I have high-risk “catastrophic” health insurance. COBRA would have cost me $400+, and any full health insurance would have cost me a small fortune. I also had a lot of trouble getting insurance in the first place (see here, here, and here) so I’m ecstatic to have the minimal health insurance that I have for something like $138 a month.
Two days ago I noticed a fairly large, hard bump on the back of my head, a few inches from my ears. It was swollen and throbbing. After doing some research online I’ve determined that the lump is a swollen lymph node.
Swollen lymph nodes can be caused by a lot of different things, ranging from a minor infection to cancer.
I doubt I have cancer. The good news is the bump (although still really tender) has shrunk quite a bit in the last two days. So it seems that it’s just an infection and it’s going away. I noticed there are actually two bumps there, but they’re slowly shrinking.
My concern is that — what if they were the warning signs of cancer? At what point do I go to the doctor to get such things checked out?
When I had “regular” insurance I barely ever went to the doctor. I hate the doctor. I’d go only if I was really, really sick and I’d wait it out for a while to see if I could get better before heading in for a diagnosis.
But I no longer have the luxury of going in to get something checked out for free (minus the co-pay). Going to the doctor is quite expensive. It’s not even so much the doctor’s visit as much as the fear that the doctor will either tell me that it’s nothing (=waste of money) OR the doctor will order a bunch of expensive tests that will add up to thousands of dollars out of pocket.
I can make an educated guess about whether my head lump is something I should worry about or not, and I can wait longer than I would to get it checked out and hope for the best… but the crappy thing about not having regular health insurance is that I just can’t go to the doctor for every little thing like this.
At what point should I go to the doctor to get this lump checked out?