Matea had her appointment today with the ENT. He said several things that were all positive...
1. Swollen lymph nodes in this location are very common for her age group. He said he sees them all the time and that if we checked all of the kids in her preschool class, he's almost positive we'd find at least one more kid with a lump in the same spot as Matea's.
2. Her lump is actually small even though it feels big to us. Up to 15mm is considered "normal" and not worrisome and he estimates her lump is 10mm or less.
3. Steve and I may be the ones causing it to stay swollen. He said lymph nodes in children are very sensitive and our daily checking of the lump for growth could be what's causing it to not go away.
So, he told me to keep our hands off of it and bring her back in in 6 weeks. If the lump is still there, he'll do an ultrasound in his office and be able to get a good idea whether it's really just a swollen lymph node or a tumor. If it does look like a tumor he'll do a needle biopsy to see whether it's malignant. When he said "needle biopsy" Matea said, "No, I don't want that!". I asked him if the lump is still there and it does look like a tumor and it is malignant, what kind of cancer are we looking at? He said that the probability of that is so low that he won't even discuss it with me.
So, overall, he seemed fairly sure that's it's nothing. I was hoping for a firmer answer today and wish we were going back in sooner than 6 weeks but I'm going to do my best to relax and trust him. And I'm going to remind myself that he handled Bella's lip surgery very well and that actually did turn out to be a tumor that wasn't malignant. And I'm going to have some alcohol tonight:)