Posted by She Said
I need to get something off of my chest (ahem), so to speak…
Turning 40 has been a wild ride so far, and I’m only 6 months in. It started with a celebratory tattoo, an awesome party with wonderful friends, and the running of three 5Ks, one of which included zombies. Forty ain’t so bad!
But then it can be.
Along with that number comes the need for annual boob squishings, otherwise known as mammograms. I had one at 38 because of my mother’s breast cancer diagnosis. I wasn’t thrilled to have to do this; hell, I doubt anyone enjoys them, but I did it. I was told that if the tech found anything, they’d give me a call the next day. I didn’t get a call, so woohoo!
But then I got the letter!
Apparently, someone forgot to make the call and I got the letter (almost two weeks later) instead. A strange mass was found on the mammogram and I needed to go in for further testing. BUT I DIDN’T GET A CALL! I thought I was in the clear, but here was the damn letter in front of me stating otherwise. Nervously I went in for the ultrasound, sweaty as all get out because you can’t wear deodorant. And when do I need to be wearing deodorant? WHEN I’M STRESSED.
The doctor came in after reviewing the ultrasound findings and said I had what looked like a complicated cyst. I just needed to have a needle aspiration (how fun!) and a biopsy, and I’d be good. They are almost always benign, he said. Call my doctor, he said.
Now, I’ll be honest, I’m terrible about doing my own monthly breast checks. Hell, I’m bad about doing them EVER. So, with sudsy, nervous hands in the shower, I felt around for this “cyst” and holy shit. There it was! AND queue meltdown.
Fast forward to the surgeon’s office, and he’s feeling around and can’t find anything. He asked me to show him where I felt it, and I couldn’t find it either. I guess suds and a shower is to feeling a bump as a box a kleenex and porn is to Larry Flynt’s Friday nights.
Two days later, I go in for the biopsy and needle aspiration (again, doesn’t that just sound like a good time?). I couldn’t feel anything, thankfully, because of the local anesthetic, but I could SEE everything he was doing since it was an ultrasound guided biopsy and the screen was right in front of me. AND queue deer in the headlights.
After the biopsy, the doctor informed me that it was not a cyst but a tumor. The difference being that a cyst is fluid filled, and a tumor is solid. Given that it was almost an inch in length, he was not able to aspirate it through the needle. He again assured me it looked benign, and that it most likely was a fibroadenoma. AND queue painful waiting and some wicked bruising.
And more waiting, waiting, waiting…
After doing a TON of reading (thanks, google!) about this, I discovered that fibroadenomas are usually found in younger women, while phyllodes tumors, that look very similar, are often found in women in their forties and older. Thank you, forty, for being such an unpredictable bitch. Again, it is rare for one of these to be malignant, but there is a small percentage that are.
After THREE (THREE!!!!!!) full days of excruciating, gut-wrenching waiting, the results came back, and the samples were benign (hoo-fucking-ray!!!) and it is either a fibroadenoma or a phyllodes tumor or possibly both. They won’t fully know until it is excised (a nice term for cutting that shit out) and sent to pathology. When asked if it could still be found to be malignant, he said there was a chance, but that none of the samples sent in had any sign of malignancy, so not to worry. He said that to ME, the person hard-wired to worry. But I am going to try and do just that, not worry.
The surgery is scheduled in a couple of weeks, and I’m assured the scarring will be minimal. Good thing; I don’t want to lose that sweet pole dancing gig I’ve got goin’.