Monday, 6 August 2007

One hundred lymph nodes

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There are 100 lymph nodes in the neck region. That's what my radiation oncologist told me during my recent follow-up exam. At any given time, one or more of these nodes may be palpable. This isn't always bad news. A cold, allergies, even dental work can cause them to react. This is good news for me.

When I saw my medical oncologist eight weeks ago, he felt a swollen lymph node on the right side of my neck. He wasn't worried about it. I was. So we talked, and I learned that changes in lymph nodes are normal. He would know -- one of his primary diseases of study is lymphoma -- so I set my fears aside.

My enlarged lymph node slowly disappeared. At times, though, I'll feel it resurface. It's small when it presents itself, but it's still there. My radiation oncologist agreed: it's there. But it's elongated. It's not swollen in a round, tight, puffy way. These are the nodes that signal cancer.

I'm relieved once again. My radiation oncologist is a very cautious woman, so cautious she wants to see me every six months until I've been cancer-free for 10 years. Then I can see her every year. If she's not worried, I'm not worried. But I'm a cautious person too. So just to be safe, I'll bring the topic up once more with my medical oncologist when I see him on August 20. Because with some things, I just can't let go.

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