I have a sore spot in my armpit. A hard little kernel, like a pebble in my armpit shoe. I’ve pointed it out to the mammogram lady, the OBGYN, the old oncologist and the regular doctor for the last six months. They have all said that it is residual swelling from the mono last year and not to fear. But I feared a little anyway because that is what mothers do. We fear the what ifs! We fear dying and leaving our baby birds crying with gaping mouths that will never know a mother’s ABC worm again. Tragic.
This fear has lead to positive behavior modifications, however. I have tried really hard not to be hit by any buses or to eat carcinogenic cured meats. But I have been getting in every photo I can, just in case. If I’m gone my children will not have any worms but they will have my iPhone memory to look at if nothing else. I’ve upped my berry and kale intake and have attempted to get more restorative sleep. (The last sentence should really read ‘I love wine and it is an antioxidant so all is well.’)
But then this week I got a new oncologist and he felt around and said “armpit ultrasound , stat, you have a history of cancer so we have to be cautious and take a look!” For the record, he looks exactly like an Asian Sherlock Holmes. I got so excited when I first laid eyes on him and his over the top tweeds that I yelled “you look just like Nancy Drew! I mean Sherlock, OMG, hi, my name is Jana”. I might have been a little nervous. But anyway, armpit, stat, etc. was a relief to me. Not knowing and worrying about the what ifs sucks. If I’m dying I need to fight for my life and make amends and get to the beach and see all my people. If I’m not dying then I can quit thinking about leaving individually packed masticated worm servings in the freezer for the kids.
But then the unexpected happened in my brain, relief turned to true terror. If someone else can feel the kernel then it is a real, actual thing. I guess my brain wasn’t ready to think about cancer. So I started wondering if it was an unborn twin, one of those teratoma tumors with teeth and hair and then I actually got freaked out. What if there is a tiny head with horrible unbrushed teeth in my armpit? So once again I opened my nervous, clearly filterless mouth and said “if it is a teratoma and it has teeth you can NEVER tell me. I will never recover from that. I’m serious, you have to lie.” Sherlock, God bless him, only laughed a little but said he couldn’t promised that because if he found an unborn twin in my armpit he was going to tell EVERYONE. Right then I know everything would be ok.
And it was, because I had the ultrasound today, performed by a stunning Barbiesque young lady from the far reaches of Siberia! She had to drive 8 hours to get to a train station,then take a train for three hours, just to get to an airport in order to leave her village. So I expressed sympathy over how infrequent her trips home must be and she said “hello! Barbie has her own plane, duh!” No she didn’t, that’s a lie, but she said she can Skype her people, even in the winter now, so life is good. She told me about every teratoma she has ever seen though and I might never sleep again! Siberian Barbie reassured me that teratoma is not all that uncommon but that I didn’t have one. At least not in my right armpit.
Wikipedia, a totally reliable source😉 has this to say about them in case you don’t understand the severity of this condition. It could have FEET people!