Hello, I'm Angela and I'm a 17 year old female


Q: Hello, I'm Angela and I'm a 17 year old female. It would mean so much to me if you would give your opinion on this because no other doctor has diagnosed it. I'm super curious, a little worried, and can't get this off my mind!

I noticed a swollen lymph node on the right side on my neck right under my jaw around November of 2013. After it not shrinking my dad took me to our family doctor, he prescribed antibiotics and steriods but it didnt change in size so he sent me to get an ultrasound. The results were that my node is a little bigger than average (1.7 cm I think) but it's a normal shape so he told us not worry unless it got bigger.

It never went down but it stayed the same size for a while until last summer (summer of 2014) I noticed that it was getting a little bigger and would sometimes get this really strange itchy and uncomfortable feeling, like itchy inside my skin where the lymph node is. It wasnt lasting though, it was something that happened for like 5-10 minutes and go away but come back frequently. It kept happening for months but I would try to ignore it and try to remember how my doctor said "some lymph nodes just get swollen and dont go back down in size."

Eventually this itchy feeling was driving me crazy so I went back to my doctor and he sent me to get another ultrasound and reffered me to an ENT. The ultrasound showed that my lymph node grew even bigger (like 2.3 cm this time) the ENT checked my ears nose and throat pretty thoroughly and said everything looked fine so he sent me to get an FNA. They started out with the fine needle but the pathologist (i think that's what he was) wanted a better sample so they used something to get a little pieces of the actual lymph node. They commented on how my lymph node is so "rubbery" and close to the carotid artery that it was hard to even get this sample. My ENT told me the results showed nothing like lymphoma or any other cancer cells but he said it "didnt have that many cells in it" which was abnormal, he didnt say anything about this not being a lymph node though, (which makes me believe he found evidence that is a lymph node and not a cyst or anything) He also found another swollen node on my head behind my ear.

BUT to make this even more strange, I called my grandma today to ask her about something totally unrelated but we ended up on the topic of my lymph node and all of this. She told me that my mom (who is desceased) had the exact same thing but on the back of her neck. She noticed it was in her 20's and said it started out small then grew. Her doctor told her it was a fatty lipoma and nothing to worry about but he never diagnosed it with a biopsy or a scan, he told her this just by feeling it. My grandma told me that when my mom was in the hospital (she died of alcohol induced liver failure in her 40's) that this "fatty lipoma" on her neck was bigger than a golfball. I'm starting to think that this might be related/genetic and that her fatty lipoma was actually a lymph node like mine... but why would a lymph node swell so big? Or do you think maybe my doctors are mistaking a lipoma as a lymph node? Could this be life threatening since my node is so close to the carotid artery?

Symptoms:  Swollen lymph nodes in neck and behind ear.

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