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Monday, October 05, 2009

Breastseses

Today, I'd like to talk about breasts. Specifically, my breasts. In fact, I can narrow it down even more than that - we're going to talk about my left breast.

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 haven't figured out any other way to get a doctor to prescribe my birth control pills care about my health.

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.

25 comments:

Princess Andy said...

i've decided that every woman's left breast is the one made of evil.

all the negative comments over breasts ALWAYS involve the left one.

always.

glad you have lived to tell the tale...nothing frightens me more than the big C.

except maybe severing an appendage.

and yes, i DO and WILL check my boobies.

<3 andrea

C. Beth said...

That is GREAT advice.

I have had a couple of tiny lumps that I found. Both times they had me get it checked out ASAP, and both times it was nothing. But I was very glad to make sure.

Ryan Ashley Scott said...

Thank goodness it was nothing, but there's nothing like making sure.

I had a similar issue a few months back and my ob/gyn said "eh, probably nothing... call if anything changes. What?! I had a second opinion and an ultrasound and feel better about not worrying now. I do love being grabbed and jiggled by numerous docs. Doesn't everyone?

Belle said...

Gah!! How scary for you. I would not have been able to sleep for those six months...
My lymph node was very swollen in my neck and the doctor wanted to remove it. A second and third opinion said don't worry about it. I did it anyway. T'was all good and I'm fine... but my sanity would have been lost had I not removed it.

Dave said...

Ah Ta's!! I like Ah Ta's.... uhh... uhh..... OOh...

Enough caveman talk... save the Ah Ta's!

Glad it was nothing... and the surgery was worth it if you sleep better at night... of, course, we all know you don't really sleep, but at least you don't have to worry about your left boobie....

Smile! It's Monday, and I know you're mad because I'm reading your tweets! Your tweeps and blogerts love you!

Dave

TMC said...

Good for you for taking charge of your own health! My ma had something similar removed so I'm careful to be on the look-out too.

Snarky A. said...

I'm with Andy on this one; so glad it ended up benign. Living with the big C sucks if it is the evil left breast or anywhere else. As it turns out, it sucks just as much even if it is not even your big C...

Great reminder!
<3

mo.stoneskin said...

(so grateful it was nothing)

I don't have breasts, not even man boobs, but my left nipple has always given off an evil air and has a disrespectful attitude.

Autumn said...

Blah I hate my left breast. No problems yet but it apparently likes to freak me out a lot. I've had several "bumps" that turned out to be "trapped milk left over from breast feeding" SEVEN YEARS LATER!!! Glad to hear it wasnt serious for you either!! I plan on blogging about checking boobies at some point this month too. Oh and by the way, I think most of us have a love/hate relationship with OBGYN's. I love my Dr. but either she hates me, or babies have the worst timing EVER. She's always delievering someone when my appointments roll around so I wind up having to see another dr. Last year it was a really CUTE dr with horribly big, cold hands. BLAH. (TMI? sorry if it is!)

quilly said...

This is a valuable message. My mother died of breast cancer. My sister is a survivor after two radical mastectomies. Get the check ups, follow through with the tests!

Tortuga said...

I'm with Andy, it is always the left one that causes the problems. In my case, it wouldn't feed my daughter and has since decided it wants to be bigger (not just a little, but hugely) than the right.

I know exactly how you feel on the lump thing though. I would rather get it checked and be nothin than sit around and have it be somethin. The peace of mind is so worth the trouble.

And yes, I am checkin my breastesses like I am supposed to!

jabblog said...

Unbelievable - let's hope she's as casual about her own lumps! Well done you for checking further, worrying as that must have been.

kyslp said...

I never cease to be amazed by the stupid things doctors say. I'm glad you checked out ok.

Dr.John said...

Better to know than to be constantly afraid.

robin said...

I'm sorry, but what doctor tells a woman of ANY age to ignore a lump in her breast? I am completely appalled by the recklessness of that recommendation. (And you'd think the doctor would at the very least be smart enough to cover her/his ass?) Thank GOD you checked it out anyway and are fine.

Sassy Britches said...

Hold the phone everyone; I love my left breast. Way better than my right (cover your ears, right boob).

But, HECK YES, I'd be getting that sucker checked out. I get more upset and anxious when I don't know what's going on than if I can put a name to it and start to deal (and heal). Good for you.

P.S. LOVE the new header: Boobyah!

blognut said...

Did you know that cysts and calcifications are more common in the left breast? I learned that when I found one in mine.

Ribbon said...

yep better to be safe than sorry

:) ribbon

Fragrant Liar said...

Excellent advice. We have to be proactive and our own health advocates. So right now, I'm feeling my boobs.

Fragrant Liar said...

P.S. That was not meant to be pervy. I check the girls regularly.

Matty said...

As a man who loves his wife, I can tell you that you did the right thing. Not only medically, but emotionally too......for both of you.

I'm glad to hear it was nothing.

April Belle said...

I am so glad everything turned out ok! And I know that feeling of needing to know what is really going on. I went through something similar only to discover, it too, was benign.

Thank you so much for the reminder to trust our inner instincts!

GeminiWilder said...

i check mine all the time. my sister had her evil cancer-filled left breast removed when she was only 43.

thanks for sending out the reminder. and for sharing your experience.

cherie said...

sweetie, keep doing self-checks every month just the same. you know your body more than anybody else does.

Tina said...

Glad to hear that your test came back cancer free! I don't know if I would have had the balls to wait that long to get tested....