Back in October, right after I finished up some major dental work, I detected a lump on the side of my throat. When I questioned the dentist about it, he said it had something to do with the impacted wisdom teeth, and that once they were removed, it would subside. I let it go at that, figuring I would eventually get around to getting the wisdom teeth taken out. Well, in late February I made an appointment with the oral surgeon to have the wisdom teeth taken out. He noticed the lump and refused to do anything until I had it checked out by my physician. I still didn’t treat it as anything major, and I didn’t do anything to push up my physical, which was scheduled for some time in March. It wasn’t bothering me, and there were no symptoms accompanying it. No weight loss, no fever, no pain. It was something that had cropped up literally overnight, and since October it had never gotten any larger. Smaller, yes. From smaller, it had returned to the original size. But it had never gotten any larger. My doctor, on the other hand, was immediately concerned, asking my why I hadn’t come in sooner. He didn’t like my response, which was, “Because it wasn’t bothering me.” He made an appointment with a head and neck specialist, who I went to see within the week. While he didn’t seem to think it was any cause for concern, he did think it would be better if it was removed. The sooner the better. And still it didn’t seem to phase me in the slightest.
Well, the surgery was Friday. I was home Saturday. The mass that was removed from my neck was a little smaller than a golf ball, about the size of a jawbreaker candy, which surprised me, because it really didn’t feel that large on the surface. They are running tests on it. I’ll have the results by the end of the week. And I’m still not feeling anything — other than the pain of the surgery. I’m in more pain now than I was before the operation.
I had to wonder at my emotional response, or lack thereof, to this whole health scare. Have the events of the past six years deadened me to the entire concept of death and dying? In December of 2004, my sister passed away. She was 48. In 2005, I almost lost my mother. She had become so sick that I was asked to sign a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate). That was one of the hardest things I had ever had to do. And then in 2006, my oldest brother passed away at the age of 53. There are other things that happened afterward that I won’t go into because I don’t think they have any bearing on what I am going through now. I think these three incidents are the key. More specifically, that damned DNR. I know I was doing the right thing when I signed it, but on that day, something inside me died. Up until that time, I had always questioned the why of things; now I just accept things as they come, and that scares me more than anything.