I Went to the Doctor For a Myriad of Reasons. The Breast Lump was Not One of Them

Mon, 04/18/2011 - 16:40
Submitted by Anonymous

“Hi. I’d like to make an appointment.”

“Okay. What test did you need?”

“A mammogram.”

“Fine. Let me get some information from you.”

She asked all the pertinent stuff — Name, Phone Number, Insurance Info. She asked if she could have my social security number or would I rather not. Stuff like that doesn’t freak me out in the least. Please, if someone were to steal my identity, they could only improve it.

“I’d rather not,” I said, surprising myself.

When she asked my date of birth, she automatically assumed.

“So, routine screening, then?”

“No, ma’am. Diagnostic.”

I have a lump in my breast.

I went to the doctor, yesterday, for a myriad of reasons. The breast lump was not one of them. I was, in fact, aware of its existence, but it had slipped my mind. I was more worried about the extreme PMS I was having. PMS so bad that, every month, I think, “I’d rather die than go through this again.” And it was only getting worse.

A few days ago, I had reached my breaking point. I was at work, doing the usual Monday stuff, when tears came. I wasn’t crying, per se, just tearing. Madly. I put down the cards I was organizing and marched over to my boss.

“I need to go to the doctor.”

“Okay, when?”

“Right now.”

He seemed confused. To be fair, while he is an idiot, it was confusing. We had spoken just a few minutes before and I was holding it together just fine.

“I’ll call you,” I said,on my way out the door.

I showed up at the local clinic and waited two hours to be called to the back. Then two more hours before seeing a doctor. I didn’t care. I couldn’t afford four hours off of work, but I also couldn’t afford the breakdown I was having.

The clinic doctor seemed worried. She called and got me a GYN appointment for the next morning, something almost unheard of, especially for the upscale practice she scored it with.

“Go home and rest,” she said, “Help is coming.”

I called my boss and told him I’d not be back in. Also, that I was going to be late the next day, because I had to see a specialist. He didn’t even ask.

The next morning, I showed up to the “Women’s Center”, located in a local hospital. I was wearing a cute babydollish top, and was asked twice when I was due. I wasn’t mad, I am fat and the place was packed with pregnant ladies. Besides, I got to say “Me? Oh, I’m barren” twice, which is my favorite.

I was made to undress, gown open in the front, and sit on the white paper. I didn’t really feel like checking twitter or reading any of the lady mags (did you know Women’s Day is still in business?), so I stared at an oil painting hanging on the wall. The subject was a field of red flowers. Really red. The paint stood out in peaks, impossibly thick, dark red.

“Note to self,” I thought, “Ask if art was painted with menstrual blood. That will lighten the mood and, also, I need to know.”

A young, unfairly beautiful Nurse Practitioner came in and ruined my cool with the sympathetic look on her face.

“I got the notes from your doctor. I’m so sorry. Let’s help you.”

We went through the routine. We chatted about pregnancies and birth control and my horrible periods and other body stuff. She asked why it had been six years since I had seen a Gynecologist and I answered truthfully.

“It didn’t seem important.”

“It is.”

She came up next to me and went straight to second base but it didn’t seem like a big deal because she was about to have me scooch down and hit a home run with nothing but a latex glove and a speculum.

She stopped her movement and felt around a little more intently. She felt around a little more, and her mouth made the tiniest frown movement. Tiny, but not imperceivable.

I scooched, and she hit her home run.

“Everything looks good down there,” she said, after I had sat up, “but I want to talk to you about your boobies.”

Normally, I would roll my eyes at her use of such a childish term for what were obviously bangin’ tits, but I let it go, as my memory had flooded with the fact that the last few (dozen) times I had, uh, pleasured myself, I felt something that struck me as not right.

“Oh. The right one?”

“Yes. There is a lump in there that we need to get checked out.”

Her voice had changed. Her bedside manner was spot on, but she had gone from girlfriendy to doctory, just like that.

We also discussed my mood swings and depression associated, apparently, with hormone fluctuations. Turns out it was beyond PMS, into something called PMDD and it was real and I wasn’t even making it up or being dramatic, at all.

She also handed me a pamphlet about Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

“I’m going to schedule an ultrasound. I suspect they will find this, so I just want you to have the information.”

A syndrome now? This was too much.

She prescribed me a mild antidepressant, scheduled the ultrasound, and handed me a paper with a crude drawing of my breasts, a circle right in the same spot I had felt the lump, and some phone numbers on it. She held on to that paper just a second longer than she needed to.

“You have to schedule the mammogram yourself, but I need you to do it right away, okay?”

I nodded, having suddenly developed an extreme case of brain fog.

I headed to the lab to have some blood drawn, clutching the pile of paperwork that said I was right to see a doctor, but making me wish I hadn’t. I was sure I was going to this appointment to be dismissed with “Nothing’s wrong” and “Lose weight, fatty”, but I wasn’t. I was taken seriously, about serious issues.

The NP emailed me today, with my bloodwork results. I’ve gone, in the span of 24 hours, from being someone who prided herself on taking no medications to someone who is taking five pills a day. Someone with follow up appointments. Someone who is suddenly uncomfortable in her own body. Feeling betrayed. Seeing it as unreliable.

I want, more than anything, to go back to not knowing.

I’m going to need those antidepressants.

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with cursing

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 04:07
Marisa Black

I said a whole string of bad words when I first read this post.

Thanks for sharing it with us here, and I am wishing you sweaty-fervent well-wishes for whatever comes next.


Tue, 04/19/2011 - 14:21
WildOrchid (not verified)

I hope evertyhing will work out for you. My friend has PCOS, there was a possiblility that I could have it too but it turned out I got fat on my own ;) There are a lot of things you can do to minimze the symptoms - you will work it out. 

i have pcos

Wed, 04/20/2011 - 02:04
handrobotqde (not verified)

I have it and im not on any medication. I used to take the pill to regulate it, but now im not on anything and im  just fine. 

dont worry things will sort themselves out !

Good luck, I hope everything

Wed, 04/20/2011 - 12:49
LilithLand (not verified)

Good luck, I hope everything goes well for you. Medical ailments can be so scary.


Sun, 04/24/2011 - 12:52
dolfun (not verified)

Classical Homeopathy!...try it you'll love it!.....

Being Sick

Mon, 04/25/2011 - 23:57
Spooky (not verified)

As someone who has been sick almost literally my entire life (I've had a progressive autoimmune disease for the last 22 years....I'm 26) I can tell you that while it doesn't necessarily get easier to deal with eventually  you won't have to think about it so much. Taking your meds will become a background routine, like brushing your teeth.  Your doctor's appointments will become a habit like going to the grocery store.  And when you start to feel better, you'll be glad you went.  But the initial shock, at any age for a diagnosis of anything, sucks.  Best of luck to you. 


Fri, 07/22/2011 - 18:08
dojoyoyo (not verified)

What she said. ^ Please try it before you try any crazy pills or sergeries the doctors want to give to you.