Okay this might be a little long because I've been investigating it for a while.
So around four or five months ago, I noticed a line of thickened tissue down the middle of my right cheek, about 1 inch wide and 2 inches tall. It starts in the middle of my cheek a bit above my mouth, and goes down in a straight line a little below my mouth. I can only feel it when I put a finger in my mouth and another on my cheek and rub it between the the two fingers.
It feels firm but somewhat rubbery, and is attached to the side connecting to skin, but not the side connecting to my gums. It feels like there's a fixed, rounded edge on the outer side, but at the top, bottom, and inner side if feels more like it gradually tapers back down into normal tissue, almost like a tendon that has swelled up in the middle. The lump is also slightly tender when I squeeze it, but otherwise not painful.
On top of this, the lymph node along my jaw directly under it has been swelled up for years. I thought it was a lipoma so never thought much of it before. But it almost feels like the lump connects to that lymph node? The right side of my face does also look puffier in the mirror.
So to start with, my PCP put me on antibiotics in case it was an infection, but there was no change. So I tried going to a dentist, and he was stumped. His best guess was that it was a blocked salivary gland, but the thickening is notably in the middle of the cheek, away from the main salivary glands. He did note that I was producing slightly less saliva on the right side of my mouth.
He also considered that it might be sjogren's syndrome, because I do also have dry skin, dry mouth, and dry eyes. I did see a dermatologist and he said he didn't think it was sjogren's syndrome, but he didn't seem to know a lot about the syndrome itself.
Anyway, the dentist recommended I see an ear/nose/throat doctor, so I did. As that appointment approached, another lymph node under the right side of my chin swelled, but it was hard and wouldn't move under the skin. I had a cold sore at the time though, so it might've been from that. He had me get a CT scan of the face and neck.
The scan showed that I did have swollen lymph nodes, but that they were stable from the last time I had had a scan a year or so ago. It didn't look like I had cancer or that there was anything wrong with my salivary glands. The ENT thought that I just have 'highly reactive' lymph nodes that don't go back down in size after swelling up over something. Though the one under my chin did go back down after the cold sore went away.
As for the cheek swelling, he said he didn't know what it was, but as long as it wasn't growing, he wasn't concerned. He said that it would take a pretty major surgery to find out what it was.
Cut to now, and I've been keeping track of it and don't think it has been growing. But I've noticed what feels like another big lymph node (rubbery and movable) about half an inch from the top of the cheek swelling, going away from my mouth. Almost like the swelling makes an upside-down L shape. However, it's pretty hard to locate because I have to push far back in my mouth with my fingers, so I'm not sure if it's new or was already there along with the rest of the swelling.
Other information that may or may not be related:
I have had a problem swallowing for over a year now where when I swallow it feels like it only goes down the right side of my throat. I think it started from getting mildly sick, and I had some sinus and ear congestion, and it hurt to swallow. Eventually that all went away, except for the feeling of it only going down the right side.
I have had multiple scans, a barium swallow test, and an endoscopy that all showed nothing. I do have a few nodules on my thyroid, but they're not big enough that they should be causing any problems.
So, my questions are:
1. Should I go back to the ENT over feeling the new lump with how bad covid has gotten recently? Someone in my household has cancer, so I am trying to limit my exposure.
2. Does anyone have any idea what this could be to begin with?
Thank you for taking the time to read this all over!