First I'll tell you the clinical findings from my MRI. Then I'll tell you my thoughts and feelings. Just so you know, this is gonna be a long one. You may want to get a snack.
The MRI wasn't really as scary as I thought it would be. Then again I took a Xanax and that probably helped. A lot. I started out with my eyes open but when I got into the tube and I couldn't see anything but the machine anymore, I closed my eyes. And kept them shut. I had an IV with contrast again but they put the contrast in much slower than the CT so it wasn't so bad. I could taste it but it didn't make me want to pee my pants. I had headphones on so I could talk to and hear the guy that stayed in the side room. Wimp. He told me when to hold my breath and when I could breathe again. It took about an hour. Afterwards I went home and slept. Good times.
Ready for the big words? I have a 4.3 cm (that's small) mass within the lateral segment of the left lobe of my liver. There is suggestion of a central small, linear-shaped enhancing scar. Findings are suggestive for focal nodular hyperplasia. However, fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma cannot be ruled out. As well as the right lung nodule, I also have a right pleural effusion. Recommend follow-up MRI of the liver in 6 months
Did you get all that? Let me break it down for you. Focal nodular hyperplasia is the second most common tumor of the liver. It is found most commonly in women in their third or fourth decade of life. It is a benign (non-cancerous) tumor. It rarely grows or becomes malignant. Let's pray for that one!!
Fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma is an uncommon malignant (cancerous) neoplasm of the liver. I've looked into this one more but I don't want to share more unless I have to worry about it. Let's just hope it's not what I have to worry about.
Lung nodules are small masses of tissue in the lung and are quite common. Pleural effusion is an accumulation of fluid between the layers of tissue that line the lungs and chest cavity. Put bluntly, it's fluid around the lungs. Pleural effusion is an indicator of a pathologic process that may be of primary pulmonary origin or of an origin related to another organ system or to systemic disease. That last part doesn't sound so good. I'm glad mine's tiny. I also read that liver disease is a cause for pleural effusion.
How do I feel about it? I get that question a lot. I've been doing fine. The doctors think it's nothing. That should be good enough, right? My body has cried wolf before. I had a polyp removed and the surgeon really believed it was cancerous. It turned out to be nothing except for a pain in my ass. Literally. My dentist saw a mass in my jaw on a routine x-ray. That came back fine. And I got my wisdom teeth cut out. It was a good deal. The cells found on my cervix became healthy on their own. I've been telling everyone not to worry. I'm fine. Stuff like this happens to me all the time and it always turns out fine.
Then, on Sunday night, I let my mind wander. I let myself think "What if?" What if it doesn't turn out fine this time? What if it's not so easy? Am I really ok with waiting 6 months? A lot happens in 6 months. My birthday. Labor Day. Florida trip. Halloween. Thanksgiving. Christmas. New Year's. Then I realize that I have a lot more questions. Why can't they rule cancer out? Aren't they pros? How serious is the pleural effusion? Can it be coincidence? What is 6 months gonna show? Are we waiting for it to grow? What if 6 months is to long to wait? Am I willing to risk that?
That's when I realize that I'm a lot more scared than I even let myself believe. I hadn't really sat and thought about it. Everyone was telling me that it would be ok. I was telling them that I was fine. Problem is, I never really asked myself. Sometimes I don't like my own answers. So, as I lay in bed last night I had a conversation with God. For those of you that know me and my past, know that's tough for me. We had a good chat. Of course, I did all the talking. He's a great listener. We made me cry. Realization is a rough moment. I was finished with my talk and was trying to calm down so I could sleep when my mom knocked on my door. She had some laundry to bring in. I said thanks and she turned to go. Mothers always know. She came back in, sat on my bed, and held me. I needed that.
I feel weird being scared about it all because when everything comes back fine I'll just be another over-reactive patient. Working where I work does not help the situation though. Everything aside, I am giving myself this moment to be afraid and fear the unknown.
Today I talked with one of the doctors I work with. He's looking into my issue. I questioned a biopsy. He says since the mass is small that I really wouldn't want to go through with poking my liver. It's not a fun process. He sticks with waiting. I brought up the pleural effusion. He says we'll do a chest x-ray in 3 months and see if it changes. He's going to share my case with another doctor and let me know what they think. I know I'm in the best hands possible. I know I can trust him with my life. Which, is pretty much what I'm doing.
I have a feeling that this is gonna be a roller coaster ride for me. I ask you, up front, to bear with me. I'm gonna keep my positive thinking because that gets me through the day. Not just with my health. With my life. I ask for prayers and support. Oh, also, we named the tumor today. I'd like you to meet Leroy the Liver Lesion. Some will say that's weird but it's the way I cope. You can just ask Polly ;-)
Thanks for taking the time to read this. Hope it was enlightening. Love you all!