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So a few days ago, I was putting on a bra and my right breast didn’t handle right.

This is probably hard to explain to anybody who doesn’t have at least somewhat significant breasts, but it was dense in a spot it shouldn’t be dense.

I stopped.

Everything stopped. The whole world stopped. If I had looked out the window at that moment, the wood storks on the golf course across the way would have been frozen with their wings outstretched.

I poked around and there was something in there, about the size of a grape, that was its own thing.

You’d think a breast lump that size would be pretty easy to find, and you’d be wrong. I’m a triple-D, it’s sort of deep in there. Boobs are weird. Imagine trying to locate a grape inside a jello mold, only the jello mold is completely opaque and you can’t break the surface tension and there’s a thing of sliced carrots running down the middle that are throwing the texture off a bit.

Nevertheless, after a few tries I managed to find the damn thing and there it was. My right breast was Rome, and now it had its own Vatican City.

It is almost certainly a cyst.

It looks like a cyst, it quacks like a cyst, it is somewhat squashy and round, not hard like a piece of gravel. The odds of it not being benign are down in the fractions of percentages. My mother gets these all the time. I have genetic predisposition toward them, I am in the correct age range, and they are often a hormone response, and hey, I just started dumping a pile of thyroid hormones into my body. (And hell, if I had a malignant tumor the size of a mouse head, I can’t imagine my recent bloodwork would have been so spot-on healthy.)

I assured myself of all this. I nodded. I did not even have the brief terror fantasy about my lingering death and wondering what they’d say at my funeral. I believe that it is a cyst.

Then I went into the bathroom and cried for five minutes, because holy shit, there’s a lump.

(It was okay to freak out over the one little thing in my armpit because I was pretty sure it probably wasn’t. It’s not okay to freak out about this because it might actually be. Does that make any sense?)

I do not know if I can explain what “I found a lump” is like for women in a certain age range. It is usually uttered quietly, with an attempt at matter-of-factness, it is usually followed with “it’s probably nothing” and it will stop conversation dead in its tracks. If you have good friends, they say “Tell me when you need me to drive you anywhere, I will come hold your hand, tell me what you need.” If you have bad friends…well, to hell with ‘em.

A lump is pretty much the trump card to anything that is not currently bleeding or on fire.
If Ripley had found a breast lump, she could have yelled to the Alien to give her five minutes, and it would have said “Oh, jeez, sorry, I’ll come back. Can I get you anything?”

It is terrifying to suddenly be alone in your body. No matter how many people love you, you are alone. You are stuck. You are in there with the thing and it’s snugged right up there and nobody else can come inside with you and hold your hand.

So, after a long and sleepless night (and making Kevin feel it and confirm that yep, there is a thing there) I called my doctor. They would have had me in same day, but I’m at Disneyworld. (Kevin offered to cut it short and drive me back, but it’s a cyst, it is surely a cyst, and if it’s not a cyst, three days isn’t going to matter one way or the other.)

My mother called and reassured me that was what cysts feel like, she’s had a million of them, and no, she didn’t stop freaking out when she found one until she’d had at least a dozen. So that made me feel better.

(And then I lost the bloody thing, which is worse, because I could just see myself going to the doctor and saying “I had this cyst and now I can’t find it,” and having her give me that look and say “Well, where was the last place you left it?” because my doctor has been putting up with my crap for years now. But I found it again. Having large boobs is just awesome. Really.)

So, Monday I go in to get a second opinion. I assume this will end with a mammogram, which I’m not particularly looking forward to and there better be an emergency release on the machine because if the building catches fire that is some Serpent and the Rainbow shit right there. It’s not painful, they shouldn’t have to drain it any time soon, which is the fate of some cysts.

And I am able to forget about it for hours at a stretch.

And I’m still kinda horribly freaked out and will probably not be cool with it until the doctor says “benign.”

Originally published at Tea with the Squash God. You can comment here or there.

I am so very sorry you are having to go through this! I've been there, done that and it's utterly terrifying. (Even if you know it's probably nothing...)

Good thoughts being sent your way!

Good thoughts for a benign resolution

Got my fingers crossed for you. If I were anywhere within range, I'd drive you places and/or take you some tea, screw this whole "random internet stranger" thing, it's a lump.

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I would love to know what to expect--lay it on me!

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If it helps, my own experience with mammograms came very early -- in my 20s -- not because of lumps, but because apparently some people can express green fluid. (When I had a kid, things were normal colors. Some years after kid... green again.)

So... yeah. *hugs and sends well-wishing*

Also, in case you didn't know, you write awesome.

Green?! Sounds like goblin-ancestry to me! Seriously though I had no idea. Lump is well.... lump. Scary. All of what Ursuala posted but green-fluid? Exorcist stuff? Meep. (PS I hope this is coming off as good natured shock/teasing and not mean-teasing. Sometimes tone on the internet is difficult.)

Ursula I wanted to say THANK YOU for posting this stuff. THANK YOU for posting about your fun with thyroid nonsense earlier as well. I just saw my doc and came home with a script for synthoid. I don't think he would have even checked my thyroid last time if I hadn't JUST seen your post. I have very high TSH levels and low normal free T-4 which according to doc is "Impending Hypothyroidism" LOL. He said they changed the impending because it sounded too much like DOOM and it is now just "Sub-clinical hypothyroidism".


Thank you for sharing. I'm assuming it is a cyst, and your willingness to write about it publicly will help other women by reminding them to check their breasts often, and it is OK to freak out if you find something.

Blessed Be.
Let no harm befall you.

I found a lump a couple years ago. I can relate to the bone-numbing terror, even IF all the signs point to non-cancerous. Mine was benign, too, but did get me diagnosed with papillomatosis, which has a slight increased risk of breast cancer. I still do breast exams with my heart in my throat until I don't find anything. Lots of good energy your way. ETA: as the person above offered, so do I. If you want to know anything about the process I went through (mammogram, genetic testing, biopsy) I'd be happy to share.

Edited at 2013-11-08 04:20 pm (UTC)

I managed to FORGET that I have a cyst in my left breast and died a dozen deaths laying on the ultrasound table at my next annual mammogram/screening because the technician was carefully documenting something from all angles and then left to consult with the doctor and came back and did it again and it was my mom's BIRTHDAY and I was going to get diagnosed with cancer on my mom's birthday... and then after all that the doctor says, "Good news! Your cyst is much smaller now!" And I was like, "Whaaaa? Oh. Yeah. Yay? I have to go throw up now."

Hang in there!

Also, I don't find mammograms so bad. I think it's actually a lot suckier if you have small breasts.

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*thinking positively thinking positively thinking positively*

Also, I devoured Nine Goblins in one big bite last night, and enjoyed it massively, FWIW. :)

Augh. Geez. *hugs* :c I hope you can get the reassurance from the doc soon.

I'm sure it will be benign. Positive energy coming your way!

Sending you good wishes.

My maternal ancestors *never* talked about this stuff -- puberty, pregnancy, perimenopause, etc. -- and each time something happened I was convinced I was the only one ever to experience it and so I must not only be abnormal but also ALIEN and ashamed and I must be doing whatever life stage WRONG.

I really appreciate the way you break things down into common experience, and I pray that the next update we get from you will be a description of how you found out Grape is Benign. Hope you're surrounded by all the care and support you need. :)

Oh man, you should've seen me that time my uterus decided to plop out a chunk of its lining while I was on my period - I FREAKED. It looks remarkably like a small bit of placenta when that happens, so of course the brain goes straight to "did I get pregnant and just miscarry?!" - the worst part may have been that my BOYFRIEND knew what it was because of doing tech support at a gyno's office so often. AUGH.

For anyone else who may have ever had this happen, here are some terribly icky reference photos I managed to find once: http://vaginapagina.livejournal.com/12402944.html

::HUGS:: Sending good thoughts.