|So, this was my day...|
Well, that didn't happen. But this did.
The sudden growth must have been in response to the surgery. Eventually, it flattened out. But only for a while. It eventually came back. It didn't get as large as it did following the septoplasty but it got large enough to be noticeable and unlike how it would inflate and flatten prior to the procedure, it never flattened back out. It turned firm, also.
I was disappointed with the results because I really hoped the septoplasty would help but the lump actually seemed worse after. I spoke to the doctor who performed the septoplasty and he said removing the lump was a definite possibility but there were some possible complications, such as damaging my vocal cords. I also watched an episode of one of those mystery diagnosis programs where a woman had a lump removed from her neck and it paralyzed her face. It was a different kind of lump than mine and in a different location but it still worried me.
So, I let it go. I didn't want to lose my voice or the use of one half of my facial muscles and so I thought I would just live with it. It was noticeable but it's not like it was jutting out of my throat farther than my chin was. I thought I could accept it.
A few years down the line, it seems to have gotten slightly larger. And there have been times when it's been sore. It never affected my breathing or swallowing but the pain did worry me. Was it becoming infected again and was that going to make it larger, harder? Was there a possibility it could turn cancerous?
Mom and I eventually decided to see yet another doctor. I had seen so many previously and the whole process was frustrating. No one was ever able to exactly pinpoint was the lump was, only guesses of some kind of cyst. And one wanted to cut it out immediately and then another says that should be a last resort and another says all this stuff about vocal cord damage and it was frustrating. But what would one more opinion hurt?
So, I made an appointment with yet another ENT and after explaining my history with the lump and my history with all the doctors I had seen, the guy came in with a thick head of gray hair that swooped down to his ears. He prodded the lump and determined what a lot of others had said: that it was either a branchial cleft cyst or a thyroglossal duct cyst. Of course, the positioning of my lump didn't match up with the traditional placement of those other cysts but I am an exceptional dude, I guess.
He also recommended removing it and then I expressed my concerns about vocal cord damage and facial paralysis. He scoffed at the paralysis, stating the woman I saw on tv had a different problem than I did and that I shouldn't be affected that way. I knew I didn't have the same kind of situation she did but, just as the lump wasn't in the spot you'd normally find those kinds of cysts, what if my nerves were all jumbled up as well? What if they went to dig that baby out and they cut a nerve and I end up looking like Mary Jo Buttafuoco?
Despite my reservations on the facial paralysis, he did admit there could be complications with the placement of the cyst in relation to my voice box. He ordered a CT scan for me, said to come back and we'd discuss the results.
So, I went to another building and a guy put an IV in me and injected me with a dye that would highlight all the veins around my throat. It felt like he was injecting me with hot bath water. I felt it rush through my chest and spread to my arms and legs. It wasn't the best feeling but it wasn't painful. He also asked where the lump was so he could put a marker on it so the area would be visible on the scans. I lifted my chin and pointed to it and he said, "Oh, well, yeah, I can definitely see that! Most people have to push on it to find it. That's nice and visible."
I was laid down on a table, lifted into a gigantic circular machine, told not to swallow and then they scanned my throat up real good and I was done.
Went back to the ENT and he showed me slices of my skull, which was awesome, and told me what we were all fearing: the cyst is pretty close to my voice box. He admitted doing that kind of operation was out of his skill range, which I appreciated, and he referred me to a doctor three hours away who is more specialized in that area.
I was a bit disappointed because I didn't want to have to go that far to have the surgery and the fact that it was close to my voice box worries me that it will complicate surgery. What if I lose my voice? What if I end up sounding like Mickey Mouse? And of course, there's still the fear of Buttafuoco face.
The ENT seemed like he was trying to reassure me. He said, "It's not an emergency or anything. You've had this thing for years so it doesn't have to come out right away but I know you probably don't like it being there. You're a good-looking guy and you don't want that thing poking out but it's not as bad as you probably think it is."
I thought to myself, "Tell that to the guy who injected me with the dye."
So, now I just have to talk to my work to find out when I can take some time off and as soon as I find out, I can let the doctor know and they can make the arrangements to slit my throat.
The only problem is I have to use my paid time off from work for the recovery, which is definitely not how I planned to use that time. I'm not thrilled to spend my vacation time in bed with a bandage around my throat, coming off an anesthesia high. And that's if everything goes well. I might have to pull an Adele and go on vocal rest, or even worse, try to stimulate my nerves so I don't go slack-jawed.
But, this really does have to be done. I think, either way, I'm going to be deformed. I can have a nice scar, a lump, or a paralyzed face. Congratulations, Brannon, you might just become a mute monster.