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  • 5 Year Old Bilateral/Symmetrical Cervical Lymph Nodes

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    Old 03-30-2016, 02:33 PM   #1
    tristans
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    Exclamation 5 Year Old Bilateral/Symmetrical Cervical Lymph Nodes

    Hi, We're really nervous parents looking for some thoughts/suggestions.

    Late January: Our 5 Year old son presented with a brief fever for about 4 hours, during which time he slept. Once the fever passed, he bounced back like nothing had ever happened.

    One week later: My wife was discussing the human body with him and in showing him where to find his pulse, she noticed enlarged lymph nodes on both sides of his neck, just below his jawline/ear area. At the time they were painless, relatively hard and not moveable. We also noticed that in this time, he started clearing his throat often (says "it's itchy") and started snoring in his sleep. During this time his appetite seemed to dip a little too. He's naturally a smaller, thinner little guy as well so any small lump would be easy to find.

    Mid-February: Since the nodes weren't coming down, we made a visit to our family doctor who suspected mono, took bloodwork and prescribed antibiotics.

    One week later: After a round of antibiotics, there were no signs of the lymph nodes coming down (or growing). Our doctor requested an ultrasound.

    Early/Mid March: After a trip to Mexico, we returned and immediately arranged the ultrasound. During our trip, we tried to ignore the nodes so that were weren't poking around at them too much.

    One week later: We returned to our doctor to discuss the ultrasound and blood work. I wasn't present but my wife said that she didn't stress anything significant other than the ultrasound report said that there were a few "infectious nodes". The sizes noted were about >2-3cm wide >3-4cm long. She then referred us to a paediatrician for further examination. This same day, we returned home and he came down with a fever again, slept it off. Very short and vomited. Once he vomited, he was back to 110%. This is one day after our 11 year old daughter was sick in similar way as well (other than vomiting) so we're thinking a bug was going around the house. I felt like I was coming down with something but didn't so must have dodged it...

    Mid-Late March: We visited a paediatrician who we both had strange feelings about after our visit. We don't trust her. Her intake forms ask questions about our careers, finances and such. Something similar to a credit application. Never seen this before. She also started the appointment by asking us about those items and when I pushed back a little said she was "just trying to get to know us". She was very rude and checked his throat very quickly. She said his throat looked great. She checked his stomach and pressed so hard that my son made a gut punch sound and I noticed tears in his eyes. (She has online reviews that suggest she is borderline abusive with children). She felt his nodes and said they were larger than she would like to feel and that she want's to send us to a haematologist and that the ultrasound also found a "nodule" on his thyroid. The thing is, our son is very interested in the human body and we've been teaching him all that we can so we asked the ultrasound technician for a copy of an image. She gave us one that looks very similar to a thyroid based on what I found online and if I'm looking at the right stuff, the ultrasound looks clear of any masses. I'm no expert and maybe it's my fear of it being something bad but I've been comparing his ultrasound printout to images on line of those with a mass and I don't see it. His looks like what a healthy thyroid looks like on an ultrasound. I've also read how sometimes lymph nodes close to the thyroid can look like a thyroid nodule on ultrasounds.

    Anyhow, fast-forward to today: We noticed that the nodes seem to be coming down very VERY slowly but gradually from what we can feel. Still relatively hard but this morning I was able to move them a little which was never the case since noticing them. I've also noticed that lymph nodes in the back of his neck have been coming and going this past week or so. It's almost as though what ever is in his anterior nodes is slowly making it's way through other nodes (if that can happen). Like it's being evenly distributed and broken down... The other nodes aren't nearly as large or hard but they're popping up one day and gone the next while in the same period, his enlarged once seem to be shrinking slightly. His throat clearing is not as frequent and his snoring has stopped completely. His energy level is incredibly high as always and he's eating like a little monster again. I put my fingers up to his nodes in comparison and vertically, they're a little smaller than my middle and pointer fingers side by side which measures just under 3cm and horizontally, slightly smaller than my pointer finger at about just under 1cm. They're slightly moveable. More so when his neck is relaxed. When he looks up, not easy to move them which I'm guessing is because his neck muscles are pressing up against them. No other nodes seem enlarged anywhere else on his body and docs have checked for others.

    While our fear is still there, we're thinking of cancelling this paediatrician and going to another one as this one has horrible reviews, one involving the neglectful death of a teen with cholesterol issues. Thinking of requesting our family doctor refer us to an ENT instead and also cancelling the haematologist appointment to spare our son the stress/pain of more blood work.

    Side note: My sister in-law has a cat and 2 dogs. She feeds the dogs raw meet and the puppy gets in to the cat' litter every so often. The puppy also once had a seizure like episode, was limping for a bit, from what the vet said was likely a sore leg muscle. After some online research, he seemed to present with symptoms similar to toxoplasmosis. I'm almost wondering if my son has been exposed to this virus or has some sort of latent/asymptomatic virus like TB, Mono that was maybe missed in the first round of blood work. I've read that there are quite a few viruses that can affect the lymph nodes and his body might not be showing signs of being sick as it's working to fight the infection.

    Based on what we've been reading, the odds of thyroid cancer, leukaemia or lymphoma seem extremely slim due to his age, our family history of virtually no cancers like this and we've never been exposed to high doses of radiation (unless the Canadian Gov' is covering something up). We've also read that cancers can but typically don't locally affect nodes symmetrically like this. I'm definitely leaning more towards a virus or fungus. We're starting him on some home based remedies for this... garlic, probiotics, ginger, etc.

    Would anyone recommend the same approach or anything different? Should we push for a 'watch and wait' approach, push for an ENT to look at the possibility of a lingering viral/bacterial or fungal infection? Both?....

    Has anyone else had a child with persistently enlarged lymph nodes around this size range? Should the thyroid node worry us? Should we request another ultrasound of this since we have a printout that to us based on what we see online looks like a fine thyroid?.... So many fears and questions...

     
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    Old 04-01-2016, 09:42 AM   #2
    mugwump
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    Re: 5 Year Old Bilateral/Symmetrical Cervical Lymph Nodes

    I can relate because I wind up reading too much on the internet and then you start questioning your doctors. I used always have huge lymph nodes in my neck as a kid and never really had any health problems besides allergies and the occasional strep throat. Was he ever tested for strep throat? My daughter recently had it and she had swollen lymph nodes in her neck. Once they get swollen, it seems to take quite a while for them to go away, like a month or more. Also I've read that just touching them can make them swell. Unless your son has been playing in the litter box, that is probably not that likely. The problem is once you start getting tests, they start finding things and then it's like you're stuck on a treadmill. One time I was sick with a cough and had swollen lymph nodes. They then sent me for an ultrasound, but the technician looked at my thyroid, not the area of the lymph nodes. Then they claimed there was a nodule and wanted it biopsied. I asked for the report and it said benign sonographic characteristics, so I didn't even go get the biopsy, and that was years ago. I'd say, if the doctor is abusive get a new one. If it were me, I'd go more by how he's acting right now, and not worry so much about the lymph nodes. He may have had strep throat which probably was cured by the antibiotics, and it just takes time for them to go back down again. Did you say he has swollen nodes in the back of his neck too? Does he have any scalp issues? Did he already have a blood test?

     
    Old 04-01-2016, 11:45 AM   #3
    tristans
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    Re: 5 Year Old Bilateral/Symmetrical Cervical Lymph Nodes

    Thanks for the reply! We're still very nervous but at the same time want to spare our little guy multiple needles and especially a biopsy if possible.

    His nodes have been relatively steady in size since we noticed them in early February (2 months now). I really don't think they've grown at all and they are less noticeable when he looks up. They used to stand out like a sore thumb when he looked up. Still noticeable but less for sure, at this point. I'm taking that as a positive sign. Where we're still nervous is the fact that they're painless and quite hard. They seem mobile when his neck is in a relaxed position but more fixed when he looks up. I'm assuming his neck muscles restrict space so they don't have much area to move... Hopeful that's the case.

    Were yours hard/painless growing up. What about your daughter's?

    I'm glad you mentioned your own thyroid story. I've read a few stories where technicians mistakenly noted a thyroid nodule when it was actually a lymph node or something else. Even the borderline abusive paediatrician we saw kept touching and pointing to the area under his chin (not on his neck) when referring to his thyroid. She didn't even palpate the thyroid either. Very frustrating.

    He is 150% fine. My wife just sent me a picture of him climbing between the door jambs in the house. His energy level is through the roof, his appetite is great, he has more strength than I would imagine in a 34lb smaller 5 year old. Looking at him, he looks 150% fine.

    We decided to go back to our family doctor and request a copy of the ultrasound report. I had a brief look at it when the paediatrician was talking and I noticed something along the lines of "several infectious lymph nodes".

    He did have a blood test. I have to ask the doctor what she tested for because the only thing I remember was looking for mono. She checked off some other items as well but mono was her main suspect at the time. That came back negative for mono.

    I found a few in the back of his neck more in the superior cervical area but they seem to be coming and going. Last week, there were a couple small nodes palpable in the back of his neck for just a day. The next day they were gone. No scalp issues that we can see. He did have a few bad falls in the past few months. A couple of days before we first noticed the lymph nodes, he was at basketball and collided pretty hard with a much larger 8 year old boy. It didn't look like he hit his head but it was very animated in the fact that he spun 360 degrees parallel to the floor. That's the same day he returned home unwell with a fever and slept for a few hours/bounced back quickly. Not long after that, he was horsing around in the house and flipped over our couch and busted open his upper lip and gums.

    We're now heading in to 2 months enlarged nodes from the time of discovery. Localized to his upper neck just under his ears, on both sides. Consistent in size for the past 2 months. Possibly a bit of decrease in size. We're starting to measure with sewing measuring tape now. Both sides are thinner laterally (about 1cm) and longer vertically (a little more than 3cm). Smaller nodes seem to be coming and going on the back part of his neck.

    So I mean, from just days before we first noticed the lymph nodes, he's had a rough collision with a larger boy, a fever and feeling of being sick that same day, fell from the couch and busted his upper lip and more recently (about 2 weeks ago), another fever but this time vomited which points to a virus of some sort. Neither of the fever lasted more than 4-5 hours.

    Last edited by tristans; 04-01-2016 at 11:49 AM.

     
    Old 04-02-2016, 09:31 AM   #4
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    Re: 5 Year Old Bilateral/Symmetrical Cervical Lymph Nodes

    In my experience with myself and my kids, lymph nodes usually hurt in the beginning of the illness and may be larger and hard and then stop hurting and are more moveable after the illness is over. I've had one in front of my ear that has been there for years. It just appeared one day. It can't really move because it's in front of my jaw. A nurse couldn't even feel it and apparently didn't think it was anything to worry about. As a kid, I had big hard immovable ones behind my ears, but I can't imagine they could ever be soft because they are located on top of a bone. I don't know what the cause of those were. They are still there faintly. I also have various ones in my neck under the ears near the jaw bone and going down the sides of my neck. In my case, I think it's just chronic allergies and drainage from the sinuses. If he had throat clearing and snoring, he probably had drainage through his lymph nodes. Eventually everything from the head drains down to the neck. Also if he moves his head, his neck tendons will press on them affecting how they feel. I doubt it has anything to do with his thyroid (but I'm not a doctor). If they start looking for things, they start finding things which may have nothing to do with the original problem. It's like what they say about a fever--treat the patient, not the fever. If he acts normal now, the lymph nodes are probably nothing. Kids are fighting off things all the time. I think I will take the same approach for my son whose heart I listened to. If he doesn't act like a he has a heart problem, he probably doesn't. If it doesn't act a duck, it's probably not a duck. It's hard with all the immediate information on the internet to not go reading about it if you are interested in the human body. I've looked up the locations of the lymph nodes and what body parts they are associated with. There are also videos of massaging the lymph nodes to get them to drain, but I'm not sure that's necessary. Also, it boils down to what is really medically necessary vs. what is just going to cause more stress on you and your kid if he's acting normal.

     
    Old 04-02-2016, 02:15 PM   #5
    tristans
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    Re: 5 Year Old Bilateral/Symmetrical Cervical Lymph Nodes

    Thanks so much. Your input has been reassuring. We're going to our family doctor on Monday to discuss things further and going with our gut feeling to wait this out a little longer. His health seems fine and today I measured his nodes at about 2.5cm vertically which is about a cm down from previously. I got him to gargle salt water this morning and his throat clearing went from every few minutes to maybe 2-3 times in the past few hours. I don't know how quickly salt water gargle can help but it seems to be doing something here. We might ask our doc for another ultrasound and maybe an ENT appointment vs. a hematologist. Even that seems not as necessary at this point so we'll see. Maybe one more ultrasound from a different diagnostics place and see where we go from there. Thanks again!

    Last edited by tristans; 04-02-2016 at 02:20 PM.

     
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