Sunday, January 22, 2017

A little background

So here we go.  In August of 2016, I was working on getting into some kind of shape (besides round) and was running pretty consistently.  One morning, I was stretching and felt two or three lumps on the inside of my upper right thigh.  They felt weird and out of place, so I talked to Katie and she encouraged me to see our doctor just to get them looked at.  I went into our doctor and he said we should keep an eye on them.  Blood tests came back normal, everything pointed to nothing being wrong.  So we kept an eye on them and got back to our lives.

In October of 2016, I volunteered to coach my son's basketball team.  It was a parks rec team, but it was competitive so I really wanted to teach my boys some basics and win a few games for them.  Practices were two nights a week and games on Saturdays.  This is when I first noticed the swelling in my right leg.  I'd take off my sock in the evening and it was like I had had a rubber band wrapped around my upper ankle.  Most nights, it was just a little indentation, but some nights it was up to about a quarter of an inch.  This was just from the elastic band on my sock, which most aren't tight at all.  I tend to wear socks longer than I should so loose elastic is pretty common unless I get a new pair or three.  I didn't tie the swelling and the nodes together at this point.  I could still feel a couple swollen nodes in my leg if I tried, but they weren't painful so I didn't think much of it.

So the new year rolls around.  The swelling in my right leg has gotten worse.  I'm still getting the ring around my ankle from my sock, but can also feel it in my calf and thigh.  It had started getting painful and my leg was starting starting to feel like a sausage; it wasn't terrible yet, but I figured I better schedule another appointment to get checked over.  I'm getting older, I don't bounce back as quick as when I was in my 20's and with Katie and the kids, I have more important things to worry about than just myself.  So back to the doctor I went.

Our family doctor took a look and noticed the difference between my right and left legs was noticeable.  My right thigh measured 7-8 cm larger in circumference than my left thigh, and the nodes he felt were bigger and more concerning.  Blood tests showed nothing; I think my CO2 levels were a little high, but everything else fell into the expected range of being normal.  So along with the blood tests, I was scheduled for an ultrasound and CT scan.  Two weeks ago, I went in for my scans.  I did the ultrasounds first and the tech said she didn't see any blood clots, so that was good.  Next came the CT scan.  I drank the barium dye (or whatever that nasty stuff is) and did the scan.  I got in to see the doctor and get the results the next week.  He said based on the size of the nodes, I should have one taken out so they can look at it and get a better idea of what is going on in there.  Not just a biopsy, but taking the whole thing out.  Made sense to me.  With the swelling getting worse and the pain increasing, I knew something had to change so this is where we're at.  We're all caught up.

On Thursday of this week, I go in to have a lymph node removed.  It will be one of the few surgeries I've had in my life.  I had my shoulder scoped in college, had screws put into my pinky after I broke it during practice and had the big V a few years ago after Robb was born.  Other than that, I've been pretty healthy, so this is fairly new to me.  I think I'm fine with having the surgery.  I'm not very worried about going under (or staying awake), about the pain or even the recovery.  I think I'm more worried about what comes after the surgery.  What is actually wrong with me.  Do they find something wrong that is causing the swelling?  What is the treatment going to be like?  Do they not find anything, my leg just keeps swelling up, and I just have to suck it up and deal with it?

Then on top of that, how will it affect my family?  I'm gone 4 nights a week most of the time, running kids here and there.  I'm guessing I'll have to take a few steps back for a while at least, but who knows.  I'm just trying to take it as it comes and deal with what is dealt my way.  I know Katie and the kids will be here to help.  I know the rest of my family and friends will be here too.  I'm hoping I can suck it up and get through it as well.

I'm starting this blog thing now because I figured it might be interesting.  Both for me and the people around me.  I'm hoping to share the struggles and hard times, but also hope there will be more good times and successes that will outnumber them.  Honestly, I hope after Thursday things will be just fine and I can delete this blog.  But just in case, I may as well keep track of what I'm going through.

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