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.”

  • reply Liddle-Oldman ,

    It sounds like a cyst. It acts like a cyst. Pretty much nothing malignant comes up that fast. You just had bloodwork that came up clean.

    And if it were me I’d be freaking out and terrified until the doctor pronounced me safe…

    May you be reassured soon.

    • reply MAWalker ,

      *hug* We have friends/acquaintances in common, and I know you don’t know me from Eve “IRL” but — damn, I hate that feeling……will be thinking good, reassuring thoughts your way

      • reply illisse ,

        I had the same thing happen when I was in my early 20’s. I don’t make it any easier to know that it most likely is a cyst. They like to disappear and come back. I had mine removed so I wouldn’t have to worry about it

        • reply Anjela ,

          Ugh, son of a bitch, that sucks. 🙁

          I’m 35 and had a breast lump scare about three years ago. It SUCKED. It was a cyst, it went away on its own, and the mammogram was actually nowhere near as unpleasant as I had been led to believe.

          Hang in there!

          • reply Tom Vinson ,

            It’s not like I’m really equipped to relate to this, but scary medical things are scary medical things, regardless of what kind of chromosomes you have.
            I’ll be keeping you in my thoughts.

            • reply J H Sked ,

              That’s a scary feeling no matter what logic tells you. Hold on, we’re all rooting for you.

              • reply Ross P. ,

                If you don’t mind another man chiming in, I’ve gone through this with my mother, my wife, and my very best friend since 5th grade. I understand it’s scary. No matter how benign it feels and probably is, it’s still scary. I’m thinking of you and praying for you.

                • reply Mean Waffle ,

                  I don’t have any experience with cysts or tumors, but I coincidentally had a mammogram yesterday. And every time I have one, the machinery is less uncomfortable and quicker and easier to deal with.

                  Hoping you’ll get good results and get them soon.

                  • reply larksilver ,

                    Logical calm and unreasoning fear live in two different areas of the brain. It is entirely possible to have both simultaneously, with many confusing results. The best we can do when this happens is to avoid beating ourselves up for it, lest we add self-recrimination and “feeling like a wimp” to the already uncomfortable mix.

                    It sounds like a cyst to me, too, but I know that doesn’t make a shred of difference. May the next few days be as non-freaked-out as possible, until you get the (surely benign) results back.

                    • reply Katherine ,

                      Oh my god, I’m sorry, that’s terrifying. Please let us know one way or the other. I’m rooting for you!

                      • reply Cuprohastes Dvanatrinodantan ,

                        Yikes. Even if it’s nothing (Which it surely is), why take chances?
                        After all, you’re going to be going “gottalumpgottalumpgotalumpAIGH!” until you get it checked out anyway…

                        • reply Hawk ,

                          Sending good thoughts your way indeed.

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