Friday, July 23, 2010

I Discover a Mass in my Face

My Battle with Merkel Cell Carcinoma

About me.
I am a 69 year old male diagnostic radiologist from Fresno. I have been in Fresno for almost 35 years, having left my radiology group a few years ago. I now work about half time as a pool physician at Kaiser.
I am married 48 years. I have 3 sons, 4 granddaughters and a grandson on the way.

May 6 2010:
I am visiting my mother in Montreal and I notice a lump in my face in front of my left ear. It is about 2 cm in diameter, firm, and mobile. It seemed to appear completely out of the blue, There is no pain. I can’t feel any lymph nodes in my neck.
May 11 2010:
I am back in Fresno and get an informal ultrasound of the area. The mass is superficial to the parotid gland and is solid and vascular. In the superficial lobe of the parotid is another similar appearing mass of about 1 cm. I call my friend Richard Weinberg, an ENT specialist in Fresno. He tells me to come right over and he will take a look at it. He examines me and says he doesn’t operate on the parotid, and has me seen by Dr Benjamin Teitelbaum. I have not heard of him before but Richard says he is the best for the parotid in Fresno. He examines me and sends me for a contrast enhanced CT scan of my neck.
May 12 2010:
I go for my CT scan. I review the images with Leyla Azmoun, the neuroradiologist at Sierra Imaging Associates.The scan shows the same findings as the ultrasound but there is a 1 cm lymph node in the neck. It is at the borderline between normal and suspicious.

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