When I was just the tender age of 26 (doesn't that seem so long ago?), I faithfully shaved my legs and hauled in for my annual physical. AKA The Yearly Poke and Grope. I do this every 12 months like a good girl because I
That particular year, I had gone to general practitioner (GP) because I feel she gives a more complete exam and I have a real love/hate relationship with my gynecologist's office. All was well until the GP asked if I had noticed the small lump in my left breast. Umm, no. She wanted to know if I was doing my monthly self-exams, which I kinda do or don't but I don't know what I'm looking for really. Once she helped me feel the lump, it was very obvious to me. As shocked as I was to have a lump in my breast, nothing could've prepared me for what the doctor said next.
"Just ignore it."
Wait, what? Ignore it?
"Yeah, you're young. Chances are it's nothing. Just ignore it."
This, the official medical advice of my doctor.
Joe and I talked and the more I thought about it, the more that didn't sit well with me. Plus, I'm like a kid that doesn't notice I'm hurt until you point out that little scrape on my knee and then OMG I AM IN PAIN, HELP, I CAN THINK OF NOTHING ELSE!!!
This is getting long so I'm gonna give you the Reader's Digest Condensed version. I scheduled an appointment with the ob/gyn for a second opinion. He felt it was probably nothing but unfortunately he had seen too many people with small lumps at my age ignore them until things had advanced and there was nothing he could do. An ultrasound indicated that it was probably a benign cyst. The doctor left it up to me if I wanted to have it removed at that point or if I wanted to just monitor it closely.
I think I only lasted about 6 months constantly poking at that lump and thinking about it before I called and scheduled the surgery. It was the only way to be 100% certain that there was truly nothing to be concerned about. And when I saw the surgeon, she was concerned enough that she said she wanted to do a needle aspiration that day unless I scheduled the surgery before leaving the office.
The surgery itself wasn't a big deal. It didn't take long and I was lucky with the location of the lump - it was small and near the surface. Scarring was minimal and not somewhere visible to anyone but the husband. Recovery wasn't too bad. And after all of that, it turned out to be nothing. But for my peace of mind, it was necessary to follow through.
So as we enter October, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I just wanted to add my reminder to the many others you'll be seeing. It's important to not only to have regular exams but to trust your instincts.
And that concludes today's discussion about my left breast.