Monday, 24 January 2011

Breasts + Lumps = Scary Times

I want to talk breasts. Boobs. Jubblies. Whatever you call them, whatever shape or size they are we all have them. Yes, men too. I haven't had the best start to 2011, on January 2nd I was doing my weekly lump check after my Sunday soak in a bubble bath when the world stopped. What the *insert appropriate profanity here* was that?!?!?! I checked again and felt sick, there was an enormous lump in my right breast. I quickly felt my left breast for comparison, then checked my pill packet to see where I was in my cycle. Nope it was a lump, approximately the size of a toddler's fist. Shit. I had my husband, Lee, feel. He went very pale and quiet. We both feared the worst, as you do, but probably more so because we had watched his Dad fade away and die from bowel cancer 11 years ago. It was almost 11pm and too late to ring the Doctor's surgery to schedule an emergency appointment. I went to bed but didn't sleep much. Next morning I put on my 'Happy Mammy' face and got the kids ready for school. Once I was home I made an appointment, but for the following day to see the female GP. I ran my mother-in-law at work to ask her to collect my youngest from school as the timing clashed, I was shaky and upset. "I'm on my way" she simply said, walked out of work and came to look after me. When she arrived though she handed me the phone and told me I was going to see the doctor today, male or not... saying "no" was not an option. So, I rescheduled for that afternoon, surprisingly with the female GP and rang Lee to let him know. He also left work to come to the appointment with me. Well, I got prodded and squeezed while the GP had a good explore. She was very thorough and I was VERY relieved to hear she was 99% certain it wasn't cancerous. It was the wrong shape and mobile. What I most likely had was a fibroadenoma or breast mouse. I had to laugh, some of you will know what pets I keep - rats, this was a rodent obsession too far! As the lump was so large I had to return in 3 weeks for a recheck and to see if I needed referring for possible surgery to remove it. I almost made 3 weeks, I awoke on the 21st in agony, my boob and shoulder hurt and over the counter painkillers didn't give any relief, back to the doctor I went. This time I saw a male GP, I didn't care, common sense had kicked in and I knew they had seen many more boobs. He was very nice and gentle but still managed to make me cry, I was so tender! He then said he thought that the lump was, in fact, an infected cyst, prescribed strong antibiotics and painkillers. I took the tablets, the pain subsided slightly, but boy did I suffer that night! The Diclofenac gave me the WORST heartburn I have ever experienced, but only at night while I was trying to sleep, worse still was I couldn't take indigestion relief with it.... :(

Today I had the follow up appointment with the female GP, I went through the previous squishing and squeezing, but pain-free, and she looked happy. Well, happier. Once I was clothed she told me what she suspected. I have an infected cyst that had tracked up to my shoulder, the male GP had found a small squishy blob in my armpit, but knowing I was returning on the Monday hadn't told me so I wouldn't worry unnecessarily over the weekend. It had gone as he expected as it was simply infection and the antibiotics were working. The lump is also shrinking. Good news. I am to carry on with the medication until the course is finished and return for another check up on February 21st. Then the Doctor and I will make a decision over the findings - if it had gone, good; If it is shrinking, perhaps a longer course of antibiotics; If it is no different, maybe surgery. I am still being referred to the breast clinic for a scan and probable biopsy, but I'm much more positive about the outcome now.

So I guess what I'm trying to do by sharing this tale of woe with you is to encourage you to check yourself. Now if you can. I check regularly and still missed this lump. Men can get breast cancer so they should check themselves too. Don't take chances with your health and if you do find anything, try not to panic and get it checked out as soon as possible - it may be nothing, but it may be something. No risks please friends, do this for me.

1 comment:

  1. So glad to hear that you are ok. What an ordeal to go through. You are one brave woman.