This was a post I wrote a while ago but didn’t publish at the time, I wrote it as a therapeutic post, just to get the words out of my head! At the bottom I have updated it with what happened next.
It is a few days after Christmas day and I am shattered, we have had a great few days, the presents are opened, the food has been eaten and time has been spent with loved ones. On boxing day I noticed something, but I have kept that quiet due to being a little embarrassed. I noticed that my left breast had some discharge, not massive amounts but definitely there!
It reminded me of when I was nearing the end of my pregnancy and my milk was coming in; except this time I am not pregnant, I haven’t been for a long time; I haven’t had milk for about 3 years!
I tried not to worry about it, thought it would go away, but it hasn’t. I have had a google about it, the best way to diagnose yourself isn’t it?! Apparently some discharge is normal so I was pushing it to the back of my mind!
Yesterday morning as I showered I felt something in the same breast, something new, something that definitely wasn’t there before. Calmly I felt around the boob, then my other one, then back again. I say calmly, on the outside I was calm, on the inside I was screaming ‘no, not a lump, please not a lump!’
Unfortunately it is exactly that, a lump. The size of a pea, hard and painful. The whole breast feels bigger and firmer than the other one too, putting my bra on I can really notice the difference – it feels tighter that side and it hurts. The discharge is still there too.
“What if it is something serious? Stay Calm! Could it be cancer? No, of course not. But it could be couldn’t it!?”
I want to cry, doctors are not open due to the Christmas and bank holidays, I don’t want to ruin the husbands Christmas or the other members of the family that are staying with us. I am panicking but there is nothing I can do right now, I will just have to get on with Christmas/New year and then deal with it.
Can I just hide instead?
Straight after new year I got a doctor’s appointment. What I didn’t realise at the time was that whilst I was waiting for the doctors to be open again, the worry really affected me; looking back I was grouchy, I snapped at people, fell out over silly things and I cried – a lot!
On seeing the doctor she agreed that the breast was definitely bigger, firmer and fuller. She couldn’t find a lump but it still hurt. The doctor was brilliant; kind, clear and helpful. She decided to refer me straight to the hospital for checks.
Within two weeks I was sat in the hospital waiting room, waiting for a mammogram and ultrasound. I was scared. The waiting room was full, some women looked as terrified as I felt, some had obviously experienced treatment – Chemo maybe, I don’t know – I was trying not to look anywhere but at the book I had bought with me. I wasn’t reading it, couldn’t, was too busy thinking about what was to come.
I have to say that the staff and nurses in the breast clinic were fantastic, so lovely and calming. They knew their stuff and were happy to answer any questions.
First I had a manual examination by a breast nurse, she agreed that there was a difference in the breast. She marked me up by drawing a cross on my boob and took a sample of the discharge to send off.
The Mammogram made me nervous – it is such a big machine; actually it was fine. Put your arm up here, breast on the shelf and stand still. It is not entirely dignified and is a little bit uncomfortable when squashed, but not painful and lasted a matter of seconds.
Next I had an ultrasound which was very similar to when I was pregnant, I could see the screen and it fascinated me to see the waves inside me.
I am happy to say there was no lump obvious on the scans. I had to wait for the results of the discharge but within a week I had the results to say it was nothing sinister.
The nurse told me that most discharges are ‘normal’, I found out they can be all different colours too.
Saying that it is always worth getting it checked out.
I have been back for a review and all discharge has gone and there is no evidence of anything bad, the relief is incredible. This time I feel very lucky, it doesn’t end this way for all women (and some men). I know for definite though if I ever find anything again I will definitely got to the doctors and get it checked.
Make sure you keep yourself checked – there is a useful guide here from Breast Cancer Care