Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Plot Thickens

It happened again. I caught another medical oversight, and it could prove to be huge!

For those that have been following the blog for a long time, you know that after every procedure and scan, I request the radiology and surgical notes. I review, and read between the lines, assessing if my doctors are giving me the full scope of each situation. Fortunately, this has saved my ass many times. (I've been prescribed the wrong drugs, I have had information withheld about my tumor growing, I have caught inappropriate procedures just in the nick of time, etc.)

Well, here's another one to add to the books...

My ENT's (ear, nose, and throat) office called to see about scheduling the removal of the largest of my swollen lymph nodes, to analyze if we're looking at another cancer. Before I was comfortable doing that, I asked for copies of my CT and ultrasound reports. I got the usual runaround, "Um....we don't normally do that." After some gentle persuading, I was assured the documents would be uploaded to my online chart.

And this is where it starts to get good...

I woke up, a few days ago, and sure enough the reports were available. I hungrily scoured the pages for medical clues. They start by detailing the enlarged lymph nodes. They talk about the locations, the sizes, their characteristics. Also, when they retrospectively compared my current CT scan with the images from my January brain MRI, they noticed the slightly enlarged lymph nodes. This means that this is not a byproduct of brain surgery. Then, the final curiosity toward the very end of the page, was that they started talking about my nasal cavity, and how it's infected! "Wait....what?", I thought to my self. I mean, I was feeling the beginnings of a tickle in my throat, and a runny nose, but this CT scan showed an invasive situation.

Now, at this point you might be thinking, "Goss. Why is Jess telling me this???" And trust me, I would rather keep it private, but in my research and conversations with a buddy who works in the medical field, I'm aware that a chronic sinus infection can definitely cause prolonged enlarged lymph nodes!!!! And to clear it up, it just takes some antibiotics.

I know antibiotics are a hot button topic. In fact, my own father raised us on garlic, going just shy of calling them murderous, but I kid you not, I have never loved the idea of taking a drug more in my life. What if this whole lymph node mystery could resolve this easily???

So after reading the report, I was lucky enough to sneak in the same day with my awesome GP, excited to with this new possibly. 

The main point of this post, though, is that the ENT doctor didn't catch the infection. And she should have!

It is possible, even probable, that all of this craziness is because I have been dealing with a chronic infection. I won't bore you with all the details, but suffice to say there are many factors that fell into place. Always waking up with a mild sore throat, feeling mildly congested - that kind of stuff.

This infection was not going away, and it had been a huge reason why I've been commenting for over a year about being bone tired. This kind of infection makes you exhausted, just like living with mono.

Now, before we close the case, I have two weeks of antibiotics (paired with probiotics), and thankfully we will know pretty easily if this resolves my enlarged lymph nodes. They're palpable, so feedback will be practically immediate. I realize I still could have lymphoma, but this makes sense, and it is worth a shot!

What if I hadn't requested the report? And read it? And called my GP? And requested antibiotics? (She was pretty shocked, even disappointed perhaps, that the specialist had missed something so obvious.) 

Let's really hope that in two week's time, my lymph nodes will be clear, and my system back to functioning happily. 

I share this post in the hopes that you feel empowered to advocate for your body, and your health. We might not aways know why we need copies of reports, or why we keep getting the same premonition, but try to listen. It doesn't aways make sense right away, but life is a series of puzzles. You get clue after clue, and it's up to you piece it together.

Bing wasn't impressed, either.


  1. Jessica, You are so right to inform yourself with what the doctors see and say about your condition. I remember after they sawed into my skull to harvest bone for my face and the recovery was so painful. I asked for the operation report and dissected every medical term in an effort to understand what had happened in that 12 hour operation that took my left eye from below my orbital floor to my pupil facing upward for months. They had never disclosed that during the long operation, they (probably interns) had pierced my dura and there was profuse and profound bleeding. Always ask for the report, scans and x-rays. This is your life, your body and you are making choices based on varying degrees of what you come to understand. You are an investigator. Good job, honey!

  2. Yes !!!!! Thank God you are a smart lady !!!! Will continue praying !! Thanks for smile on my face !!!

  3. God I love you pretty lady! Prior to my dx I was the most obedient patient, then I learned that no one is going to do for you what you aren't willing to do for yourself. You have to be your own health advocate. Praying that this is the solution. On a side note, we put Melaluca oil up our nose and in our ears when we feel something starting and prior to flying. We also use oil of oregano which is anti viral and anti bacterial. If you catch things early enough with these remedies they seem to keep you healthy. Inevitably, sometimes we need an antibiotic and the Z pack always does the trick. <3<3<3

  4. Wow, you never cease to amaze me! Good job, so glad you are so curious and smart! Hope you are feeling better already. Hugs!!

  5. Jess! How could someone not have seen your infection? I can just hear Bob now!
    You could have a little garlic with your antibiotics!! Let's hope for a good outcome!
    Annie and Muggins

  6. That's exactly what I meant Jess ~ keep on making those right decisions and following your intuition! In fact follow up on everything, not only because it is your life, but a lot of us love you and want you to have many more years of it!!!

  7. You are such a grand example of why we need to listen to our bodies and to do our own investigation. Doctors "practice" medicine. They do not heal us. You are wonderful!

  8. That is amazing, Jess! You are your own medical detective. I'm so glad you followed your intuition and dug into it. I'm really hoping that you get some relief from the antibiotics and that your infection clears!


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