Another Bump on the Road or, Rather, in the Groin
I fished out the speeding ticket that a solemn highway patrol officer with a matter of fact approach issued to me at the beginning of my drive back, right after I was stuck in a complete standstill for almost an hour. The six hour trip turned into an eight hour nightmare.
That night I finally stood in my shower, in my apartment and enjoyed the hot water cascading from the top of my head to my feet. I closed my eyes imagining how I would burrow into the bed, pulling my sheets over me and not some questionably washed hotel linens.
My bliss lasted exactly until the moment I glanced down at my torso, soap in one hand, lathering myself up with the other.
WHAT was THAT?!
I stared at the area where the lower abdomen melts into the groin. I saw a walnut sized bulge on the right side. I looked up and looked back down. It was still there. I bent down, water running in my eyes. I poked it with my finger. It didn’t hurt. It was soft. What was that?
I spun around in the shower, now frantically finishing up my washing routine, a frown settling on my forehead. All I could think about was my inconclusive PET scan from a month ago and the follow up ultrasound that revealed some ovarian cysts.
But they said not to worry about them! I argued with myself as I angrily scrubbed my legs.
What if one of them suddenly grew and filled with more fluid? My brain propositioned.
Or, what if, my fear midget sent this thought, what if it filled with BLOOD!?
I looked at the bump again. As if I had X-Ray vision I imagined a blood filled sack about to rupture at the slightest move. I imagined myself in the shower, writhing in pain, water mixing with blood and nobody finding me for days as the water changes from hot to cold and my skin gets all wrinkly from the moisture.
Something (rational) in the back of my head kept pointing out that the ovaries really weren’t exactly in the same exact spot where the bump was. But to me, it fit. It had to be the ovarian cyst. It grew. Suddenly. And it would burst.
It was Monday night and coincidentally, I had an annual OB-GYN appointment set up for Wednesday afternoon.
Tuesday morning, I started working as usual but as the morning progressed, I kept getting up from my desk, pacing around, checking my bulge and compulsively looking up burst ovarian cyst on the internet. By 11AM, I couldn’t contain myself anymore and called the OB-GYN with the intention of forcing them to see me the same day.
After the confused receptionist sorted out that I was talking about a lump on my ovary and not my breast, she grudgingly said that Dr. S. could see me that day at 2:30PM but that my annual exam cannot be done at the same time. I would have to come back on Wednesday. I didn’t care, despite the lack of logic in that.
Later that day, I drove to the hospital, mentally pleading with my cyst to not burst yet, to just wait a little longer until I am not inside a moving ton of steel.
I sat in the waiting room, leafing through the Pregnancy magazines because they were the only choice of reading material. Finally, they called me in.
The nurse took my blood pressure, asked me about my height and weight and wrote down what I stuttered about my PET scan, ultrasound and the cysts. Her eyes glazed over about 30 seconds into my story but I pressed on.
Another 20 minutes later, I sat naked, shivering on the exam table with a paper shirt resembling a napkin on the top and a paper towel resembling sheet on the bottom.
The doctor came in. She was pregnant, had long blond hair in a pony tail and smiled.
I explained my story to her. This time there was no glazing over. Before she even asked me to reveal the bulge, she said:
“I don’t think this is the ovaries. They are much deeper inside your body. This sounds like something totally different.”
WHAT? I reeled on my paper toweled perch. What else could it possibly be?? What other problem had I earned in the cosmic book of cause and effect? Weren’t two cancers enough? Wasn’t the ongoing treatment for both enough? Wasn’t the stress from PET scans enough? What the hell did I do in my past life?
I was asked to lie back as the doctor slid out the end of the exam table under my knees.
“Did you want me to do your annual exam too while you are here?” She asked with another big smile.
“Yes, that would be great, actually. But the lady at the front desk told me you wouldn’t be able to do it…”
“Oh, that’s silly. Let’s just do it today.” She smiled on.
WHAT ABOUT MY BULGE!?
I was asked to slide my arms out of the paper napkin shirt and she proceeded to check my breasts or, rather, the implants. Then she moved lower on my body.
“I don’t feel anything.” She said, frowning and pushing and kneading about my right groin area.
I sat up. I looked and the bulge wasn’t there.
“Can I stand up?” I asked confused. What the hell? Where was the walnut?
I stood up, my bottom paper napkin falling to the floor. I was completely naked except for my black and blue striped socks. We both kept staring down at my groin. I felt rather peculiar because I stood on the step stool so my breasts were at the doctor’s eye level.
I kept pressing around the area where I knew the bulge was. I couldn’t find it.
“Oh my god, you must think I am crazy.” I said. “I swear it was there.” I sat down and stood up a couple times.
The doctor observed, her head cocked to the side. I stepped off the stool and took a few steps around the office. I looked down. The bulge was back.
“There it is!” I exclaimed happily.
“Oh, OK, I see.” The confusion on the doctor’s face cleared. “I think this is a hernia.”
“Yes, I can push it back in, and there is no inflammation around. This definitely looks like an inguinal hernia. I can give you a name and a number of a general surgeon. They can fix that easily.”
She then finished my annual exam, I got dressed and walked outside in the sunshine with a list of surgeons to call. I wasn’t mad. I wasn’t angry. I was dazed that I actually had a normal, common problem that is easily fixable.