Yes, I've decided that my cyst was a he, because only a dude could cause me so much grief and heartache.
On Saturday morning, I went to the doctor to have the cyst cut out of my back. YUM! If you know me at all, you know that I am not a morning person to begin with. And I like to sleep in until anywhere from noon to 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays. So I was already kind of pissed that I had to schedule this appointment at 10:30 a.m., and who in the holy hell is up at that time on a Saturday? Oh, apparently everyone. Traffic was terrible. And having witnessed the traffic and glaring sunshine of a Saturday morning, I have to say that I now know I haven't been missing much at all when I'm acting like a vampire.
The waiting room was full; so full, in fact, that for the first 15 minutes of my 45-minute wait (and that was to just get into a room, and then wait some more), I had to stand next to the office doorway and put my hand out every time someone entered to ensure that the door didn't swing all the way open and crush me. Then, some 30ish guy (dude A) who was there with his parents recognized a new dude (dude B) who came in and sat down, and they proceeded to have the most awkward start-and-stop conversation ever. It was really painful for all of us there, I think. Dude B was like, "Yeah... I work at Com Ed still, but I transferred to the Addison and California office from Oak Park because it's closer to home..." and Dude A would immediately say "closer to home" a beat after, pretending like actually HE had been planning to say that because he was so totally familiar with this guy's life even though they obviously hadn't seen one another for years. You know that weird, annoying conversational style where someone interrupts you with your own just-spoken words. It was horrible. Then a few minutes passed and Dude A asked, "So what do you do for Com Ed?" and Dude B said, "I work in customer service" and Dude A smugly nodded his head like, oh yeah. Of course. In my omniscience, I knew that. The best part was when Dude A and his parents were leaving; his father apparently knew Dude B as well and came over to say goodbye and Dude B said, "Bye Frank" and the dad was like, "My name is Ray." hahahaha.
Anyway. Eventually I was called and they took me to a room and I sat there for another half hour or so. The doctor came in to mark the cyst on my back with a sharpie so that the nurse would know where to inject the vicodin (yay), and he noticed this little bump I have further down on my back. "Oh, we'll have to remove that too." What?!?! That little nubbin never did nothin' to nobody! That's just my lower back bump! WTF?!?!
In reality I was just like, "um, really?" And he told me that it would probably eventually swell up like the other cyst. I find this theory suspicious, as it's been there forever and seemed to enjoy just chillin' on my lower back being all small and stuff, but whatever. He marked them both with the sharpie and there was no turning back because that shit is permanent-ish.
The nurse left so that I could put on one of those crappy-ass paper gowns with the open back. I hate those things SO MUCH. Like being half-naked in a doctor's office while all the staff get to keep their clothes on isn't humiliating enough, they give you a robe that rips open with one quick, wrong move. I would so totally be okay with a real cloth robe that had been laundered after the last use. I'm not afraid of getting HIV or scabies from a damn robe. Also, this would be much more environmentally friendly. But no, I get to put on a paper smock with a flimsy plastic tie. Awesome.
The nurse came back and told me to lay face-down on the surgery bed/table thingy so that she could inject me with that vicodin. Which was the worst part; those shots sting like hell! Then she gave me the after-care instructions. Now apparently the doctor and nurses here are Serbian (I just looked up the doctor's "languages spoken" and I can assure you they were not speaking English or Italian, his other two, to one another). However, I'm terrible at accents and they sound Polish or Russian to me. So even though I'm sure she's totally a lovely person, everything she says sounds very forceful and kind of barked. Plus I was kind of pissed at her anyway for shooting up my back so I was mad at everything she said. She told me no exercising for the next two weeks, after which I would have the stitches removed. However, when she said this she also pantomimed using a weight machine, which is something I don't do. So I was like, "um, can I run?" And she very firmly said, "Maybe after five days, but be careful with your arm movements." Then she was like, "And if you have pain, you use only extra strength Tylenol. No ibuprofen." She said this one very severely. I had kind of been hoping for a vicodin prescription but I wasn't about to argue with her. I also didn't tell her that my drinking habits -- particularly my Saturday night drinking habits -- would probably preclude any acetaminophen use. She also said they'd call me with my results, which confused me. Did she just say this out of habit? I didn't know there were any results to be expected. Hmm.
She told me the shots would kick in ten minutes later. So I lay on the bed thingy. And lay. And lay. My hands were falling asleep from propping up my head. Probably about 20 minutes later, the doctor came in and got right to work. He began to cut my back open, asking if I felt any pain, which I did, so the nurse had to give me yet another shot. He was cutting open the troublesome cyst at the time and explained that scar tissue was more difficult to numb. Then things just felt really gross because I could not see or feel what he was doing but I could feel him moving the skin on my back around and that made me want to vomit. I knew stitches were coming at some point -- and sewing up skin just creeps me the fuck out -- but I had no idea when. Oh wait, NOW you're cutting loose the final stitch... okay, I got it. Then he moved on to the smaller, inoffensive cyst on my lower back. That one went much more quickly and he... not so much asked whether I wanted to see it as he said, "Now I'm going to show you this one , see it's not so small" and he brought the tweezers up by my face and showed me a little cyst the size of, say, a single edamame. I had been kind of pouty about the waiting and the shots and the insistence that we remove an inactive cyst up until that point, but the moment I realized he intended to show me something he'd just cut out of my back, I got really cheerful really quickly. And it was everything I'd hoped for and more.
Soon I was all sewn up and ready to go. He ran out of the room (that man is BUSY) after telling me not to have TOO MUCH fun this summer (ahahahah, doctor humor). I stood awkwardly clutching my paper robe while the nurse put the cysts into little jars. She asked if I wanted to see the big one and I quickly and loudly exclaimed, "YES." It was HUGE! Ever since the last time it angrily blew up, it's felt like a pea-sized lump in the middle of my back. Honestly, the lower nub felt larger to the touch. But this guy was a super secret giant! I think he still had some flesh attached (YUCK!) but he was about the size of a superball. You know, smaller than a ping pong ball but bigger than a large marble. Maybe the size of a walnut in the shell. I am terrible at making size analogies. But it was glorious! She told me that they were most likely just cysts but they were, in fact, sending them to the lab and would let me know. Is there some kind of malignant cyst disease? I have no idea. Neither she nor the doctor told me what a bad lab result would entail, so... um, I may be dying of bumpy back. I haven't a clue.
I was finally able to remove the bandages this morning, and now I'm totally freaked out by the stitches on my back. Luckily I'm supposed to keep them covered with giant band-aids until I have them removed. Easier said than done, though, in summer. I already had one slide off due to some minor sweating. I think I'll be spending all of my money on big band-aids.
So, there ends the tale of my little cyst. Or cysts, now, I guess. Unless something goes terribly awry in the next two weeks, I'll just have two small scars as a reminder. Goodbye, guys! Have fun in the lab.
I decided to spare you guys a picture of cysts. Here is my dog in a bag. Despite the crabby look on her face, she seemed to really enjoy this.