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  • Should I seek a second opinion?

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    Old 10-30-2015, 06:51 PM   #1
    Momofboys37's Avatar
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    Should I seek a second opinion?

    Hello, all! I am a brand newbie to these boards and I apologize if I'm doing this wrong or am posting in the wrong place. I think I'll post in the general thread, too, because I noticed the cancer threads don't get as much traffic or replies. So I'm sorry if you see this twice. But I'm really seeking some advice. I've exhausted all of my family and friends - who told me I should get online and try to find some support groups that can help - which is how I wound up here.

    I am a mother of three young boys. I'm in my 30's. 1 1/2 to 2 years ago, I started getting a severe itch. It feels like a deep itch inside my body that I can't ever scratch. I've had kidney stones in the past, so I figured it just might be a kidney issue and that my body wasn't filtering enough - thus the itch. I'm also having terrible, drenching night sweats. I'm actually sweaty all the time (I'm hot and sweaty when everyone else around me is cold), but the nights are the worst. I wake up wet. And then, about two months ago, I noticed a hard lump behind my ear. It seemed to just "pop up" out of nowhere. It started out the size of a pencil eraser and has grown to about the size of a marble. It's rock hard and painless and doesn't move around.

    My doctor thought the lump must be a cyst or some type of bone mass because it was so hard. So she sent me to get some imaging done. The ultrasound showed that it is a swollen lymph node. It's not very large (only about 1 cm) and the ultrasound findings said it has internal vascularity (which I have no idea what that means - it's just what it says on my chart). At that time (about 3 weeks ago), my doctor told me to just continue to keep an eye on it. But to contact her again in a couple of weeks if it was still there and still hard.

    About a week after I had the first ultrasound, I noticed another hard lump behind my other ear. It was smaller than the first one - about the size of a pencil eraser. But also rock hard and immovable. The next day, I found yet another lump - this one down further, on my neck. It's not as rock hard as the first two, but it's larger.

    So I went back in to see my doctor (internist) and she told me I needed to get the first one biopsied. She ordered the biopsy and I scheduled it.

    I went in for the biopsy yesterday and it was the worst experience! My internist had ordered an ultrasound guided needle biopsy. I got to the office, spent an hour filling out paperwork and 30 minutes waiting for the radiologist to come in and perform the biopsy. The nurse did another ultrasound while I was waiting. Then the doctor comes in (he had no bedside manner) and tells me he won't do a biopsy because my lump is less than an inch and he isn't comfortable doing it and that "it's probably nothing serious anyway." (My doctor told me that only way to find out if "it's something serious" is by having an actual biopsy done!). The radiologist made me feel like I was stupid and that my husband and I were wasting his time by being there. He said things like, "I'm not comfortable doing a biopsy when it's not large" and "I could poke your ear if I biopsy it." Even though my internist thinks I should have it done and is concerned with how long I've had the nodes, how rock hard they are and my other symptoms.

    I actually have a friend who is going through treatment right now for lymphoma and she told me that a needle biopsy isn't even a good option if it is cancer or lymphoma because if it's cancer in the lymph nodes, a needle biopsy could spread it and they don't get a great sample that way, anyway. She recommended that I go see a doctor who would just remove the entire lump.

    I guess my question is this: do you think I'm warranted and justified in wanting to get a second opinion? My husband and I are both feeling that we should. My dad died of cancer when he was 49 and my mom also had cancer, so it's obviously something I don't take lightly and would like to nip in the bud if I have it. And if I don't have it - then AWESOME! But isn't the only way to find out if I have a biopsy done?

    Is it normal to not do a biopsy when a node is less than an inch? Is it normal to just "wait and see" if it gets larger? It's already been a few months. I don't know if it's gotten larger (it feels like it has), but it definitely has't gotten smaller and two more have sprung up since.

    Oh - and also, I have rheumatoid arthritis and have taken the medication Enbrel for 14 years and just RECENTLY (like a couple of weeks ago) read that autoimmune diseases and the DMARDS (like Enbrel) that treat them can cause lymphoma. So I'm a BIT worried about that too.

    Anyway, that's my story. I've been in a frustrated funk yesterday and today because my husband and I were so excited and grateful to just get some answers yesterday by having the biopsy done. Only to have it turn out to be a big waste of time.

    Anyone have any thoughts?

    Thanks so much in advance. I'm glad I found a website where I can talk to others.

    Last edited by Momofboys37; 10-30-2015 at 06:58 PM.

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    biopsy, lymph node, lymphoma, second opinion, ultrasound

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