From Infected Lymph Node to Cancer and Back Again

Just Joyce
By Just Joyce Latest Reply 2014-06-08 19:13:55 -0500
Started 2014-06-03 21:49:25 -0500

On May 22 I went to the ER because of a lump under my jaw bone that was making it very hard to chew anything solid. The doctor told me I had an infected lymph node and gave me antibiotics and pain medication. After 10 days it was no better.

For about 3 weeks I have been living off of cream soups, milkshakes, sugar free puddings and jello. I have opened a can of spaghetti and put it in the blender. I boil eggs and mash them into paste just so I won't have to chew them. I had chicken and was in tears from the pain but I ate it. My next foray into eating will be spinach soup. I am going to cook the spinach then blend it and heat and eat. I wish I could afford a juicer.

Today I was able to see a doctor. My doctor is out of town. The woman asked a thousand questions and examined my lymph node. .She looked at me and told me I have cancer in the lymph node. When she said that, the room went black. I think my heat stopped and I was in tears. It took about 10 minutes to recover. I chewed the doctor out so bad I almost felt sorry for her.

Then I asked questions.I told her the lump does not stay the same size. It shrinks, gets larger and at times it drains. She then said well it could be an abscess or a cyst. I want you to have an ultrasound and possibly a biopsy to see what it really is.

I was stunned. I asked her why on earth she would tell me if was cancer without first knowing what it really was. She asked if I had a fever. I said I did before I started the antibiotics but not once I started taking it. She told me if there was a tumor in my lymph node, it would stay the same size and it would not drain.

I told her that a smart doctor never tells a patient they have something they are not sure of without doing the proper test. She would not admit that she should not have done what she did so she proceeded to try to be my new best friend. I told her kissing my butt was not going to help the situation. I did not appreciate what she did. The only good thing she said was that I have lost
a grand total of 75 lbs and my blood glucose was 100 when she did a finger stick. That was great since I had to eat 2 milkshakes for breakfast.

I am now waiting to get the ultrasound and to see the ENT specialist next week. She gave me percocet for the pain and I was able to eat solid food for dinner. I asked if I should drink Glucerna to replace meals. She said she never recommends diabetics to use shakes to replace meals.

Today was not a good day for me. I am praying that I just have a nasty infection or cyst and it can be drained. Had I not recovered from my initial shock and asked questions, I would be in a funk tonight thinking I have cancer. Doctors really need to think rather than spin a wheel and pick an illness then inform their patient what they think they have. It is always best to talk to your doctor and asks questions. I hope she doesn't do this to anyone else.

28 replies

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-06-06 08:12:18 -0500 Report

Joyce, this is just amazing. What an example of unprofessional and uncaring behavior. I hope you get answers soon. Take good care of yourself and please keep us posted. Gary

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-06-07 07:34:41 -0500 Report

Dr.Gary, I am doing research on this. I have an ultrasound on Tuesday and seen ENT on Friday. I am now drinking Ensure.

GabbyPA 2014-06-05 05:51:33 -0500 Report

I guess gone are the days when a doctor tries hard to not tell the patient what they have. That is horrible that she said something like that without any tests. I guess the fact that antibiotics were not helping lead her to that conclusion, but really.

The one good thing is that you are getting another test to see why it's not responding, and getting a biopsy will help to determine what is going on in there.

The "C" word is often like the "D" word. They are both life altering. I hope the tests get you answers and relief.

Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-06-04 13:03:43 -0500 Report

I am glad you spoke up and challenged this doctor. I know what a shock that must have been. I had a bad situation happen years ago and I wish I had handled it the way you did.
I was sick and my doctor wasn't in so I had to see his new assistant (a newly graduated doctor in training). This guy, or doctor in training, was looking at my chart and said oh my no wonder you feel sick, most people with AIDS do. I was in shock. I said "WHAT?" He said your lab work shows you have aids.
I left crying instead of questioning him or even asking how "I" could have aids. I don't know how I made it home driving and being hystrical. I called my husband at work and he came right home but by then the doctors office was closed. He went there the next day and talked to my doctor about what happened. My doctor was shocked and said I'll get to the bottom of this right now. Well to cut a long story short the guy, doctor in training had got the wrong chart. "" It was not my chart.!!!"" The guy never worked at my doctors clinic again. I am thankful it wasn't my chart and that he didn't give me any meds. or shots, but I could have been killed driving home in the state of mind I was in. I did have a few nightmares after that for a short time.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-06-06 08:10:30 -0500 Report

Trudie Ann, that is just incredible. It is amazing to me how incompetent medical professionals can sometimes be.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-06-04 20:19:39 -0500 Report

OMG I would have fainted. Usually a doctor walks in and greets you by name. I would have been up all night waiting for the doctors office to open. I learned a long time ago to speak up for myself. A few years ago my doctor sent me for a biopsy on fibroids. The doctor had me go into his office. Told me I had cancer and he would confirm it in 2 weeks, turned around and walked out. I was so mad I was speechless because I could not confront him. Two weeks go by and no call so I called my doctor and told him what happened. My doctor was livid because the doctor was one of my doctors students. My doctor was a Professor of Medicine at the Medical School. He called him and lit into him and got my results. I did not have cancer. The doctor called and apologized. I closed my office door and gave him a piece of my mind.

Isn't it sad that they can't weed out the idiots before giving them a medical degree and let them practice on real people?

haoleboy 2014-06-04 20:57:45 -0500 Report

I guess this is not uncommon …
Chris (love of my life) and I were seeing her Primary for the follow up on an MRI for compressed neck vertebrae he very calmly told us which of the cervical vertebrae were causing the problems … and then mentioned that the MRI also revealed a "tumor" in her nasal cavity. Of course neither one of us heard a thing after that. When he was done Chris said "Tumor?" to which he replied actually they called it a polyp … which it was.
She had a new primary for her next appointment.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-06-04 21:58:16 -0500 Report

I don't blame her. It must be something they teach in medical school. How to Screw Up a Medical Exam 101 that we don't know about.

briarrose70 2014-06-04 11:21:24 -0500 Report

Wow, I can't believe a doctor would do such a thing either. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Keep us updated!

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-06-04 13:27:01 -0500 Report

Thanks. Doctors are people too which means they are subject to acting like everyone else only they should know better when it comes to peoples health.

tabby9146 2014-06-04 09:13:27 -0500 Report

so sorry Joyce. It does not sound like cancer though, to me and yes, you hae a right to be very angry with this doctor. it is not right for any doctor to tell someone anything like that, like they have cancer or anything without being 100% sure. I am praying for you!!

Type1Lou 2014-06-04 07:45:49 -0500 Report

Whoa! I agree with you that the doctor jumped the gun before tests could definitely determine the cause of your problem. I do hope you get a good outcome. After speaking with you, she may think twice about jumping the gun again. Wishing you well and please keep us posted!

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-06-04 11:41:32 -0500 Report

Lou I think sometimes people like her try to prove to the patient that they are smarter than the patient. She is my neighbors doctor. I told my neighbor what happened. She said when she first saw her she did almost the same thing to her. I think she does this to try to prove she is smart. I had to prove that I am just as smart as she is.

I was thinking suppose she said that to a senior citizen who would not have thought to question her. The patient would probably call the family to tell them and get them upset only to later find out it wasn't true. The doctor could and probably would or will get sued. Because of my medical background, I was able to tell her what I knew. When she realized what she said wasn't going to fly her entire attitude changed. Chewing her out helped with the change. She knows now that I may look stupid to her but I am far from being stupid.

Type1Lou 2014-06-04 12:22:02 -0500 Report

Your encounter and reply proves that we are our own best advocates…the more we learn and know, the better prepared we are to question the "experts". If she's a young doctor, hopefully this will temper her approach and make her be more careful. There are things I said and did when I was young that were unwise and hopefully, I know and act better today.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-06-04 13:25:30 -0500 Report

Lou the young ones are hard to teach because they think they know it all. Many of them get out of college who have never worked and get their first jobs. They have no idea how to interact with people who have been working for years. Hopefully this was a learning experience for her.

jigsaw 2014-06-04 06:59:35 -0500 Report

Sorry to hear that you had such a devastating experience! I know that sinking feeling of hearing that type of diagnoses, 1st hand! It's probably nothing more then the stupidity of a non thinking doctor, as you mentioned. I hope you can manage to regain your calm, and not stress unecessarily, throughout the balance of this ordeal.

When my doctor discovered a shadow on my pancreas, I thought for sure, that my days were numbered. That was almost 5 years ago, and the pseudo cysts have since disappeared, as discovered recently. It took 30 days of stressful waiting to have an endoscopy and biopsy! Three more years of endoscopys and biopsies, only to be told by two different doctors that the cysts are gone, and no more follow up is necessary. These were not the doctors from Duke, that were keeping me under observation from the beginning. Makes one wonder, doesnt it?
My wifes sister received a phone call from a doctor that she had bone cancer! As it turns out, she had no such thing.

My whole point is, be cautious, while you are going through this difficult time. It's probably nothing more than an infection, and you don't need to have any additional stress.

I'm still hoping, and praying that you recover quickly!

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-06-04 13:22:15 -0500 Report

Jigsaw.yesterday was the day from Hell and today is a continuation. Our Police districts Neighborhood Services Sgt. sent me a text wanting to know what the doctor said. I told him and he told me to calm down. He is such a sweet guy. He always looks out for me. I was calm until I called my insurance provider. The truck is in the shop so I had to use the Rite Aid pharmacy which sucks to get my Rx"s filled. Thankfully with Obamacare I can now get Medical Assistance. The pharmacists put all the medications through except my metformin. Told me it was $51.00. I was going to switch it to Wal-Mart where it is 10.00 out of pocket. The MCO said to have them put it through Medical Assistance like they did everything else. I called the pharmacy and that was like walking through the gates of hell. I finally got them to do what they should have done and my met is $1.00. They called me back and told me my prescription was ready and I had to pick it up right away because the pharmacist said it was medication for a disease and I needed it. I told her to put the pharmacist on the phone. I literally cussed the woman out. If she wouldn't do what she should have done with it yesterday, it wasn't an emergency today.

To make matters worse, a neighbor received mail from Department of Public Works regarding confusion with their trash pick up. I had to call 3 different offices and still waiting for the person to call me who can fix the problem. Trying to get our City's Department of Public Works to do anything right is like being in the ring with Mohammed Ali. It is a battle of who screams the loudest and wins. I always win because I fight dirty. I got an entire block of people upset over a problem DPW created and believe me they are going to fix it.

The percocet the doctor gave me is giving me menopause symptoms and I feel like the world is spinning and I am hallucinating at times. My neighbor asked me this morning if I practiced on my stripper pole. I had no idea what he was talking about. He said he asked me what was I going to do last night and I said practice on a stripper pole. That was hilarious. I tell you I have had two very interesting days and now I could use a shot of Tequila but the percocet will not allow me to do that. Even the dog is giving me strange looks…LOL

jigsaw 2014-06-04 20:34:32 -0500 Report

Isn't it amazing how some of what should be the most simple things to do, become like trying to find your way through a maze. Through all of this, you still manage to maintain your sense of humor. Yes Joyce, all I can say is, you are an incredible lady! I know, you'll come through this with flying colors, besides, if anyone could knockout Ali, you could with that left round house, or was it a left hook?

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-06-04 20:53:53 -0500 Report

I have to keep a sense of humor. Watching Riley's antics can be hilarious as he learns new things. he is still a baby. Besides laughter is the best medicine. Jigsaw I am going to come through this, i am a fighter and I am going to fight no matter what. All I can say is they better put me to sleep if they have to drain this thing. LOL I am not crazy enough to step in the ring with Ali and it is a right hook.

Pegsy 2014-06-04 04:43:59 -0500 Report

What a horrible doctor! I hope you can follow up soon with a different one. I'm sure the ENT will be far more thorough and encouraging, So sorry you are going through this,

s l k
s l k 2014-06-03 22:27:08 -0500 Report

I had "multiple swollen lymph nodes of no significance" from Christmas until about 6 weeks ago. It's amazing how many people frightened me with tales of cancer and things. My doctors all worked together…

I hope you start to feel better quickly! I'm back after a long break from here. Working to better health.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-06-04 13:23:31 -0500 Report

Wow. I am having a hard time with just one. If more than one was swollen, they would have to put me in the hospital. Glad you are better and glad you are back.