Four years ago, I wrote these words:
On November 16, 2004, I felt a lump in my left breast while taking a shower. I have always been aware of what my breasts feel like. I have a lot of dense tissue, so dense that the surgeon who performed my breast reduction in 1996 had trouble separating the tissue to take some out and leave some in. My breasts always seem lumpy to me, and I never knew if I’d be able to tell the difference between normal and abnormal tissue. Four years ago, I had a mammogram because of something I felt. It all turned out fine. It was just the dense tissue. All of my annual GYN visits have revealed nothing abnormal. But I’ve always been aware and curious which is why I found something in the shower. I knew it was not normal. It was hard and felt like a small green pea. It moved around and for the first few days, I had a hard time locating it. Once I became obsessed with it, I could find it immediately.
I went to my OB/GYN on November 18. My doctor felt the lump, but was confident it was nothing to worry about. It moved around easily, there was no discharge from my nipple, I did not feel any pain: all signs that it was benign. But it’s routine to get a mammogram for any mass, so I got one the next day.
I was the youngest person waiting to get my mammogram, another sign that this lump was nothing serious. It’s common for young women to have breast cancer. Mammograms are not even recommended for women under the age of 40. I am 34.
The mammogram films looked OK, and the technician told me the doctor would talk to me but that she was not worried about anything. This was true, but she did an ultrasound anyway to look further at the lump. She determined it was not a cyst, which is fairly common, and nothing serious. It could be a fibroma (a common growth that can be removed or left in place without harm) or it could be cancer. She said she wanted me to have the lump removed. She wanted it out and in a jar, she said. I asked her if it could be cancer. She said it could be.
On November 23, I had a biopsy. A large needle was placed in my breast and a piece of the lump was pulled out. The surgeon had a hard time getting a piece, however, because it moved around so much. He said this was a good sign, the movement. He sent the tissue to pathology and told me to call his office the next afternoon for the results.
Stay tuned for more tomorrow.