I discovered a lump in one of my breasts a while back. I had it checked out by a doctor at BYU last year and he told me it was probably a cyst and to come back if it grew.
Nearly a year later I was convinced it was bigger, and decided to go for a second opinion. This was after hearing one of my friends in her 30s was diagnosed with breast cancer, and after doing a series on breast cancer awareness for my station. I met several women who were diagnosed too late, or at first turned away because the doctors said they were “too young.” After hearing stories from several breast cancer survivors I decided I wasn’t going to take no for an answer, I was going to get the lump checked out again and I was going to get a mammogram.
I was due for my regular OB visit so while I was there I asked her to check it out. She told me I should definitely get it looked at and she referred me to a clinic to give me a mammogram.
About a week later it was time for my appointment. I was scared. The woman at the counter looked at my chart and told me since I was so young they’d do an ultrasound first instead. I was slightly confused for a moment… “I’m not pregnant” I thought. But I quickly realized a boob ultrasound is what she meant. I decided to let it slide, see how that went before asking for the mammogram… Or whatever was going to truly identify this lump.
The doctor looked at my ultrasound pictures and told me it wasn’t a cyst and I needed to take the pictures to another doctor. “I have cancer” I thought. I was actually pretty sure. I wandered aimlessly for weeks, daydreamed at work, was beginning to dream up a true bucket list.
The time came for the third doctor to examine my lump and finally diagnose me. He told me there was less than a 1% chance it was cancerous, but that he thought it was some kind of benign tumor/nastyness that could keep growing. I wasn’t convinced. I hear too many women say their doctors told them the same thing then come to found out it was cancer!!
I decided to just get it all taken out and examined to make sure.
Here’s what I wrote about my surgery experience:
I felt like I was in a movie.. or in an episode of ER. I’m not sure why but I pictured myself walking into the hospital, getting half undressed and having the procedure done while I’m half asleep. Instead, I was directed to a room and instructed to change into hospital clothing, surgery clothes, and I’m talking from head to toe. From my socks to my surgery hat this was serious business.
I think all the getup made me nervous. They had me down for the right procedure right? I was going in for a LBB (left boob biopsy). They had me repeat my name, my birthday, my doctor’s name and my procedure several times, I guess to make sure they didn’t mix me up with the guy getting the heart transplant. I knew they were being careful when they wrote “yes” on my left shoulder to signify that’s the correct side to work on. It took me back to a story Brian once told me about a man who had the wrong leg amputated in surgery and ended up with no legs rather than at least one.
A few moments later the anesthesiologist came in to tell me about drugging me up, he hooks my hand up to the liquid drug and I start to feel nice. Then he tells me he’s going to inject the anesthetic. You mean I didn’t have it already? After he pushes it in my hand starts to BURN sooooo bad! If you’ve read all the Twilight books then you know where I’m going with the feeling… I seriously felt like my veins were on FIRE! I wanted to ask if it was suppose to feel that way and just when I was about to, my doctor walked in and started talking to the drug dealers–I’d wait until he left again. They started to roll my bed down the hall and I’m ready to ask about the burning… It’s hurting! ….Next thing I know my doctor is in front of me again.
He asked me how I felt and all I could say was tired, I was about to fall asleep from the anesthetic… right? He was telling me everything went well, and explaining what had happened. Did we already have the operation? I was confused. I waited until he walked out of the room to check my boob. Sure enough, I had a scar, I couldn’t believe I had missed it all. I vaguely remember them putting an oxygen mask on me, and removing my sleeve, but that was it.
I’m a little disappointed. I’d heard my friends tell stories of getting out under and being instructed to count down from 100 and finding they only got to 99. Childishly, I wanted to push myself to stay awake as long as possible. I also kind of wanted to see what they took out of me. Hopefully there won’t be a next time but if there is… I’ll try harder.
The nastyness did turn out to be benign, but I haven’t stopped checking my boobs! My message to women: CHECK YOUR BOOBIES! You’ll never know what you might find. Check no matter if you don’t have kids, have kids, have milk in ’em too, check them once a month! If you’d like a rundown of how to do it here’s a link.