“Here, give me your hand. Can you feel that?”
Wait, wait, wait. This is supposed to the “easy” part of the annual gyn appointment. Quick boob check, then I’m outta here. Not this time. My doctor had found a suspicious lump in my right breast and wanted me to get it checked out immediately.
I remember leaving the doctor, tears running down my face and calling my mom hundreds of miles back home in Ohio. I’m too young to have to worry about this.
At the time, I was 27 and because breasts of younger women tend to be more dense, the first step for me was an ultrasound. During that appointment, the tech used the ultrasound machine to get a better picture and understanding of what the lump may be, hopeful, this would be the only step needed.
Unfortunately, the ultrasound did not provide the answers they were looking for, so I was prepped for a mammogram. When the nurse asked me to step up to the machine, I thought, there is no way they are going to smash my boob in between that plastic. No way! … Yes way. Unfortunately, again, the ultrasound was not decisive enough for the doctors to make a call on what the lump was.
I was scheduled to come back at another time for an ultrasound guided needle biopsy. When I think back to that appointment, the very first thing I think of is how wonderful the doctors and nurses were; incredibly kind and attentive. There wasn’t a lot of pain, but a great deal of pressure as the tube was cutting small samples of the lump to be tested. During the biopsy, they placed a small medal piece, shaped like a breast cancer awareness ribbon into to the lump so it would be flagged for future testing.
However, there was that one small “click” that took a nice chunk out of one of my veins instead of the lump. If there was any doubt in my reflexes, they were in check. That helped to make the bruise even larger and more colorful.
My mom flew from Ohio to Chicago to go with me to get the results. I was so nervous I was nauseous. I just wanted it over with. We got the news. All clear! The lump was benign.
When I returned for my 6th month check-up mammogram, the results left them confused, as the film was full of a small specs. I was scheduled yet again for another biopsy.
This time, I underwent a stereotactic x-ray guided needle biopsy. My breast, poor thing, was put through a hole in the table and clamped down in place. If I had to cough or clear my throat, I had to let them know so they could hold me still. This was a great procedure to test your level of claustrophobia.
After a good 45 minutes of no moving, I was finally released. More pretty bruising! An anxiety filled week later, they called to tell me everything was clear. They believe the specs were caused from the previous biopsy. But hey, I got another cool metal ribbon in my boob.
Through these 2 scares, I learned that you’re never too young to start checking yourself and taking the proper precautions. I’m so thankful everything came back negative. I also learned how wonderful it can be when care givers truly care about patients and I cannot say enough great things about the staff at Good Sam in Downers Grove. And of course my parents for holding my hand and heart through it all.