Is This Breast Cancer? Pre-diagnosis Part 1: Symptoms
Here I am today with a personal post. I know it’s been a long time since I’ve done a personal post. I’ve stuck to bringing you reviews, giveaways and recipes. I’m sorry it’s been like this but I’ve been preoccupied with as you can tell by the title of this post breast issues and getting to a diagnosis.
I have decided to turn this into a series of posts. In this first post, which I’ve decided to call Part 1 I will be sharing with you my symptoms. This post and Part 2 will have everything leading up to where I am right now. Then I hope to bring you weekly posts about what’s going on with me, part 3 etc.
Is This Breast Cancer ~ Pre-diagnosis Symptoms
Personally I don’t have a family history of breast cancer. I do have history of melanoma on my mother’s side. My grandmother had melanoma, which then metastasized to the bone in her thumb. She had to have her thumb removed and after treatment she was okay. Melanoma is a form of cancer that begins in melanocytes, specialized cells in the skin that produce the brown pigment known as melanin. These are the cells that darken when exposed to the sun, a protective response to protect the deeper layers of the skin from the harmful effects of the sun. Melanoma is highly curable if caught early, but is much more likely than other forms of skin cancer to spread if left untreated.
Other than that, there hasn’t been any other cancers that I know of in my family. So I hadn’t started with my yearly mammograms. My doctor had mentioned that once I turned 40 I should start. However I have been in the routine of doing self breast exams since the age of 18.
Let me tell you about my symptoms.
For about a year now I have been feeling different. And I have been recently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. That is a whole other sites of posts that I want to do. I am bringing this up though because these next symptoms I’m mentioning, I have been told are related to this and not the Fibromyalgia.
So I’ve been feeling different for about a year. I’ve had this throbbing pain in my back. It got so bad that we thought it could be the mattress and bought a new one. Even that didn’t help. By now I had started trying to get the diagnosis for Fibromyalgia so I thought it was that. About six months after the back pain started I also started having a throbbing pain in my left breast. This is where it all starts getting specific with my breast.
I started thinking it could be my bra?
By now it’s February and I thought that it was my bra that was giving me the issue. I’ve gained quite a bit of weight, so I thought maybe I just need new bras. This type of throbbing pain is similar to that pain that we women sometimes get during our menstrual cycle. Except that it is more painful and it is constant. I purchased new bras but even then I still get very uncomfortable. On days when it’s really severe I take Ibuprofen. The problem with this pain is that it is constant. So I kept trying to test it symptomatically. But I noticed that I wasn’t getting very far.
Finding the lump.
One night I was lying in bed and I was doing a self exam, and I felt a lump. This lump is the size of about an almond and it felt hard like one too. Whenever I touched it the pain got worse. I knew the time had come to see the doctor about it. By now we were at the end of May and I knew I had already scheduled an appointment for my yearly woman’s wellness exam. So I decided to wait until then.
Time for the appointment.
When it was time for my appointment, I saw the doctor and she did the routine pap smear. Then before sending me to get the lab work the doctor asked me if I had any concerns. I told her about the pain and about the lump I had found. Having had 3 babies and having breast fed, I have felt my milk ducts and have even had a cyst once. But this felt unlike anything I had felt before. This lump came out of nowhere and it was really painful. She said okay and did a palpable exam, immediately felt the lump. Then she told me that it didn’t feel like a normal lump. So she was going to send me to get a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound. They scheduled it for the very next week.
In my next post Part 2 I will tell you about my experience getting the diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound. You can read it here.