I recently developed a benign fatty tumor the size of an almond on my right forearm high up by the elbow. I have one on my thigh too, they're not dangerous, they just . . . are there.
Except this one caused my forearm muscle to ache whenever I lifted something heavy straight up with my knuckles up, or carried something light for a long time, like a half-liter water bottle for forty minutes on a run. So it impacted my lifestyle because it affected my running, you know?
The GP ($10 co-pay) at Kaiser passed me on to the surgeon ($20 co-pay), I went in for a consultation with him one morning last month and explained the ache this fatty deposit caused me in my forearm.
Well, I could either live with it, he said, or have it cut out surgically. He didn't mince words or hem and haw around.
Well, let's get it cut it out, I said, thinking of future arm-pain free running. I started to pull out my appointment book to see when I could best schedule the outpatient procedure.
I'll do it right now, he said. You mean right now? I asked brightly.
Yes, he said, now. I immediately realized that I didn't quite have my mind wrapped around having a two-inch incision done right then, and then hopping off the table and going to work.
Or we could schedule it for later, he said, seeing my hesitation. I started thinking of having to come back to Kaiser a third time, and having to pay another $20 co-pay. I needed a moment to think and I considered asking, absurdly, Will it hurt?
Okay, I said. Two Novocaine shots and three minutes later the fatty tissue mass has been wrested out of my arm through a long slit in the skin using tongs.
The yellow mass lay suspended in bloody liquid in a test tube while the doc put five stitches in my arm to close the incision. The gently floating lump looked like a hocker somebody had spit into a puddle.
Don't do anything stupid to cause the stitches to come out, the doctor warned me, knowing that I was a runner. I didn't ask him when I could go out for my next run after the surgery.
I went out for a run at noon that day, for four miles. The wound was weeping a little by the time I got back but I think that was just perspiration being expunged from the site.
It's all healed now and the arm feels great. I'm a big fan of proactive Kaiser, getting this done right away for only $30.