RushBabe dodged a bullet recently. I had a health scare, which started in June with an itchy place on one shoulder. Where it started was easy to remember, since it took place on the street in Leavenworth, when Hubby and I were there in June for the International Accordion Celebration. Gradually, that itchy place took on the appearance of a blood-blister. It was a red, spongy blister-like thing, and it sometimes itched a lot. It didn’t worry me too much, since I assumed that it was the result of a bug bite (quote common in the mountains of Washington State).
It didn’t go away, and it sometimes interfered with my bra strap. So, I decided to make an appointment with my personal doctor, to see if she could lance it (drain it) and make it go away. She agreed to see me, and I went to her office. She did poke it, and drained off some blood. She gave me a big bandage to wear for a while, and I went home. Well, that thing didn’t go away. So I went back, and she took a big piece of it and sent it to her lab just to see what was inside. This time, she had to put in some stitches. Again, I went home with a bandage on. When the lab results came back, I went back to have the stitches out and get the results. The lab found some Lymphocytes, but nothing definitive. And the darn thing still came back.
So, next step was to make an appointment with a dermatologist. I did that, and went in for an exam. The Dermatology Doctor read the lab report from my doctor, and she looked worried. So, she took another big biopsy sample, and sent me home with some more stitches. And something about T-Cell Lymphoma. Oh, and she also told me not to do any “internet research”, since I might not get the right information that way. I took her advice.
About a week later, she called me on the phone, and asked me to come in. It turned out that they found two different kinds of T-Cells in my sample, and I might have a lymphoma, though she wasn’t very informative about what that might mean. [OBTW, that lesion on my shoulder had mostly gone away-maybe the big biopsy sample scared it!] She asked me if I would approve her sending my sample for evaluation to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, which works with the University of Washington. I told her to go ahead.
So, yesterday I braved the I-5 freeway at morning rush hour, to visit the SCCA and speak with a Dermatological Oncologist there. It took me an hour and a half to drive the 25 miles in to Seattle. The office was on the fourth floor of their building in the South Lake Union neighborhood, and had a gorgeous view of the lake. I spoke with two doctors, one an Internal Medicine Resident, and one a Dermatological Oncologist. They had had time to look at all my records, and the bottom line was, I probably did not have a Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma, but “Pseudo-lymphoma”. Weird, but I was happy to hear it. They did order a complete blood count, just to make sure. On the way out, I went to the Lab, and had a big blood sample drawn. The crowd waiting in the lab area was large, but I only had to wait a few minutes. While waiting, I was internally giving thanks that my health scare was probably just that, a scare. And I was impressed by the mood of all the patients waiting for lab work. I could see that many of them obviously had cancer, but they all looked pretty optimistic, and all the staff were very encouraging.
I suppose when you get to be 70 years old, you begin to think that your time left is shortening. This incident really brought it home for me. I thought about all the things that I might need to get done in a short amount of time. And I gave thanks for being pretty healthy for an old lady. I almost never get sick, and I don’t remember the time when I last called in sick to work. Geez, I’m still working more than full-time!
So this Thanksgiving, I will really have something to be thankful for. My life, my Hubby, my Kitty, my job, my friends. And I especially am thankful for being born in America. If I really had had cancer, there is no better place to be than the Seattle area, with all its health care resources. We really do have the world’s best medical system here in America, and I hope that we will never be subjected to the “socialized” system like in Europe, where outcomes are never as good as they are here. I never take things for granted, and I thank God that I can still be a productive member of society. I’m thankful for all of my followers and readers on my blog (and the Freedom of Speech that allows me to express myself without being censored), and I hope you all have a blessed Thanksgiving this year.