Today I went to the doctor to pester him about the amount of pain I have been in. I have had pain in my left ear which I have been contending with and has been gradually getting worse since July 2015. I don’t know if it is associated with my rheumatic fever or not but, thus far, I have seen 6 different doctors about it none of which agree with what it could be but all of which have no idea of what it is. Not even with a slew of blood work, 4 MRI’s and a CT (so add a radiologist to that doctors list). The pain in my ear is now coupled with swollen glands in the back of my neck and head and has recently gotten to a point where the anxiety of worrying about what is causing the pain is probably making the pain even worse. The doctor today agreed with me on that aspect but it took some convincing (the beginnings of frustration based waterworks) to convince him that he needs to help me in the process of finding the underlying cause. I do not want to mask the pain with opiates and simply finding ways to reducing your stress doesn’t work when on the back of your mind you’re constantly wondering if every surge of pain is because you have lymphoma. When you’re “un-diagnosable” and multiple doctors have told you to your face “I don’t know” and basically given up, all that runs through your head is, what if this is a worst case scenario and I am a ticking time bomb? And the ear… yeah, that’s really close to your brain. Which is terrifying!
So, today we talked it out. And, in talking it out, we discovered something. It turns out that in the report for my MRI last October the radiologist recommended a follow-up MRI for my neck and an ultrasound for a nodule on my thyroid, neither of which I knew about. Multiple doctors saw the results of that MRI and no one told me about the radiologist's recommendation for a follow-up. They only told me the results were “unremarkable” (who are we kidding, I am always remarkable). If I hadn’t gone to the doctor today because I was feeling anxious about my pain, no one probably ever would have followed-up on that, especially since the doctor who ordered that MRI has since retired. This follow-up may only reveal something “unremarkable” again, but since an issue with your thyroid can cause ear pain, this is something I probably should have been informed about, or at least something that one of those doctors should have caught the first time around.