give you a tiny ball to squeeze in your hand in case you need a nurse…you mean, in case I start to PANIC?! I was definitely having to talk myself through this and try to be as rational as possible. Then when the MRI starts it’s a typical loud MRI where it sounds like an old modem is trying to start up then a machine gun is going off…you know, the usual. This went on for about 30 minutes, then they slide me out of my death box and inject the contrast in my IV to send me back into my tube of fright! Fortunately, it only lasted about 10 or 15 minutes longer, and I was good to go. The nurses were great- so kind- but WOW that was not super fun!
That all happened last Thursday…on my 4th day of chemo…ITP (inside the perimeter)…at 4:15. So, I’m sure you’re all thinking now Ohhh! Traffic! Eek! Atlanta traffic going ITP to OTP is not good anytime after 3 on any day. Add being exhausted on chemo, and I was spent. Mom to the rescue though! She predicted I was not going to feel amazing, so she drove me there and back. Ahh…thanks Mom! I have a good one- everyone that knows her agrees!
Okay, so all of that hell-a-ab-loo lead me to the results that this ole face lump can be treated and eliminated through some type of fancy therapy. Not sure when this will start, but I’m excited to say bye-bye to this weird growth. It sure would be nice to know why I’m getting these things and make them stop! I’m hoping this doctor will work on that for me…help me cross something off of my list! I’m hoping by the end of this school year I’ll be lumpy face free and can go back to focusing on how to get my lashes longer…you know, the important things in life! wink wink