Wednesday, November 15, 2006

And Another Thing

"Hey, take a look at this," Joseph says, during the Packer game on Sunday.

Both Ryan and I turn away from the game and toward Joseph, who's leaning back on the couch-- the right half of his shirt pulled up, exposing his stomach and ribs on that side.

"See-- right here."

With his left hand, he's rubbing the bottom of his right rib cage. Then he removes his hand, takes a deep breath, and sure enough something is there-- a lump the size of a large marble.

I walk over and touch the lump gently with the tips of my index and middle fingers-- it's hard and movable.

And I have no idea what it is.

"Do you think I just have an extra bone?" Joseph asks, sounding almost hopeful.

"No, I doubt it, Honey," I say, shaking my head at him. "Does it hurt at all?"


"Well, I'm sure it's nothing to be worried about, but just the same I think I'll call your doctor tomorrow and see if he wants to have a look."

"It'd be kind of cool if I had an extra bone, you know?"

So I call his pediatrician's office the next morning and describe the lump to a nurse. She too has no idea what it could be, suggesting I bring him in on Wednesday.

And today, I find myself sitting with my kids in an examining room-- feeling as uneasy as I had over two years ago-- the day we discovered Joseph had diabetes.

"So how are you all doing?" asks Doctor E as he walks in the room.

"I'm good," says Joseph, "except I think I have an extra bone."

His doc laughs, saying "let me just take a look."

Joseph pulls up his shirt, and I watch as the doc pushes on the lower part of his rib cage, feeling the lump from a number of angles.

"Why don't you lie down on the examining table. I think I know what this is, but I want to get a better sense of this thing."

Joseph climbs up on the table, lies back and again, lifts his shirt.

After a few moments, the doctor turns to me.

"Well, I'm pretty sure that what we're seeing here is not really a lump-- it's actually the end of one of Joseph's ribs. It's something called a 'slipped rib'."

"Is this a common thing?" I ask, hoping he says "yes."

"No, not really."


"But I have seen it before." Then he turns back to Joseph. "Because you're young and still growing, the cartilage connecting your ribs is still very soft, making it easier for things to move around-- when you're older, this area becomes much harder-- more calcified."

"Should we be concerned about this?" I ask, holding my breath.

"Well, no-- "

Quietly, I exhale.

" -- unless, of course, the area becomes swollen. Then we would be concerned about a possible tumor."

I swallow hard.

"A tumor?"

"Mom, what's a 'tumor'? Can I tell everyone I might have a tumor?" Joseph asks, sounding a little nervous.

My head snaps toward my son.

"No, Joseph-- absolutely not."

"Okay, okay, " he says, laughing a little.

I turn back to the doctor.

"A tumor?" I ask again, weakly-- as tears crowd along my lower eyelids.

"Well, they're usually benign tumors made up of cartilage-- chondromas. But we'll want to keep an eye on this. I'd like to see Joseph again in about six weeks . . . "

I really wish he'd said 'benign' before he said 'tumor'.

"Hmm . . . I think I'd also like to get an x-ray today. Do you all have time?"

"Yes, yes. I have to bring him back to school right now, but we could come back after school, if that's all right?"

"That would be just fine. And I'll call you tomorrow morning to talk about the x-ray results."

So Joseph had the x-ray, and now it's just a matter of waiting for a call.

It's probably nothing. No big deal.

Just a benign something.

Though, a cursory Googling of "slipped rib" brings up descriptions of people in pain.

So really, until I know what this is, I need to stay the hell away from Google.

I just don't want him to have another thing.


art-sweet said...

Oh. Crap.

This is not allowed to happen. I forbid it.

And you are forbidden to google.

Allison said...

Googling bad, Sandra. Bad.

Use should put up some yellow "Caution" tape around your computer monitor.

It didn't sound like the doctor was too concerned, so it probably isn't very serious. It's probably just a minor one-time thing....

Laura said...

ugh. hope its not serious

julia said...

Yes, I'm with A-S on this - it's not allowed.

Bernard said...


I hope you can keep away from the computer and endure the time until you hear more about what's happening to Joseph.

I've said and will continue to say some prayers for all of you.

Wish I could give you all some hugs.

floreksa said...

Sandra, back away from google....

While a slipped rib isn't common, I have heard of 1 or 2 other kids on one of my mom's groups having it and neither one had any symptoms beyond a round, nubby thing sticking out.

Prayers for a great follow-up phone call!

Penny said...

Yes, sometimes google can be the enemy.

I hope the xrays come back OK and it's nothing to worry about.

Vivian said...

I am praying that it is minor. We are all holding our breath right along with you. Damn them for making you worry anymore! Big hugs,Viv

Andrea said...

I have a bump on my leg.

It's true. It's about the size of a twonie, and a visible bulge. It's been there as long as I can remember. It's never grown, it's never shrunk. It's just there.

I've asked my family doctors about it and they have no idea what it is, but they're not concerned.

It's prudent to have it checked out, but remember to breathe.

Minnesota Nice said...

Geez - if it's not one thing, it's a g'zillion others.,,,,,,slways something.
Hope everything's fine.

Kelsey said...

I'm sure it'll be nothing Sandra... well, not sure, but very hopeful!

I'll say a little prayer for you and Joseph!

Scott said...

I'm sure it's nothing, and I was comforted by the response of the doc.

Sounds like nothing, but he's being sure - which I think is good.

Please keep us in the loop - you guys are family to us you know...