Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Why am I doing this?

Why am I writing this blog? Because this past weekend I noticed a large and painful lump in my right breast. It being the weekend and all--and not seeming like a life threatening illness or at least not serious enough to hit the emergency room, I decided to scour the internet for possible diagnoses, pain reducing solutions and/or just plain piece of mind.

What I found, however, were some crazy horror stories which did nothing more than produce a much higher level of stress and anxiety for me while I was waiting through the weekend to call the doctor on Monday morning. Basically all the medical sites gave me the same possible reasons for such a lump: breast infection from nursing (hello, Sammy is 16 years old now!), injury (nope), Fibroadenomas (solid, yet "usually" painless? probably not, but a possibility), Cysts (possible, vary in size and can be "tender"... they may be simplifying things a little here) and Breast Cancer (usually slow growing, not painful and produce other symptoms I do not have so I really wasn't so concerned about this being the diagnosis although you never know). So, I could pretty quickly eliminate a few options, but not completely eliminate other fairly scary options.

Despite my worrying, Monday rolled around rather quickly and the doctor took me right away (sort of a bad sign as this would mean that she was also concerned by my symptoms). Unfortunately, after her rather lengthy exam and a measurement of the bump approximated at 4cm x 4cm, she could not really give me any more information than I had garnered from the internet. Ugh! Plus the fact that the next step was a Mammogram/Ultrasound. Now, I find Mammograms painful on the best of days so I was definitely not looking forward to this, but I really did want to get it over with. Not going to happen... the clinic could not take me that day so I was going to have to live with the unknown for another day. Now, here is where I admit to being really stupid. Once again, in my desperation I searched out the internet. I found a woman with the identical symptoms to mine... even the same exact size lump. So I read her daily diary style story from discovery (on a weekend, just like me!) and then from doctor appointment to doctor appointment (lasting a couple of weeks, yikes!) and finally to surgery to have her (supposed to have been painless, but in fact was very painful) Fibroadenoma removed. They had at first thought it a cyst, but then when they could not drain it, they re-diagnosed it and scheduled surgery to have it removed. At first she was told it would be a dent sized scar but that was revised to a divot sized hole in her chest (even typing this makes my chest hurt, but I know I should not complain). At the end of the page, the writer promised a final post surgery entry, which never happened. WHAT? Man, that did not leave me with a warm and fuzzy feeling.

Well, moving along, after a painful mammogram and uncomfortable ultrasound, the diagnosis was in fact a fluid filled cyst. Phew, right? But that was also what's her name's diagnosis right? Well, I think I am going to have to do my best to try and forget what's her name. So after the tech delivers the "good" news from the doctor... she just says, okay. That's it? So, I ask what the next step is... hello, painfully large cyst is still the problem here. Now, because its not cancer, it doesn't exist? Her response is... well, you can have it drained, I guess, if you want? REALLY? Uh yeah, I think I will have it drained... or perhaps I could live with it FOREVER? So, of course I want it drained right then. Well, that took her by surprise and she said that was impossible. The labs would have to be sent back to my doctor, who would then have to send over the proper paperwork for the procedure. Oh man, bring on the bureaucracy.

In the end, my procedure is scheduled for Friday. I'm sure it will all turn out for the best (since I have completely forgotten what's her name, wink wink), but it does make me wonder if life was less or more stressful before the internet. Also, for the record, I believe women should get mammograms and do self exams... it just makes sense.


Sydney said...

So glad it's nothing life-threatening. But ouch, ouch and ouch!

Yeah, that internet is a double-edged sword. I'm always self-diagnosing myself, and usually certain I have the absolute worst possibility.

Hope Friday comes fast!

kjlubitz said...

So true about the self diagnosing, and the person you really don't want on the internet is Michael. Talk about a hypochondriac. No Michael, you don't have breast cancer :)!

Betsy said...

Sorry Kari. How scary! I hope everything goes well on Friday. Let us (your readers) know. Don't leave us hanging like what's her name did.

kjlubitz said...

I won't leave you hanging... I promise. I was really scared about telling ALL my sisters that now when they are asked if anyone in their family has had breast cancer, you all would have to say yes. Phew! I dodged that bullet :).