So, I know that I totally left you hanging on Thursday – but I’ve been trying to keep the typing to a minimum – especially since when I was typing, I was pretty much chicken pecking with my right hand.
Last time I was around these parts, I was headed to the orthopedist to have my ganglion cyst looked at – I was feeling pretty nervous, as I had no idea what I was going to happen at my appointment! First off, for all of you other medical/science/google addicts like me, a ganglion cyst is:
“The most common mass or lump in the hand. They are not cancerous and, in most cases, are harmless. They occur in various locations, but most frequently develop on the back of the wrist. These fluid-filled cysts can quickly appear, disappear, and change size. A ganglion rises out of a joint, like a balloon on a stalk. It grows out of the tissues surrounding a joint, such as ligaments, tendon sheaths, and joint linings. Inside the balloon is a thick, slippery fluid, similar to the fluid that lubricates your joints.” ~ According to American Academy of Orthapedic Surgeons
So, here’s a reminder of what mine was looking like – I took this picture on Thursday at my appointment. It had grown in size over the 5 months I had it, and I was feeling pain all the time.
My appointment included a whole lot of waiting. I did a great job catching up on all my “Words with Friends” games, FB, and QuizUp!! After about 50 minutes (which felt like 5 days), I was finally taken for x-rays of my wrist. They looked perfect, with the exception of the fact that one of my wrist bones was more angled than typical (my guess is that this had something to do with the fact that I broke my let wrist when I was 8). The doctor came in about 15 minutes later, and pretty much asked me what I wanted to do with Mr. Cyst. When I said I wanted to get rid of it, he said, “Ok, let’s do it!” (*my immediate inner monologue: oh, ok… you mean, right now? On second thought, I’m fine… gotta go!*). He explained the procedures to me, noting that the first plan of attack was to aspirate it (read: rupture) with a needle and inject the spot with a steroid from preventing it from returning
Me: Well, that sounds pleasant.
He also explained that the needle method had a 10-15% recurrence rate, where surgical removal had about 10-12% — so it makes sense to go the aspiration route first. So, I signed my life away, and then the doctor said, “Let me go get some needles!”
Here’s where I started to panic. I was glad I wasn’t going to have to come back, but I had myself convinced that this was just going to be a consultation. So, I text P and my mom saying, “Goodbye cyst – I’m waiting on the needle!” I then start to further panic – see… I have a little huge fear of blood. It started in college when I passed out during a blood draw, and then also passed out during a required first aid class for my PT job (one of my more embarrassing moments – had to ride in the ambulance to the ER and everything.). I now freak out when I even think about blood or see it –and I have to take someone with me every time I need blood drawn … (fun fact: we don’t even say blood at our house, P always refers to it as syrup). I have scared many a tech away with my warning, “So, I tend to pass out….”
Anyway, back to my story. Doctor comes back in with his mobile kit of goodies… and has me turn my chair so my arm is on the examination table and rolls a gown to prop my arm up. At this point, I’m thinking, “I should probably mention the whole ‘I tend to pass out thing’” So I do,…. His response, “make sure you fall this way so you fall on me and not the floor!” My doc was both young and cute – I’m not sure if that made the situation more or less awkward!
Now I’m doing my best to A: talk myself into staying upright in the chair and B: answer his questions/conversation while not looking at my hand. I spent most of the procedure looking at the wall, so I can’t tell you exactly what happened – I do know he numbed me up, and then proceeded to aspirate the cyst…. which basically means that he poked around in there trying to get the thing to pop.
Doc told me that I had more than one pocket in there (of course I did, why wouldn’t I?). The darn thing didn’t want to cooperate, so it was several minutes of poking around in there until he thought he had gotten it all. I could definitely feel some of this part of the procedure, and it wasn’t horrible, but I must have flinched a couple of times, since he checked in on my status. I kinda sorta wanted to watch too (like watching a train wreck, I suppose), but of course, the one time I looked, I had “syrup” running all over my hand. So I spent the rest of the time after that staring at the wall, keeping myself in the chair.
Once the thing was popped, he injected me with a steroid and put a band-aid on – and that was it! No splint, no bandaging, no exercise restrictions. He then proceeded to tell me that I’d most likely be cursing him for the next 2 days. I think I smirked at him. He told me to keep an eye on it, and that I’d most likely know in 3-4 weeks if it was coming back, and off I went.
I then made the genius decision to run to the grocery store (after my body stopped shaking like a leaf in the car—apparently I had some shock going on), because I needed to get stuff to make my Dad’s birthday cake the next day. I’m figuring I’ll go real quick before my hand really starts to hurt – NBD.
I’m an idiot.
There I am in the grocery store—picking out an avocado for dinner – and *BAM* numbing stuff is immediately gone and it feels like my hand and arm has been run over by a car. I almost burst into tears in the middle of the grocery store – I then proceeded to repeat “mind over matter” and moved like my ass was on fire to get out of there! But not before picking up some of this because I’d been so brave:
Not gonna lie – I wasn’t all that impressed. P and I are still on the hunt for the salted caramel one though. I have high hopes for that one.
I made it home and was doing okay until I tried to go to the bathroom and struggled to get my pants off…. And then I cried. And then I cried again when I couldn’t get the Tylenol top off. I’m right handed, but hey the left hand does a lot for me. Friends, I had NO IDEA that it was going to hurt that bad. My entire arm and hand HURT – like a steamroller went over the whole thing. I ended up keeping it against my chest the rest of the night (after doing the dishes in the sink, because clearly I have issues!) I may or may not have cursed the doctor. ;-)
Thank goodness for P who took care of me, including getting the Tylenol top off, cutting my food up, and helping me into my pajammies! He’s such a gem. Luckily, I woke up the next day and the pain was much better – I had limited use of my hand, but at least I could use it. It’s gotten a little better every day, although it will hurt a lot at random moments. Now it just looks gross:
I’m a little concerned that there’s still a little bit of a bump there – we’re just going to hope that’s swelling! I’m totally 100% glad that it’s gone – even if I didn’t feel that way 4 days ago!
I was able to make my Dad’s birthday cake, was strength training yesterday, and am pretty much back to being fully functional.
What an experience!! But you know – it makes for a good story at leastJ We did other fun stuff this weekend – but this post is pretty much forever long at this point, so I’ll stop here J
If you skipped to the end: the cyst is gone – it really hurt—but I’m better, and we’re all gonna hope it stays gone!
Hope you’re having a great Tuesday!!!
Disclaimer: Clearly I am not a medical professional — this was my experience and my decision about the removal of my ganglion cyst- please talk to your doctor if you are experiencing something similar!
Answer me this: Have any good/horror stories about medical procedures? Anyone else squeamish about blood? How are you today?
~ Brittany xo