I didn’t tell anyone when I felt a lump in my breast a few weeks ago. I had been feeling a little discomfort when our kids were climbing all over me, but I ignored it until I started feeling it consistently. I casually felt around for a lump thinking I was probably just being a hypochondriac. I thought I wouldn’t find anything until suddenly I did.
A quiet panic spread through my body.
A close family member is having a really hard time recovering from her horrendous breast cancer experience. I know it’s been difficult–the chemo, pain, sickness, and numerous surgeries that never seem to go as planned. It’s been tough for everyone. Cancer sucks.
I didn’t know if anything serious was wrong with me, but I did know that I didn’t want to cause anyone unnecessary stress, so I did not tell anyone—not one person. Plus, I’m an internalizer–I like to work things out in my mind first before I share information.
I made a doctor’s appointment for my chronic sinusitis and the lump in my breast. I told my husband I was going in for my ongoing sinus problems and failed to mention the other reason. I think I was kind of trying to pretend the other reason didn’t exist.
My doctor felt the lump right away and said I needed a mammogram within two weeks. She told me the good news is that breast cancer doesn’t usually cause pain, but cysts do. She seemed pretty confident that it was a cyst, but wanted a mammogram to confirm her theory.
It was time to tell my husband and my mom, so I did. They told me not to worry. I’m no stranger to cysts so I was able to stay calm.
Then, I looked up breast cancer and cyst information on-line, which contradicted what the doctor said about cancer not causing pain. Just great! I slammed the lap top shut as quick as I could. I know better than to start researching on the internet before getting all the facts from the doctor, but it’s hard to resist.
I pushed bad thoughts out of my mind and did not think about it again until the end of Memorial Day weekend as the time was coming closer for me to have the mammogram. I told myself not to worry and went for a jog to burn off my nervous energy right before the mammogram. That seemed to help. I went into the doctor’s office feeling relaxed.
Having a mammogram is a weird experience. You have a technician pushing and manipulating your breasts whichever way they need them to go in order to get the best view. I was scared it would hurt because that’s what I’ve heard, but it didn’t. I started a conversation with the technician to keep my mind off the situation and that helped.
When the technician was done, she said that she needed to speak with the doctor and that she would be back in a few minutes to let me know if I could leave or if I would need an ultrasound. I sat there thinking, please let me leave and let this be over with. Please. I want to go home now.
No such luck.
In the twenty-five minutes I had to wait for my ultrasound appointment, my mind started going into overdrive. Why are they having me come back? Why wasn’t the mammogram conclusive? What did they see? I don’t want to have breast cancer…on and on my mind went until I saw the image on the ultrasound machine.
As soon as I saw the completely black circle, I knew that was good. It was fluid filled, which meant it was a cyst. I’ve had plenty of first-hand experience with cysts to know what I was looking at. I was instantly relieved.
Then I looked again, saw something flickering in the black circle, and asked what the heck is that?
The technician wasn’t sure. It could be blood or debris. She went to get the doctor.
He was very nice and calm. He told me that yes, it was a cyst, and no, it is not cancer.
What a relief!
He went on to tell me that the debris could be an infection or blood in the cyst. He didn’t know for sure. I would need to come back in three months for another ultrasound to make sure that everything worked itself out as it should and as he expected it would. I may need to have it aspirated or removed if it didn’t behave as he expected it would.
I felt a little confused. On the one hand, I was so excited because I definitely don’t have breast cancer. On the other hand, what’s in there?
This is what it comes down to: I have no idea what’s in there or what exactly is going on with my body right now. I need to trust this doctor, be thankful, and move on. I’ll forget about it for another three months until I have my next appointment. It would do no good to obsess and stress.
Our bodies are so amazing and mysterious. All we can do is take good care of ourselves, keep up with our regular yearly doctors’ appointments, seek expert advice when need be, and stay positive. No worrying allowed unless there is something conclusive to actually worry about. Fear doesn’t help.
I’m going to move on, try to live as healthy as I can, and be thankful that I am as healthy as I am!