Someone left a comment asking about how my pesky parotid lump situation worked out.
When I last posted, I was heading to the big university hospital in town for a second fine needle aspiration. The first aspiration had not generated enough material to complete the flow cytometry that my doctor had requested.
My second needle aspiration was interesting and surprising. A pathologist (rather than an ENT) did the aspiration herself. She did NOT use any kind of local anesthetic, because she said that the anesthetic is typically drawn back out through the needle, washing out or hiding the real fluid/material from your parotid. The doctor also did the FNA in stages... she poked me enough to get a decent amount of fluid, then put that fluid on slides and analyzed the slides under a microscope. Then, based on what she saw, she poked me again, put the fluid on slides, looked at them under a microscope, and so on. By doing the FNA in stages, the pathologist was able to make sure she had enough fluid/material to do a proper analysis under the microscope and to complete the flow cytometry.
I think we finished after three rounds. The pathologist drew out as much fluid as she could to make my "lump" shrink down to almost normal size. It was great while it lasted... but within 48 hours, my lump was back to its old size!
I can say with conviction that having a needle poked into your face repeatedly, without any kind of injected anesthethic, requires some machismo. It was not the kind of pain that would make you black out or scream, but it certainly was the kind that would make you jump and say "OW!" Next time, I might ask if a topical anesthetic would help - it at least would not sink into the face.
Another benefit of having the pathologist do my FNA and analyze it as she worked - she was able to tell me immediately whether she saw anything concerning on the slides. I went home knowing that the pathologist was pretty certain that my cyst was just that... a harmless cyst.
A few days later, the final results came in: not cancerous. Totally benign! Woohoo!