Suddenly and viciously my world stopped.
A split second glance in the mirror while getting undressed froze me in time.
In that minuscule moment I noticed that slightly above my right nipple my skin was a different colour. Almost looking like a birth mark – Except it was only there today. It wasn’t there yesterday, was it? All of sudden I couldn’t remember.
I immediately laid down and cupped my breast. I felt it immediately. It didn’t take more than a split second to find. A small round lump directly beneath my nipple.
My body involuntary shuddered.
I went straight to my husband. I saw the panic and worry immediately slide across his face. Immediately he bounced up and confirmed that it was new.
We agreed I would make an appointment to see the doctor the next day.
I couldn’t see him for two days. It was a long two days. Two days of waiting. Two long days of ‘what-ifs’.
By the time my appointment came around I was convinced I was overreacting. I had had a breast check done after the birth of my second child. It was simple, he felt each one, said quite matter-a-factly that I was fit and healthy and right to go – it is rare for young people to have a lump significant enough to receive further investigation. So with this in mind I entered the doctor’s office.
After an awkward moment of becoming entrapped in my bra strap (because apparently I had forgotten how to smoothly remove my bra!) I laid down and told the doctor what had happened.
As I had convinced myself I was overreacting I was still talking when he found it. First hit. Straight away he knew why I was there. Immediately he was another passenger on my fear bus. He told me not to worry, I am young – it is most likely not dangerous. BUT I would need to book in for a scan and probably a biopsy.
I know it sounds strange but I was genuinely shocked. I had envisioned him telling me that I was overreacting and sending me on my way. Instead more tests were needed. Straight away it sunk in that he thought it was serious enough to investigate further.
Straight away I phoned my husband. He said all the right things, I remember a blur of ‘better to be safe than sorry’, ‘no harm in checking it’, ‘you will be okay’.
No longer was this maybe a problem. It was a problem.
I maintained the positive attitude. I repeated over and over that I would be okay.
I was fine until I went to check on my children. They had been asleep for hours and between their perfect snores and deep breaths I welled up.
An immediate sadness overtook me. I think it was then it really hit me. Who would tuck them in if I was sick or no longer around?
The next morning I rang to book in my appointment for the scan. The hospital couldn’t see me for 13 days. I wasn’t sure I could wait that long.
I found an appointment at another location sooner, they told me it would cost me $60.00. I told them I didn’t care.
Early in the morning I dropped my children at their grandmother’s house and kissed them goodbye.
I don’t really remember the drive but I arrived at the imaging place and announced my name to a pleasant lady behind the counter. She welcomed me with a big, wide grin. She then looked at my file, her grin slipped away and changed to a kind smile and a wink. She knew how I was feeling.
I was so nervous. Almost on the verge of tears. It no longer seemed to matter how much I told myself I would be okay, I had been telling myself that for too long now and couldn’t maintain the optimism.
Thankfully a beautiful girl who I had known since school happened to see me. She came over, said hello and distracted me for long enough to wait for my name to be called.
A friendly man approached me and told me it was my turn. He asked if I was comfortable for a male to undertake the examination. ‘Of course’ I said. He led me into a dark room. It was the exact same the room that my husband and I had heard our daughter’s first heartbeat in. My tears welled again.
I changed into a charcoal coloured medical gown. I don’t know why I remember the colour so vividly.
After asking medical history of my family, he began the scan. Straight away he felt the lump. Immediately he knew why I was there.
He told me he would have to scan both breasts so that they could compare any changes. He made me as comfortable as possible. He was informative and professional. He made little jokes to relax me. I appreciated that.
He performed the scan and told me he would return soon. He told me he had to discuss with another doctor my situation and whether I would possibly need a mammogram or a biopsy.
He came back and told me I was right to leave. That more tests would not be required. That my doctor would call me.
That call was the most anticipated one in my life. My doctor in his calm tone advised that it was not a lump of concern and was just a standard tissue change. That I should keep monitoring it and if anything changed I should return. I was given the all clear.
This little lump that had caused me distress for four long days was nothing.
Relief does not even describe my feelings. I realised that I had not really breathed for four days. In and out I said a silent prayer of thanks and made two promises. The first to stay breast aware and secondly to hug my children just a little bit harder.
While it was one of the most scary experiences of my life I am so grateful I was checked and cleared. I urge all of you beautiful nesters to be breast aware and to have regular check-ups done. Early detection is key.
Happy health Nesters x