Whatever you call them I am an absolute advocate for breast health!
Regular monthly self exams are vital to knowing your breast. Monthly checks are a great way to identify any change in your breast tissue.
If something feels off call your Ob/Gyn. Do not hesitate and do not feel silly. It’s your life we’re talking about, and one simple phone call could save it.
What happens after you call your Ob/Gyn… you’ll be asked to come in for an exam. After they ask you a couple of questions over the phone. How long has the lump/change been there? Is it painful? Is the skin hot to the touch? Often they will also ask if there is any seeping in the area.
Next at your appointment the Ob/Gyn will perform an exam. If they also feel the change they’ll suggest an ultrasound. Mental note if you have dense breast tissue they will not find anything with an ultrasound. This is where the rabbit hole opens up to scary town.
After the ultrasound is the MRI. It’s painless and gives a more definite picture for your team of doctors. They will know quickly what they are dealing with and you will either have good news (it’s nothing) or the bad news (it may be something).
Simple enough it could be a cyst, and at the worst case it may need to be drained. Yes, it sounds horrible, but it’s not that bad. I recommend not to watch though.
If it could be something you NEED to advocate for yourself. Insurance companies do not want to pay out for anything these days, and you need to be aware of what should be the next steps. That is why I am writing this blog. I’ve been down every rabbit hole with this, and can tell you first hand you never ever want to hear the word. The “C” word. It’ll completely knock you on your a$$, and can destroy you if you let it. Knowledge is power.
After the MRI deems it possibly something a biopsy will be done. Not comfortable, and you’ll be sore for a couple of days after, but nothing ibuprofen can’t manage. Wherever your “spot” is they will extract tissue, and tag the area with a metal clip. This clip will light up on MRI and mammogram to make sure the area is focused on often for any change. The worst part of the biopsy is laying on the table with your girls out in a room of people you don’t know. Get over it. This journey is going to take you to a new level of comfort with having your boobs out.
After the biopsy it’ll go either way treatment plan or preventative plan.
I won’t talk on treatment because I am not a medical professional, but I will say this… get a second opinion before starting any form of treatment.
The preventative plan could be a rotation of exam, MRI, mammogram. Timing depends on your situation, but remember to advocate for yourself and be comfortable with the plan. Typically you start on a three month rotation and over time the monthly spreads out to a six month, yearly rotation.
Once you have had a scare DO NOT let this issue slide. Stick with the plan, continue self exams, call immediately if there are changes. If you are not getting the attention that I have mentioned from your Ob/Gyn my advice is find another doctor who will take you seriously. This is not an issue to push under the rug. Many women are in a bad situation because they didn’t get their yearly exams or mammogram, or because their doctor blew them off.
Stay the course. Take deep breaths. Make sure you have a great support system, and a great medical team. Continue to live your life!
Best wishes to anyone out there reading this blog.