I Found A Small Lump...
My husband and I were playing around and he touched the top of my breast lightly. I drew in a breath. There was something...strange...about the feeling it evoked. Something a bit unusual that was slightly unpleasant. I placed my hand over the area and nothing, moved it a bit, trying to mimic his touch. And then I felt it! A small, pea sized bump under the skin a bit inside the breast tissue. My heart skipped a beat as I tried to process what I had just found.
My husband reached over and placed his hand over mine. The look on my face and the intensity in which I was checking the lump out had let him know I had found something serious. With his mom having breast cancer, a double mastectomy and chemo 14 years earlier, he knew how serious this lump could be and made me promise to call my doctor the next day. With a sinking heart, I agreed. The next morning I had an appointment for Wednesday, two long, worrisome days away.
My doctor was examining the lump and kept moving off the spot. Try as I might, I could not get her focused on the one area that needed it the most! I was getting more and more frustrated and she was drifting further from the spot in her examination. She stood up and told me that there was not one lump but a series and we needed to get me into the hospital now! She called the hospital and had a mammogram set up for the next afternoon.
As I walked out of her office worried about the lumps, wondering how on earth I was going to pay for all this, the tears that I had been holding back slid down my cheeks. The receptionist happened to be coming around the corner and pulled me aside to ask what was wrong and if she could help. Sobbing now, I spilled out my fears and financial state to her. Instead of telling me everything would be okay, she asked if I could wait just a minute while she grabbed some Kleenex for me. I agreed.
She came back in the room with a big smile and handed me the box of Kleenex and some papers. Not knowing what to think, I blew my nose and then looked down at the papers---Free!! A free mammogram, and the doctor's visit? That couldn't be right!! I looked at her and she smiled, told me about being a board member for the Breast Care
Center and that she had made a quick call and secured testing for me free of charge. My responsibility was to show up and get tested.
The afternoon of the test, I was sick inside wondering what exactly a mammogram entailed. I had heard the stories of how painful and awkward the procedure was and, honestly, I was shaking in my shoes!! Not only did I have a few lumps, but they were going to mash my lumpy boobs flat and dang near pull them off!! Oh, how I really wanted nothing more than to wake up and find this was a horrid nightmare.
The mammogram was not as bad as others had led me to believe. It was not pleasant by any means!! But I still had round boobs and they were still attached to my body--a little tender, but not shrieking in pain either. The mass of tissue, lumps, stringy things and such on the screen...was what nightmares are made of, however. I knew it was bad when they kept tacking small beads all over my breasts with tape and taking more pictures. Then they had me wait for the doctor...
Bravely, I sat in the cool room they placed me in. As I looked around I noticed there was an ultrasound machine set up. I smiled faintly. I remember seeing my daughter for the first time on one of those machines, she was waving at me. The doctor came in and said they were going to perform an ultrasound immediately on my breasts--wow!! From seeing your unborn child to testing breasts!! These were hot little machines. I laid back and got ready to deal with this new development.
As I was laying on the table, my mind tried to grasp everything that had happened in the last four days. Had it only been four days since I found the lump? It seemed like a lifetime. The only thing that kept running through my mind was that even though I wanted a reduction, please, God, not like this! The doctor kept mumbling about what was on the screen and I finally could not take it anymore!!
Just as I was ready to ask if I was going to have to go through a mastectomy and chemo, he sat up and put away the paddle. There was a mile of pictures printed out from the test and he had a few questions for me. I sat up and wrapped the gown around me protectively. He cleared his throat and said my right breast looked healthy and was lump free. I experienced a second of relief, then realized he said right breast. Did that mean...was my left...Oh nooooo!!!
My eyes were filling up with tears faster than I could blink them back. The doctor grabbed one of the pictures and set face up where we could look at it together and asked me if I could tell him how my breast had become so damaged from a serious impact. What? I stared blankly at him. What damage, and what does that have to do with the lumps in my breast? He repeated the question.
I told him about being in a car accident about 9 months earlier. The only impact I could possibly think of, much less remember! He nodded and said that explained it--grabbed a pen and started circling these little dots that permeated the picture. There was a total of 28, small, fluid filled cysts in my left breast. They were amazingly shaped in a circular pattern that was consistent to the steering wheel of a car.
I would have to have a biopsy done to make his diagnoses conclusive, but he thought my lumps were caused by blunt trauma to the breast. The lumps are fluid filled cysts which your breasts make as a protective measure when they are seriously injured and the tissue dies. Your breast will absorb the tissue and make oil filled cysts to prevent further necrosis, or death, of healthy tissue.
The lumps are benign and are not cancerous. They can be aspirated, or drained, by a needle but that usually results in further complications. In the meantime, if the biopsy came back as necrotic breast fluid then we would treat it non-invasively to start with and use more extreme methods if necessary. These lumps may cause a bit of tenderness but they are not dangerous physically. They can, however, prevent you from finding other lumps in the breast that may be cancerous and need treatment immediately.
Trauma to your breast does not cause cancer or even up the risk of developing cancer in your breasts. This rumor started due to the occurrence of diagnosed cancerous tumors rising as more women developed trauma and had it checked out with a physician. I had my biopsy and am home free--this time!! After two years of treatment, my
cysts number only 14 and those are getting smaller.
The lesson learned, don't panic and assume the worst!! Most of the time a lump will have a good explanation and not be cancerous. Of course any time you find one--get it checked out!! Just do not assume your breasts are headed south and as far as my reduction--Hell no!! I earned these babies!! Every single bit of them--cysts included.