A few weeks ago, Mr. T started complaining that his arm (left upper arm, right below the shoulder) had been sore lately. As he was rubbing it, he noticed a bump. It was a pretty significantly sized bump. I could see it was there even without feeling it, and when I did feel it, it was very hard and didn’t move. Huh. That was a Thursday evening. He said he had only noticed it bothering him for a couple of days. Since he had finals the following week I decided to take him to the walk in clinic to have it checked out on Saturday. The doctor thought it was curious. It didn’t move and disappeared under the muscle when he lifted his arm, which would indicate it was on the bone. An x-ray confirmed that, and before I knew it we were getting a referral for an MRI.
Now I don’t know about you, but to me an MRI seemed worrisome. The doctor tried to be reassuring, saying that odds were that it was a benign mass as the x-ray didn’t seem to have any of the tell-tale signs of a malignant tumor. But his demeanor still indicated some concern. And throw in words like mass, tumor, malignant and even benign, and I’m just a little bit unnerved.
The next week he had an MRI. That was kind of a surreal experience. It was a later evening appointment, so the hospital was fairly quiet. The MRI area was dark and a little cold. Mr. T hopped up on the table and they put a warm blanket on him. I sat next to the tech(?) during the process, and watched as the insides of my child popped up on the screen. It was fascinating and just a little freaky. The whole process took about 30 minutes. Toward the end, the tech consulted with a radiologist and they decided he would not need the dye injection for the contrasting images, which was a very good sign. Everything seemed to indicate that it was a benign bony growth.
On the following day, a nurse from the walk in clinic called with the results, which were basically that he had a benign bony growth technically called an exostosis of the left lateral humeral shaft. Basically, he has new bone growing on the surface of his humerus. We saw his pediatrician the next day and he somewhat jokingly said that it’s almost like Mr. T is trying to grow a third arm. It’s nothing really dangerous and really only needs to be addressed if its causing the patient discomfort. Unfortunately, it is causing Mr. T discomfort as it’s rubbing against the muscle. It’s not something that will ever go away on its own, and there is the distinct possibility that it will continue to grow through his adolescent growing period.
So now we have a referral to see the orthopedic specialist at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Surgery is a real possibility. I think that freaks Mr. T out just a little. I asked if given the choice would he rather have the noticeable and occasionally painful protrusion on his arm or have it surgically removed, and he was pretty torn. His appointment is tomorrow, so I guess we’ll see.
One thing I really appreciate about his pediatrician is that when he was giving us the referral he said this was who he would take his son to see if he were in our shoes, and that whatever this doctor suggested we do, he would do without question. It was reassuring to have him express that much confidence in this doctor’s abilities and professional opinions.
This is not the first health-related scare we’ve had with Mr. T. For the first decade of his life he really struggled with his asthma. He’s been hospitalized five times with pneumonia and other bronchial related complications from his asthma. When he was two years old, he had a severe asthma attack on Mother’s Day. I was four months pregnant with DynaGirl at the time, and for just a moment I thought I might actually lose my first baby. I think based on these early experiences I’ve always been a little over protective of him, so my heart might have skipped a beat or two through this latest process. I’m confident now that things will be fine, but man, this is the part of motherhood I could really do without.
My oldest sister has said more than once over the years that she doesn’t know how I deal with the asthma and the food allergies and all the other stuff we’ve been through with the the kids. But you just do what you have to do, and I know it could be so, so much worse. I thank God every day for my relatively healthy children, and my heart goes out to those parents who don’t have it nearly so easy.
I’ll let you know what happens with the third arm.
Have a lovely President’s Day weekend everyone!