Friday, April 1, 2011

I'm a Little Freaked Out

I have a lump in my right breast. Have had it, actually, since last fall. It's a recurrence of a lump that first appeared the fall before that, in 2009.

According to my OB/Gyn, the lump is a fluid-filled cyst. The first time it appeared in 2009 and I mentioned it to him, he aspirated it, meaning HE STUCK A HUGE NEEDLE DIRECTLY IN MY BOOB AND SUCKED THE FLUID OUT. Ouch. He sent the fluid off for testing and it was all apparently benign. The lump went away.

Last fall, it reappeared in the same spot. Out came the big needle again, but this time my doctor was unable to get all the fluid out. He believed there was just this little sac inside my breast that keeps refilling with fluid like a balloon, and since aspirating it didn't work the second time around, he referred me to a surgeon to have the sac surgically removed.

Now, the lump is annoying because it's right to the side of my nipple and I feel it all the time, but since he seemed confident it was all benign and stuff, I put off going to see the surgeon initially. Then my husband had surgery. Then my daughter had surgery. So I put myself last.

This past week, every time I've turned around, I've been reading, seeing, hearing something about cancer-online, on Twitter, on The Moth podcast, etc. I kind of felt like it was a sign I should call the surgeon and get that breast lump taken out, once and for all. Since the lump is apparently benign, I need to get it out of the way, so that if I get other lumps I will notice them.

So, I called the surgeon my doctor recommended and set up an appointment for next week. His assistant asked me if I've had a mammogram. I told her I haven't, as I'm 37, so not quite the age when you normally start getting those done. Then, she directed me to their website to fill out a new patient packet, and while I was there, I looked at the doctor's bio.

He's a breast cancer specialist.

Now, realistically, I know my OB/Gyn was very casual in his referral and didn't act like it was a big deal and they tested the fluid both times the lump appeared and it was benign. And it's understandable the assistant would ask if I've had a mammogram-if I have to have surgery on my breast it makes sense they would want to do one of those. I know. But when she asked that and then I read his bio, I started freaking out. Just a little bit.

So while I'm generally hopeful that I'm in for nothing more than an annoying minor surgery that will leave me with a scar on my right breast, I'm kind of anxious for my appointment on Tuesday. Keep a good thought for me if you will. Because while I could care less about what my boobs look like (they've never been particularly spectacular), or about a minor surgery (although I don't look forward to any kind of pain, even minor!), I just want to get good news and be around for a LONG time.

In the meantime, I'll be here, quietly freaking out.


  1. Definitely keeping you and your family in prayer. I had a lump that was some kind of enflamed oil gland as a teenager and then a month before I got pregnant with Shelby I had one near my arm pit. And ultrasound revealed that lump was a lymph node which introduced a whole new set of issues. I also went to a breast cancer surgeon who could no longer feel the lump roughly a month after I had found it and had another ultrasound ordered (because I was in my twenties, unless I had my period, they refused to do a mammogram for fear I *might* be pregnant) which was done on the spot and revealed the lymph nodes (actually two were enflamed but only one could be felt)were just about gone. Well one was normal size they other was reduced by 90%. Regardless, it's nerve-wracking. And now I'm almost scared to do monthly exams...I am sure all will be well, but we'll keep you in prayer because like Tom Petty says, the waiting in the hardest part

  2. Thanks Kristen. When I was in my 20s, I had this lump that came up in my armpit too and I went to the doctor right away, but by the time I got in for an ultrasound the next day or so, it had gone down. It comes and goes periodically. My OB/Gyn came to the conclusion that some of my breast tissue has migrated to my armpit, which is not uncommon, and so just as your breasts change and feel different at different times of the month or whatever, the tissue in my armpit did too. Until this lump appeared the first time, I'd never felt anything during a monthly exam; now I try to be vigilant. I appreciate your good thoughts and prayers. :)

  3. Maybe breast cancer specialists know how to make the most non-invasive incisions, so you'll have the "prettiest" scar possible? Just remind yourself your physician has the best of intentions for you. Thinking of you this week and hoping things go smoothly.

  4. im 18 and have the same thing, im so worried its going to be cancer. i know at this age its very unlikely that it will be, but the mind has ways of scaring us. i hope it all works out for you.