My Real Life

October 9, 2015

It’s Not a Tumor

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

A few weeks ago, I woke up and found a strange lump on my clavicle.

Well, not on my clavicle, but above my clavicle, at the base of my neck, a bit to the side.

And, it wasn’t just a little lump.

It was a big one.

I apologize for the visual, but the best way I can describe it is that it was like someone put a breast implant on top of my shoulders.

Weird, right?

It didn’t hurt, but it was unnerving.

And embarrassing.

It wasn’t yet sweater weather, but I started wearing a sweater to work to cover it up.

And then, after two days, I went to the school nurse.

She was stumped, and called the FastER in town, and put me on the phone with the doctor there.

He, too, was stumped and wanted me to come in for a closer look.

So, I went.

He poked and prodded, brought in another doctor to check it out, and in the end, put his hand on my shoulder and said “Well, you are just strange!”

I could have told him that without the $10 copay.

He was no closer to knowing what was up, so he ordered bloodwork and told me, if it hadn’t cleared up in two days, to call the local imaging center for a CT scan.

Two days later, not only hadn’t it cleared up, it had gotten bigger, so I called and scheduled the CT scan.

The next day, I got a call that the bloodwork came back and was clean.

So, hurdle one, cleared.


The next week, I went for the scan.

It was a CT scan with contrast.

They hadn’t been sure that they were going to do the contrast because of my shellfish allergy.

They had me bring my inhaler, take Benadryl, and were prepared for disaster.

That really set me at ease.

The woman warned me, beforehand, exactly what it was going to feel like when the IV fluid was going in.

She said it was going to be hot, and then I’d feel flushed and hot from the chin to “the groin” and I’d feel like I had peed in my pants.

“The dye can’t actually make you urinate, but you will definitely think you did.”

Sounded lovely.

“The most important thing,” she told me, “Is that you don’t move. Not even a fraction of an inch.”


I lay back in the machine and closed my eyes, and the table began to move me through slowly.

From the other room, she pushed the button that began the IV.

I felt it creeping up my arm, but it was freezing, and not even a little warm, like she had said.

I figured this was it.

The end.

I was having a reaction to the contrast, and that was why I was feeling it as cold instead of hot.

That my body was beginning to shut down.

To paralyze.

I was turning to stone.

And then…I began to flush.

My face felt hot and sweaty, and it traveled down my body until…

Oh no.

She was wrong.

I was the exception to the rule, and the dye had made me pee.

All over the table.

I was mortified.

I lay there in a pool of my own urine, and tried to figure out how to extricate myself from the situation with grace and just a little bit of dignity.

But, I never moved.

Finally, the table slid back out of the machine, and she came in.

“All done!”

I sat up, ready to explain what had happened, when I realized, I was dry.

And all the weird sensations were gone.

“How was it?” she asked.

“Great,” I responded. “I barely noticed a thing.”


Fast forward a few days, and I get a call from the doctor.

“So, the results are in,” he says. “Everything is clear. There doesn’t appear to be anything there.”

“Wow! That’s great!” I say. “So, um, what the heck is going on?”

“I honestly don’t know,” he said.

“Hey!” I said. “I have an idea… maybe it’s bunched muscles or something? I recently started working out with kettle bells, and it works different muscles than usual, and it’s possible, right?”

There was silence on the other end of the phone.

“Right?” I asked, again, a little more desperately this time.

He hesitated, and I couldn’t help but wonder what it could possibly be.

Not cancer…the bloodwork was clear.

Not a cyst…the CT was clear.

So, what was it that he was so terrified to tell me?

What could it be that had him, a trained doctor, trying to find the words to say?


He cleared his throat and spoke softly.

“Actually…I think it’s just…fat.”

Now it was my turn to be silent.

Finally, I mustered an “Excuse me?”

“I think it might be a new pocket of fat.”

I thanked him and hung up and sat there, at my desk, incredulous.

Grateful, believe me.

Very grateful that it wasn’t cancer or anything dangerous or anything that would require surgery.


I was dumbfounded.


On top of my freaking shoulders?

I no longer have to just worry about my butt, my thighs, and my belly.

Now, I need to worry about collecting fat on top of my shoulders?

And so, if you need me, I’ll be doing bench presses in the basement so I don’t wind up having to wear a turtleneck bathing suit next summer.

But, hey, maybe if it’s migrating from other parts of my body,  I’ll fit into skinny jeans sooner than I’d hoped!


  1. Amy, I have a thing like that on the inside of my elbow. Also got a shock when I saw it coming up. Our Dr’s aren’t keen to remove it unless it is bothering you. So I also end up wearing 3/4 sleeve tops to hide it. Not painful or anything, just a lump of fat!

    Comment by Joan Visser — October 9, 2015 @ 7:45 am | Reply

    • Who knew!?!?!

      Comment by Amy — October 9, 2015 @ 8:02 am | Reply

  2. Hahaha!! You made me laugh– only with the last part!
    What you have is called a lipoma. I had a small one removed from my FOREHEAD like a gazillion years ago and several years later another from my forearm. But guess what? The one in my forehead has returned!!! It looks like I hit my head or I’m about to grow an antler or something. And the doctor I saw is convinced that it is an elevation in the bone, WTF? No, I have already had this, take it out!!! I’m gonna have to start wearing bangs to cover it up (sorry for any mistakes in spelling or grammar, I’m from Argentina).

    Comment by Grace — October 9, 2015 @ 8:51 am | Reply

    • Ah! A name! A name! The human body is a mystery to me!!!

      Comment by Amy — October 9, 2015 @ 8:57 am | Reply

  3. I know you’ll be happy to hear that my dog has this. She’s had it for years and it never changes.

    Comment by S.W. Hubbard (@SWHubbardauthor) — October 9, 2015 @ 10:17 am | Reply

    • You know…I’ve always felt like I had some canine tendencies.

      Comment by Amy — October 9, 2015 @ 10:21 am | Reply

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