It's not like I thought I had superhuman breasts, and I'd never get a lump—I just didn't give it too much thought. I never did breast self-examinations on a regular basis, just whenever I thought of it. One night, while lying in bed, my left breast just didn't feel right. Two days later, I called my gynecologist, hoping she'd tell me I was crazy.
Well, you're not crazy, she said, becoming the first person to stand up for my sanity. My gynecologist told me not to worry. Because of my age (23), the lump could be a benign cyst or a fibroadenoma. A fibroadenoma (say it with me girls: fybro-add-anoma) is a benign tumor, and is common in women under 30. A cyst is a sac that may contain air, fluid, or semi-solid material.
My next step was to get a sonogram. I'm sure you've heard your mother talk about mammograms. Usually young women won't get a mammogram because young breasts have a lot of fluid in them, causing the mammogram ineffective in showing any abnormalities. If the sonogram determines that you have a cyst or fibroadenoma, your doctor may want to do a needle biopsy. The needle is hollow and is used to remove tissue or fluid from the cyst. The material taken is sent to a lab to see if it's normal or not. If the lump is not painful and/or not too large, it may not be removed. A fibroadenoma can get smaller over time and even disappear. Always take your doctor's advice and if you're not sure, get a second opinion!
Apparently I had a very sneaky lump because the sonogram showed nothing abnormal and came back negative. I may not have superhuman breasts, but I have a lump that can magically disappear! Since I could still feel the lump, I had to go to a breast surgeon. The surgeon explained that sometimes breasts masses look like the rest of your breast on a sonogram. I was given two options: a needle biopsy or surgery to completely remove the mass. I opted for surgery because the lump was uncomfortable. Since it was on the bottom of my breast, it would press up against my bra. It wasn't unbearably painful, but it put pressure on my breast and made me feel uncomfortable.
The surgery was easy as pie. Have you ever watched those TV shows where girls get breast implants and they wake up crying and need help going to the bathroom? That's what I thought I'd be like. Three days after the surgery I was back at work. The pain was minimal, just a little uncomfortable.
My breast mass, which was the size of a large grape (the day after my surgery, my mom bought grapes, which sat uneaten), is sitting in a lab somewhere being poked and looked at under a microscope. I am sitting at my desk right now, NOT missing it! I still have bandages on my breast and have to wear a sports bra day and night. The sports bra helps with the healing process and has to be worn for two weeks after the surgery. Next week I am going back to the breast surgeon to get the bandages taken off and find out exactly what my large grape of a mass is. Then I will be as good as new and wiser!
I have promised myself to give myself monthly breast self-examinations. Even though I religiously go to the gynecologist once a year, where she performs a breast exam, it's not enough! I'm glad this happened—it made me a much wiser and responsible woman!