I wasn’t sure whether to do a follow-up post on finding a breast lump, but it’s been playing on my mind a lot over the past couple of days. Blogging about my life always helps me work through my thoughts.
In my first post, I spoke about finding a lump in my right breast whilst travelling in Sydney, and how I had previously had a lump removed when I was 17 years old.
In my second post, I gave an update as I had been for an ultrasound on both breasts. The radiographer found 5 lumps in total. 3 in the right, 2 in the left.
I went back to the Breast Clinic for the results of my biopsy and took my housemate Lucy with me for support. I had messed up the times so arrived an hour early and had to wait.
I sipped on a smoothie and tried to make conversation with Lucy about the out-of-date magazine she was reading. When I was finally called in, Dr Wendy confirmed that the biopsy had shown the lump was a fibroadenoma and I almost cried with relief. She said that they were fine to leave alone but to get a checkup in six months to monitor them.
Birmingham Breast Clinic
Fast forward 4 months and I’m back in England. I visited the Breast Clinic here because they had records of my previous lumpectomy and I was assessed again. I was having moments of pain in my right breast and was terrified that something was happening.
The consultant said that she could feel the lump as soon as she started to examine me and also felt one of the other lumps on the right side, but couldn’t feel any of the left due to the scar tissue. Once again, she said the lumps were fine to leave, but that there was the option for me to have one removed.
When I was changing after cheerleading practice, I happened to brush over my right breast and could feel the lump. Bigger than before and it was painful to touch. I asked my mum to feel it too, to prove I wasn’t going mad. She felt it straight away, saying that it felt like a bean.
So here I sit, trying to weigh up the pros, cons and risks of having another lumpectomy.
At the moment, all I can think about it how scared I am every time I feel the lump, how painful it can be sometimes, wondering if I’m emotionally ready to have another operation (it would be my fourth). I’m not sure I could deal with another operation, especially with my allergies to medication. I don’t want to risk an allergic reaction, but I’m not sure I can be reminded of the lump every time I shower.
Pros of Having Surgery
I can’t feel it whenever I shower
No more pain when I touch it
No more tearful moments when I feel it
No more worrying whether it’s grown
No bi-annual check-ups to monitor it
Cons of Having Surgery
Having time off work
Being in pain while it heals
The ITCHING while it heals (no one ever tells you that it itches as you heal…)
Having another scar
The dent in my confidence because of the scar
Risks of Having Surgery
Possible allergic reaction
This is the biggest thing that I’m worried about, the risk of an allergic reaction. It’s the deciding factor on whether I have the operation really.
I’m allergic to opiates (codeine, morphine) and some antibiotics (penicillin and erythromycin) so I’m not sure how they would manage my pain levels post-operation. I also got an infection from one of my previous operations so would have to try alternative antibiotics to fight the infection if I contracted another one. If the wrong one is used, then that’s a longer recovery period.
I’m really undecided as to whether I should have the surgery or not (if you couldn’t tell!) and I can wake up positive that I want the lumpectomy but go to sleep that same day positive that I don’t want it.
If and when I make a decision, I’ll be sure to keep you updated.