Fill Out Your Profile to share more about you. Learn more...
Webinar: Corrective Breast Reconstruction: Getting the Results You Want Join us July 9, 2024 at 6pm ET. Register here.

Recurring fibroadenomas? I posted here 10 years ago...

Options
das_madchen
das_madchen Member Posts: 8
edited January 2022 in Not Diagnosed But Worried

Hello all of you wonderful ladies/people:


I am a 36 year old teacher. That said, excuse my grammar and punctuation. -_- I am nervous and stressed.

Anyway, I posted 10 years ago (I was 26) regarding a fibroadenoma on my right breast. I had a biopsy, confirmed to be benign, etc. I ended up getting it removed around 2015 (so 4 years after my initial post and results) because I just did not like it being in my body. It was removed and again confirmed to be a fibroadenoma. Anyway, I did my breast exam (in the shower) a few weeks ago and felt something again in the exact same place where the previous fibro had been!! (right breast, towards armpit side, doctor called it 7 o'clock I think).

So I went for my physical yesterday and asked my doctor to check and she did find something (2cm) and requested a diagnostic ultrasound and mammogram. UGHHHH I AM HERE AGAIN. I want to feel confident that the damn thing came back and it's harmless, but I am also terrified this time it's malignant. I have searched for hours regarding fibroadenomas that come back, but there is not much info- mostly just "yes it can happen". You'd think that would leave me satisfied, but it does not. My appointments aren't until 1/25/22 (ugh) but I am on a waiting list and I should probably be calling daily in case of same day cancelations, but in a way I don't want to go and find out bad news. Anybody have any information on this or personal anecdotes? Or just some words to calm me down?

Thank you so much Heart

Comments

  • threetree
    threetree Member Posts: 1,460
    Options

    I don't want to scare you and our situations do have notable differences, but I'm going to share my story in hopes that it is some help. I had a benign fibroadenoma removed in 1972 when I was 19. I was told then that I had no higher risk of breast cancer than anyone else (I think that view has changed since all those years ago). Over the years that spot remained "weird" and there was always some hardness and lumpiness to it, along with occasional pain. Every time I asked a doctor about it over the next 20 years, they always told me it was just old scar tissue, nerve damage, etc. and nothing to be alarmed about. Sometime, I want to say around 2010 I put on a bra that was a style I'd worn for years and it fit funny and one of the edges ran over a hard spot in that same area. I noted it and wondered if something was going on, but then immediately told myself it was that old fibroadenoma and now that I was post menopausal and my body was changing ("sagging", etc) it was probably just that old fibroadenoma spot aging too. I had a lot of family drama going on at the time and had been through a divorce and had aging, parents, etc., so I slacked off on getting things like that checked out. The fact that it was that very same spot convinced me that it probably was not serious; annoying perhaps, but not serious.

    In 2018 when I was about 65 the old scar area related to that excision when I was 19 began to look a little "funny" right in that same spot. I continued to believe that it was the old fibroadenoma, maybe growing back or maybe a new one altogether. Again, I chalked it up to the old fibroadenoma, the old surgery, and my changing body due to aging. Finally in the middle of that year I decided that whatever it was, it was growing and had to come out, and that I should go see a doctor. I was terrified, scared, you name it, if it was a terrible feeling, I had it. That horrid fear precluded me from making an actual appointment, and I was also continuing to tell myself that whatever it was it must be benign. I too, looked all over the internet and saw that fibroadenoma's can come back and that in rare cases they can even develop post menopause. I thought that was my ace in the hole and continued to assure myself that whatever it was it was overwhelmingly likely to be benign.

    One day in June of 2018 I got a "wild hair" and the courage to show my problem to someone, so I raced up to an urgent care clinic while I was in that mode. I knew it wouldn't last, and that I would get scared and be unable to go to a scheduled appointment if I didn't go see someone right there and then. The doctor I saw at the urgent care immediately told me she thought it was breast cancer that was ulcerating through the old scar. She jumped on it and made me all sorts of appointments with surgeons that very week, in an area farther away from where I live. The surgeons also jumped on it and one agreed to come in on his day off and more. They were wonderful and doing everything possible to help me. Well, I couldn't wrap my head around what she'd said, I couldn't wait to get out of the clinic and just get home and be by myself to process everything. I was terrified, scared, and crying and just wanted to be home. I was convinced that she hadn't understood my story about the old fibroadenoma and how it had continued to be problematic for decades. Consequently, I cancelled all of the appointments they had all set up for me on the basis that I needed to continue to think about all of this, and that the hospital involved was too far away.

    Finally, the following September, I had chest pain that I thought might be a heart attack (turned out to be a chest muscle problem that I still have; costochondritis largely from posture and computer work). I decided I needed to go to the closest ER and while I was there getting my heart checked out (turned out to be fine), I asked them if they would also please render an opinion about my breast issue. They did an ultrasound right then and there and the radiologist noted how the mass he was seeing was in the exact same spot as the previous lumpectomy for the fibroadenoma, all those years ago. That old spot and scar still actually showed up on the ultrasound. They referred me to a surgeon and that time, finally! I got it through my thick head that I had a very serious problem. I saw the surgeon that November, biopsy confirmed a by then large (5.5cm) IDC tumor that turned out to be ER/PR+ and HER-. I started neoadjuvant chemo the following January (2019), had surgery that July, radiation in Oct and Nov of 2019, and began treatment with Letrozole in January of 2020. I just turned 69 a couple of days ago and am still here; so far, so good, so no matter what is going on with your situation, there is definitely always hope and some kind of time out there ahead of you.

    You are much younger now than I was when I had my later problems and I think that is a plus in your situation - much more likely to be a benign sort of thing. Also, you are getting things checked out, and that too is a good thing, unlike what I did. You have far more courage and common sense than I displayed during my initial ordeal and that is very strongly in your favor. I wouldn't worry too much about the dates you have scheduled in late January in terms of any progression that could occur. It will unfortunately though, cause you a lot of worry and anxiety over the holiday, and that is something that a lot cannot be done about. I really do think that your age is in your favor in terms of this being another benign situation, but it is imperative that you get it checked out. Do some things you enjoy and surround yourself with people that support you in the meantime.

    I'm sorry for the long ramble, but your story really struck me and I have my fingers crossed for you that this is just a minor problem that you will overcome in spite of the worry and anxiety. I hope you have the nicest holiday possible and enjoy the time between now and your appointments with family and friends who care about you and who are supportive. The absolute best of luck to you!

  • das_madchen
    das_madchen Member Posts: 8
    Options

    Thank you so much for your reply, I read every word. I admit it does worry me a bit to hear about your situation. Can you explain more about what your diagnosis means? I see all of these abbreviations and don't always understand them. How is your health now? Are you able to be active and do the things you enjoy? What is the long term outlook? Happy birthday, by the way! Nerdy

    What worries me is I don't know how long this lump has been there. I lost a significant amount of weight (on purpose, stopped drinking and began exercising) and wasn't doing my self-exams consistently so I worry it was "hiding" when my breasts were bigger. So I'm not sure about the timeline from removal to the lump now. I am trying to be optimistic, but I know that even if it's unlikely to be malignant due to my age, it is most definitely possible.

    I am also frustrated as I keep hearing conflicting information about the potential increase of bc risk. It seems like the studies often cited were from the 1990s. But I guess at the end of the day, just being a woman is enough of a risk factor. Bawling

    Thank you again, it feels good to be heard. I don't want to talk to my family about this as my sister is pregnant and it's the holidays.

  • threetree
    threetree Member Posts: 1,460
    Options

    das_madchen - I understand your trouble with all the lingo. I had to learn it all when I signed on to this forum. My diagnosis meant that I had a large tumor that was invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC). That means it was doing more than just sitting there, i.e. it had become invasive. The ER/PR+ means that the tumor is fueled and driven by estrogen (ER), some tumors aren't. The HER- means that the tumor doesn't have a particular protein that is associated with more aggressiveness. I have the most common kind of breast cancer. The size of the tumor (5.5 cm) is considered large and therefore more likely to spread or come back than a smaller one. I wouldn't worry too much about all the terminology unless and until you get a non benign diagnosis. It can be a real headful; especially at first.

    My health now is OK, but I'm not my old self. The treatments I went through took a lot out of me, and the Letrozole (more terminology involved there, but I won't go into it for now) that I take causes some not so pleasant side effects. At this time there is no evidence of any current cancer, but they presume that the cancer cells are out there in my body somewhere and that I am a high risk for it to return. Again, that is mostly because of the size of the tumor. I'm active in the sense that I can take care of myself and get out for daily walks, etc. I am having some troubles with work, due to cognitive side effects of the Letrozole, e.g. brain fog, difficulty concentrating, focusing, and organizing paperwork, projects, daily work load/plans, etc.

    Re your being worried about how long your lump might have been there, they say some of these have been there 10, 15, and even 20 years before they are discovered. I think mine was there a long time before even I noticed something initially, whether I acted on it or not. Apparently some of these just "sit" for years and really don't do anything, but then something triggers them to grow and invade other parts of the breast.

    Thanks for asking about my current health, and for the nice birthday wish!

    As above, if I were you, I would just try to do and enjoy a lot over the holidays and the time until your appointments. If you get out and enjoy things and other people, you won't dwell quite so much on what this might be. You really won't know until they actually do the tests and get results back, so worrying really doesn't do you much good. I say that as someone who has worried her head off and couldn't calm down for my own situation, so I know that suggesting that you try not to be too anxious is much easier to say than do.

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,184
    Options

    Here is the link for the abbreviations Do try to find something to distract yourself - whether it's binge TV or walking or baking or.... And stay away from that fake 'dr' google.

    https://community.breastcancer.org/forum/131/topic...


  • didette2006
    didette2006 Member Posts: 2
    Options

    hi das madchan

    We have maybe some similarities. I was here merely ten years ago. Had a fibroadenoma. However for me, during the three following years I had three more in right and three in the left. No biopsies, I monitored them until I gave birth to my first child. After that I got pregnant again and had my second child. I never did ultrasound fro 2015 again, but the lumps either remained unchanged or shrunk and I was always seeing my obgyn. I also lost weight months ago. And since beginning of December I do feel a new lump under my right breast. I did not got an appointment with doctor I did get appointment with radiology for the 13th of January. I wanted also to have nice holidays with my kids. I am now mother and no more in my twenties. I don't know what it is. I really hate this waiting period. good luck

  • das_madchen
    das_madchen Member Posts: 8
    Options

    Hello didette,


    Thanks for sharing your experience. For the first fibroadenoma, was it diagnosed via ultrasound/mammogram/mri or biopsy? How old were you at the time?

    For the following ones, how were they being monitored? Does this new lump feel different from the others? How old are you now?

    The waiting sucks! I have been reading and doing puzzles. It helps. :)

  • didette2006
    didette2006 Member Posts: 2
    Options

    hello again ! No biopsy for me. I did ultrasounds for my fibroadenomas until the reports were birads 2.

    I did a mammo also, the very first time.
    Honestly I don't know if the lump feels like the older ones As some shrunk and are so tiny now. And the biggest one are really bigger (>2 cm) so the feeling is really hard to compare.

    Does yours feel the same ?

    For my age I was 27 when the first one got discovered I am now 36 .. soon 37!

    Have a nice day


  • das_madchen
    das_madchen Member Posts: 8
    Options

    Hi Didette, thanks for replying. Mine was biopsied and eventually completely removed so it’s a new one, which worries me. I honestly don’t remember too well how the last one felt but the main thing is that it’s not “fixed” it’s “mobile” which I know is a good sign. Please keep me posted with your updates and I wish you a happy new year. Nerdy

  • das_madchen
    das_madchen Member Posts: 8
    Options

    Hello again ThreeTree (what’s the story on your name by the way?),


    I appreciate your reply. You have truly helped me feel better. I hope your health continues to improve and I wish you a happy new year! I’ll be sure to post an update once I have my apt

  • das_madchen
    das_madchen Member Posts: 8
    Options

    oh also we are the same age more or less! I discovered my first one at 26 and now I’m 36. So weird

  • threetree
    threetree Member Posts: 1,460
    Options

    Hello das_madchen - The story about my name is a real simple one. It's simply a reference to a geographical place in the area where I grew up, that I always enjoyed, and still do.

  • das_madchen
    das_madchen Member Posts: 8
    Options

    Thank you for sharing! Hope you had a great New Year.

  • das_madchen
    das_madchen Member Posts: 8
    Options

    So update- I was able to get seen today (there was a weird mix up but it worked out).

    Ultrasound didn't show anything so they did a mammogram. Report mentions "benign appearing intramammary nodes" but overall they said nothing to be concerned about. I am not satisfied and the doctor didn't even come feel my breasts and I'm mad I didn't ask her to. I'm thinking of requesting an MRI.

    Anybody have thoughts? Thanks.

  • threetree
    threetree Member Posts: 1,460
    Options

    Das_madchen - A little more about my name. It is for Three Tree Point, a location on Puget Sound.

    Even though you are not satisfied with the results you got, they do lean in the positive direction, so that is a good thing.

    I did have a good New Year (solo due to Covid, etc), and hope you did too.