Wednesday, July 19, 2006

My Humps

Hump, actually. I have what is known as a Gangleon Cyst, and it hurts like hell.

This type of condition is a small pocket of fluid, located in the lining of a joint. Most commonly on the wrist, or fingers. The cause isn't known, but it is generally considered to be made worse by use.

It isn't news, I've had it for a while. Years, actually. I first started developing it after I first started working on chain mail, and since then over the years every hobby I started that used my wrist had the effect of cultivating it like a little fleshy bonzai tree.

It is on the back of my right wrist, on a 27 year old male, and is about 2 cm in diameter. All of this is not unusual. What is unusual is how much it hurts me. That's new, starting in the last couple of weeks. Apparently in a small number of cases it can put a strong pressure on the nerves around that area, and cause a great deal of pain. Lucky me.

It's been coming and going for ever, but before now all it did before was limit my mobility a bit and it was somewhat uncomfortable. They are sometimes called 'Bible Cysts' because of the traditional treatment - Smash it with the biggest book you can find. I have previously indulged in this quasi-folksy treatment and it does work, although the momentary pain can fairly be compared with your soul being forcibly removed from your still-living bones.

Problem is it always comes back. After extensive research I have decided to seek professional medical attention. So I went to a clinic, and the doctor made me an appointment with a plastic surgeon. I go under the knife in probably around 3 months, if I'm lucky.

Most likely they will simply drain the fluid and replace it with a tiny amount of a corticosteroid, but if the doctor decides it's more serious he can open me up and remove it surgically.

Of course I forgot to ask the big questions, like "So I guess I shouldn't keep popping it so that the surgeon has something to work on, right?" and "Is it O.K. to work out if I put it in a splint?". But 90 minutes in a walk in clinic waiting room followed by 25 in a cold examination room turns any mind to cheese.

Good times.


“I got the bill for my surgery. Now I know what those doctors were wearing masks for.”
-James H. Boren


laughingmagpie said...

I can't believe you've done the book thing! Wow! Cool!

I have a wee cyst at the base of my middle finger on my palm that comes and goes too, but thankfully it has been asymptomatic.

I used to look forward to the ganglion cysts during my plastic surgery rotation. It was very gratifying to either drain them or take them out - the surgeon would usually let me split them open. They are filled with a curious jelly, much like aspic.

You will have fun too. 3 months really isn't that long to wait to get something removed that you've had for years. But let the clinic (the plastic surgeon) know if things get worse, and you can also tell the receptionist that you'd be happy to be contacted if there's any cancellations.

iRob said...

I've thought about it. I'm not hugely concerned about the wait, as I'm queasy about the idea of going at all.

Speaking of that, thank you for your wonderful imagery. I didn't know that I had the medical equivalent of a giant painful zit on my arm. HA!

veritate said...

I'm queasey now.

I'm gonna' stop reading your blog, iRob. It's bad for my constitution. ;-)