Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Medical update on Reed

So. Five weeks ago, I posted about how I found a lump under Reed’s jaw and the mess we went through getting him checked out. You can refresh your memory here. During that visit to the walk in clinic, we were told it could be several weeks, a month even, before the swollen lymph node returned to normal.

Wednesday afternoon I got a call from his teacher. She asked me if we’d notice the lump before because one of the helpers had been cleaning his face and felt it. Before making any calls, I wanted to see how it felt to me as I’d been checking it here and there. It had seemed to be smaller, but sure enough when I checked him that night, it was very enlarged.

Friday morning we took him in to see his pediatrician. While we were there we used that time to tell him what had happened when we first called about this and how the office staff treated us. He apologized profusely, and gave us reassurance he would deal with it.

Well. The lump that was proclaimed a swollen lymph node by the doctor at the walk in clinic five weeks ago, is in fact, NOT a swollen lymph node. Reed’s doctor feels fairly certain it’s what is called a thyroglossal duct cyst. Yeah… sounds lovely, no. According to what we’ve read, this is a congenital defect, meaning he was born with it. During gestation, the thyroid cells begin to form at the very back base of the tongue. They then descend down low into the throat. Sometimes the cells don’t close up entirely which leads to the formation of this cyst. There is a also a small horseshoe shaped bone called the Hyoid Bone that sort of floats in the neck at this level. It is not attached to any other bones and it’s main function is to support the tongue.

The treatment for this type of cyst is surgical removal. It’s done as an outpatient procedure. When removing the cyst, part of the hyoid bone is removed as well. The procedure takes about an hour.

While we’re unsure this is what we’re dealing with, it does seem pretty likely. Our next step is that we need to see a pediatric ENT specialist. Unfortunately, there are none here so we’ll be traveling to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock for this. We weren’t really given a timeline when we were at the doctor, but I received a phone call this morning telling us that an appointment had been scheduled for July 12. While I certainly wish the appointment was sooner, it does provide a sense of comfort in the fact that he’s not being rushed in for testing. We really won’t know more until we have this appointment. We’re not really sure what tests will be done for diagnosis, but they range from physical examinations, blood work, and ultrasound. I may call the clinic in a week or so to see if they can give us somewhat of an idea of what to expect. I’m not sure what protocol is, but if he needs fasting bloodwork, it’d be SO much easier to do that here before the appointment when we could wake him up and take him instead of making him ride three hours in the car with no food or drink. Anyway, I’m sure this is all going to get answered in time.

This is what the lump looks like:IMG_0407

If you’ve dealt with this or know anyone who has, I would LOVE to talk to you/them about it and ask a couple of questions.

While I feel in my heart that he is going to be just fine, we covet any prayers for our sweet boy. Things could be so much worse and we’re grateful this is minor, but it’s still a little scary thinking about him having surgery. Thank you all for the support and encouragement!


  1. oh sarah, i'm so sorry y'all are dealing with this! and poor reed...is he in pain?
    laney had a cyst removed from her head when she was a baby. i just happened to find it one day while nursing her. when i took her to the ped, they brushed it off as a bone fragment or swollen gland, etc. but something just didn't seem right to me. so i took her for a second opinion and the new ped deemed it a cyst. (btw, we no longer see that original ped) we were then referred to a pediatric plastic surgeon who removed the cyst. in all honesty, the actual build-up to the procedure and the "appearance" of it (head wrapped, bandages, etc) looked/felt much worse than it actually was. children are so resilient and laney took it all in stride and was back to her normal self in no time! praying the same thing for reed!!

  2. Oh wow, that is certainly scary indeed. Prayers being sent your way for answers, comfort and a speedy recovery once the procedure is done. Take good care and hang in there.


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