My two new favorite words...
Those are the words the surgeon used to describe Luke's lymph nodes today! The surgeon talked with our pediatrician a couple of weeks ago, scoured her notes and all of the labs and images from the past 3+ weeks, talked with me, and examined Luke this morning. He found many swollen nodes on the anterior right side of his neck (front) and a few on his posterior right side (back) and even some in his hip area, but he said the nodes are still TINY compared to anything that would be concerning.
He spent a lot of time talking with me and answering every question I had... He said that at this time he feels a biopsy is unnecessary for several reasons - our initial complaint is getting smaller everyday (it appears to have responded to the antibiotics - which cancer does not do!), Luke is otherwise perfectly healthy without any other signs of cancer, and the doctor has never seen a cancer present like this in a three year old. (A little extra info - with swollen lymph nodes, the reason is generally an infection of some sort or cancer.) Did I mention that Luke's doctor spent 12 years as a pediatric surgeon in one of the leading cancer institutes in America? Even if we did biopsy it, we would only be doing a biopsy on one node (the largest) and it wouldn't give us any indication of what's going on with all the other nodes. So, even a biopsy cannot guarantee that a person (let's stop talking about cancer in terms of Luke, shall we?) does not have cancer because only one node is being biopsied and not all of them.
Luke has been scheduled for a follow-up visit with the surgeon in a month. If the nodes are larger, he may consider a biopsy then. He still feels 99.99999% sure that this is going to pan out to be nothing more than an infection or perhaps a matter of Luke just having larger than normal lymph nodes on his right side. He encouraged us to just live life like normal and enjoy our fun little guy (Luke was a riot at the doctor). He did tell me to keep the most tell-tale cancer symptoms in the back of my mind --- weight loss, excessive bruising, unexplained itching, night sweats --- but not to worry. Luke appears to be just fine.
I don't ever want to hear one of my boys' names used in the same sentence with the word "cancer" again, but I can honestly say that this has been a growing experience for me. The greatest thing I learned is to pray without ceasing while trusting God's plan, even if it includes something very, very scary and undesirable. Being able to do that brings a peace that I can't describe. I have always known in my heart what I wanted (Luke to be perfectly healthy) but I knew that we would be okay no matter what the outcome.