Monday, April 14, 2008

Better Red Than Dead

If I was living during the "Red Scare" of the 1950's, that title alone would probably be enough to add my name to one of McCarthy's black lists. But let me explain . . .

A couple weeks ago, I went through a brief period of paranoia. I was relaxing in bed with a good book when, for no apparent reason, I decided to explore the area between and below my rib cage. I felt a hard, round lump, the size and shape of a South Sea Pearl. Panic! I called a couple friends at random and asked them to explore their bodies in search of the pearl. They found nothing. I met friends for drinks and instructed the other happy hour participants to lean back and probe for a pearl. Again, nothing. At brunch the following Sunday, I went through the same routine with two more friends.

I raised the red flag and sent an email to Dr. Forman. He suggested that it might be a lipoma, a lump of benign fat, and not lymphoma, but we could explore further during my appointment on the 14th.

In the meantime, I pulled up Google images of the sternum (breast bone), including the little piece of bone that drops down below the rib cage like a pendant on a necklace. At the end of the sternum is a pointed piece of cartilage called the xiphoid (Greek for "like a straight sword"). Could my xiphoid be rounded instead of pointed? And why couldn't I feel the rest of the bone connecting to the rib cage?

Dr. Forman examined me today and concluded that it was in fact my xiphoid, not a swollen lymph node. We had a good laugh and I sighed in relief.

But, hey, the way I figure it's better to be a little red (embarrassed) than dead.

I received my latest blood counts and have nothing to be embarrassed about in that department:

Monday, April 14, 2008
(Numbers in parentheses are normal ranges.)
WBC 4.3 (4.0-11)
RBC 2.95 (3.8-5.2)
HGB 10.6 (11.5-15.5)
PLT 126 (150-350) (WOO HOO!)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

WBC 3.6 (4.0-11)
RBC 3.00 (3.8-5.2)
HGB 10.8 (11.5-15.5)
PLT 104 (150-350)


Nancy said...

Susan, you are hilarious!!! Glad the "pearl" wasn't anything alarming. Your counts are fantastic and keep rising. Great news.. makes me happy. Hope I'll see you at the COH BMT reunion. Take Care... love, nance

Barbara Roth said...

I once rushed Henry, our beagle to the vet because I discovered a large lump in his abdomen. The vet examined him and told me it was his belly button. Glad your lump scare turned out false too.

Susan Carrier said...

Another very thin friend of mine once complained to her doctor about a "large mass" under her abdomen. Turns out it was her large intestine.