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Forum Name: Head and Neck Cancer

Question: Young Female With Lump Behind Left Ear


 lauragayle - Sun Nov 25, 2007 12:02 am

Greetings!
I am a 24 year old, generally healthy and happy female. I'm average weight and average height, maybe a 10 lb increase in the winter because of all these yummy holidays! I have identical twin daughters who are 8 years old (yes, the math doesn't lie, I was the warning for all of my peers!) I've been pretty active and healthy all my life with only the usual colds and bumps and scrapes.

After my girls were born I did go through a depression which was successfully treated with anti-depressants for about 2 years. I go to the doctor every few years for my check-ups, don't smoke or do drugs but I do drink a few times a month with my girlfriends at book club meetings. I've coached the softball team for both my girls and I've always been the person to always be up for anything... even though I do love my 10 hours of sleep I can occasionally survive on 6 if I must.

About a month and a half ago I thought I might be suffering from depression again because I was constantly tired and run down and wanting to sleep all day long but no other real symptoms of depression. I was put on Effexor XR 150mg. I've also taken an oral birth control (Yasmine) for the past 5 years faithfully with no side effects. In the past month I've began having severe night sweats (so bad I drench my husband!) and during the day I will have excessive sweating also. And still I've felt constantly run down and I come home from work and have to MAKE myself do the things I love. I called the doc (who is great, by the way) and gave the nurse a run down and she passed on that those things were probably side effects from the effexor. Makes sense to me. So I still take my meds and I still have the side effects and they aren't getting any better or worse so on I trudge.

On Thanksgiving of all days I discovered a lump behind my left ear (not one behind my right ear) that isn't really painful or sore itself but I think it is sort of pressing on the area and causing the skin to stretch uncomfortably around it which was why I discovered it. The lump is about an inch behind my earring back and up a smidge (is that medical lexicon or what!?!) and it feels like it is maybe a little bigger than a new pencil eraser. It's still there today (Saturday evening so 3 days and counting) and hasn't changed that I've noticed.
I haven't been sick myself but everyone I know is battling a sniffle or cough or whatever else is going around right now.
So I googled "lump in neck behind ear" and this was the first result and here I am after reading some other questions.
What I would like is some piece of mind... is this something I can watch for a few weeks until the next winter break and then make a doc's appointment (I'm an assistant at a public school...) or is this something I need to take care of soon? My husband is apt to think I'm probably fine and jokes that the worst thing it could be is an alien implant (haha...) and I want to think so too... but darn that google and that wikipedia too... waaaayyyy too much information for the masses! :)
I appreciate any help or guidance anyone can offer. It is a Saturday evening, after all, and I have to live with any self-imposed fear until at least Monday morning so any calming or soothing will be much hoorayed!
Regards,
Laura Gayle
PS... do not even joke that my hubby could be right about the implant thing... he would get too much enjoyment out of it and I'd never hear the end of it! :)
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Mon Jan 21, 2008 11:33 pm

User avatar Hi Laura,

The lump you are feeling behind your ear is likely an enlarged lymph node. With your symptoms of fatigue, night sweats, etc. and this lymph node I wonder if you actually have an infection rather than it being side effects of your effexor. In particular, I am suspicious of an infection with a virus called Ebstein Barr Virus, the virus that causes mono. Depending on where you live, this may also be an infection such as Valley Fever (from coccidioides immitis).

I don't necessarily think this is an emergency, you should probably be seen soon. It is probably reasonable to wait until break if you need.

Best wishes.

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