At the physician’s office, the CD took a while to load on his laptop. I suggested that while we were waiting for the images to load, perhaps we could discuss the accompanying radiology report. I knew that the radiologist would provide a written assessment of his/her findings, so I wanted to get straight to the results. My physician, however, excused himself for a bit since the CD was taking a while to load and to me, this was another red flag of bad news to come. When he returned a short while later, the discussion centered around the enlarged lymph node and the fact that it “may” show evidence of necrosis at the center. I was more certain than ever that I had cancer and based on everything I read it was likely squamous cell carcinoma. The real question was where the cancer originated – my lungs? The next step was to biopsy the enlarged lymph node to obtain more information through a procedure known as fine needle aspiration.
The physician injected novocaine directly into the enlarged mass prior to inserting a needle twice to extract fluid from the area. He remarked that not a lot of fluid was easily obtained, which helped rule out to some extent the possibility of a cyst. Once again, all arrows pointed to cancer. The novocaine injection was the most painful aspect of the procedure, with the minor exception of some discomfort towards the end of the second needle stick. The physician laid out a series of glass slides on the counter an applied the contents from the syringe onto them all. That was it; now to wait for the pathology report. Much to my chagrin, the doctor indicated that it could be up to a week to receive the report. More waiting! I wasn’t sleeping at night, so I was prescribed Ativan (lorazepam) to take before bed.