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In a dark place right now. Could really use support.

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coffeebeen
coffeebeen Member Posts: 5
edited February 2023 in Waiting for Test Results

My anxiety is really bad and I could use some support. I’m 30 years old. Back in May, I found a lump on my inner right breast, just a couple days after my OBGYN did a breast exam on me. I remember being in the shower thinking whoa that’s weird, but I just had an exam so she maybe felt it and thought it was ok? I was also pregnant so I thought it could have been related to pregnancy. I mentally thought I should bring it up but proceeded to forget for months.

Fast forward to November, I’m getting ready to give birth to my son and I’m going to more doctors appointments. I finally bring up the lump and my new OBGYN (couldn’t see my original anymore because they did not do delivery) says huh, that’s weird, I’ll give you a referral for ultrasound. So she writes that up for me but doesn’t seem too concerned. Then I give birth and call to schedule the appointment in December. They are able to fit me in January, I go to the appointment. The ultrasound tech and I are laughing, talking about new babies and how she has a son too. When she gets to the lump she gets very quiet and says “I’m going to go get the doctor.” She comes back with the doctor, who says she wants to repeat the ultrasound herself, and she looks at the lump as well. The ultrasound tech is looking at the floor. The doctor points out to me that the edges are bad, like you would expect to see in a melanoma in skin cancer, and that she wants me to do a mammogram immediately.

So I go and do the mammogram same day. And the tumor still looks suspicious, plus they find an enlarged abnormal intramammary lymph node on my left breast. She comes back and tells me that she wants me to do a biopsy ASAP. She sounds extremely concerned. At this point I start to lose my shit, I’m thinking about my son and my wonderful husband and how scared I am to actually think I could lose them/ they could lose me. Everyone is very solemn, they give me tissues and then send me on my way.

So I called to schedule the biopsy and they don’t have any availability for three weeks. Three. Weeks. I’m already struggling with post partum anxiety, this has sent me into an absolute tailspin. I can’t look at my son or husband without crying. I can’t eat and cannot sleep. The few times I have slept, I wake up feeling normal until I remember I have this hanging over me. I can’t even tell you the regret that I feel for not having it checked out sooner.

Details: inner right breast 2.3 cm tumor, it is hard and immovable with bad edges. The nipple on that breast has also been cracked, bloody-looking (but no blood is coming out) for the past four weeks since I had my son. I thought it was related to breastfeeding but it won’t heal even while I take a break and just pump (gently), and the nipple on my other breast has never cracked or been damaged at all in this time. I’m also having chest pain underneath the lump which started in the past month, and upper right back pain.

Outer left breast intramammary lymph node enlarged 1 cm, this one I didn’t know about.

Rated BIRADS 4.

Comments

  • rrobin0200
    rrobin0200 Member Posts: 80
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    coffee,

    Take a deep breath. We know it’s hard… really hard. Your feelings are valid, but please don’t beat yourself up about it. Did you ask the center to put you on a cancellation list? That might help knowing that there’s a small possibility that you could get in sooner. In the meantime, focus on your son, your family, anything that will keep your mind preoccupied. Remember, don’t stress about something right now that’s not a definitive. We are here to lend an ear, to offer advice, and to keep you informed, should you need additional information. Please keep us posted. You’ve definitely come to the right place! Stay off of google. Dr. google isn’t a legitimate doctor, and half of the information on there is false, outdated, or just plain stupid. One moment at a time. Breathe.

  • mountainmia
    mountainmia Member Posts: 857
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    That's upsetting, I'm sure. What is the next step toward diagnosis? I understand your anxiety, and mixed with the PPD, it's an unhappy thing.

    If I could give you a hug, I would. The only thing I can recommend for right now is to contact your doctor -- whoever is treating you for the PPD -- and discuss the anxiety with them. Ask if there is some short-term prescription help you can get to ease the anxiety. It might well dull you overall, which probably isn't how you want to feel. But right now you need to NOT spin out of control and NOT break down into tears and imagine all kinds of tragedies. You don't have enough information yet to know what your future will be. At this point you are deep in your imagination. I get it, honestly I do. But it's not helping you to get to the next step. The next step. That's all you need to do. Again, please check with your doc about how to get to the next step. Focus on that.

    My best wishes to you.

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,946
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    At the breast center I use, it's quite normal for the radiologist - the doctor you saw - to come in after an ultrasound, so please don't read anything into that. They also like to do all kinds of imaging to get as many views and modes as possible. Aost biopsy results come back benign, so please keep that in mind. I had my biopsy done on the spot right after the ultrasound, so I think scheduling yours separately sounds like they want to know what it is but they don't feel it's a matter of urgency.

  • eleanora
    eleanora Member Posts: 299
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    I agree with all of the advice given above, and want to add that your youth and otherwise good health are major positive factors in dealing with whatever the results from the test show. Right now you must feel as though you've been hit by a tsunami, but you have so much to live for, and we are all here to support you. There are many of us on this board and we are in lots of different time zones so you can usually find someone any time of the day or night.

    I wish I could wrap a warm blanket and my arms around you in a hug, but under the circumstances it will have to be virtual. Hang in there sweetie, we will wait with you.

    Eleanora

  • coffeebeen
    coffeebeen Member Posts: 5
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    Thank you all for being with me. It means a lot. I told my best friend about this and she was sympathetic but kept telling me that I couldn’t possibly have cancer being so young. I know that’s wrong and I didn’t have the energy to correct her so that was a conversation where I wasn’t able to truly say how I was feeling. My husband is supportive but I can tell he is so scared so I’m trying not to put too much of my anxiety on him. I don’t know anyone else who has gone through this in real life.

    I have been calling the scheduler twice a day, once at 10am and once at 4pm to check for cancellations but no success yet. I was able to find a different hospital in my city that can fit me in next week for my biopsy, but I would have to have all my records and films transferred to them, and then it sounds like if I do need treatment, they would have to transfer everything back to the other hospital. I’m not sure if it would be worth knowing the results sooner and possibly delaying treatment, or knowing the results later and starting treatment sooner. Does anyone have any advice around that?


    Thank you all for your kindness and taking the time to respond to me.

  • mountainmia
    mountainmia Member Posts: 857
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    Yes, some advice on the timing: it seems like forever to wait for your appointment, but it is very rarely a medical emergency to wait 2 or 3 weeks, or even more. (I'm not a doctor!! But from how you described it, it doesn't sound like an emergency.) So from that standpoint, the delaying treatment a few days isn't likely to make a big difference.

  • sarahmaude
    sarahmaude Member Posts: 338
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    I'm 11 months past my diagnosis, and remember so well that feeling of needing answers NOW. The waiting was the hardest part. Transferring records between hospitals is so common that if you gain peace of mind at having pathology results earlier, I wouldn't hesitate to go for the earlier appointment elsewhere. Pathology labs and radiation facilities do a lot of trading between themselves. Slides from my tumor sample have gone from the surgical hospital to both OncoTypeDX and Signaterra labs. My biopsy sample had to be sent out of state for FISH results. People go all over the country for the treatment centers they choose, and they ship that information and even tumor samples everywhere. The diagnostic facility is not an anchor. Sure, it's convenient to have a one stop shop, but it's not required. In my medium sized city, my surgeon worked for the same hospital as the diagnostic center, but my medical oncologist and radiation oncologist each had their own facilities. And they traded diagnostic information just fine.

    I'm going to also say that I've got multiple data personal points on radiation/imaging. For my earlier mammograms, I'd get called back and had ultrasounds done, and it all turned out to be fine. For my diagnostic mammogram that revealed my cancer, I immediately had an ultrasound and my biopsy taken that afternoon. But that is because I had the diagnostic mammogram scheduled. I found out in two days that it was cancerous. Like your experience, it was apparent that they saw results that looked like something wrong/cancer. But, my imaging report was BiRads 5. Not 4. I got an MRI the next week, and the radiologist saw what she was convinced were multifocal satellite tumors around the primary. She biopsied them, and even when the results came back benign, she was convinced the pathology was wrong. Of course I had the extra tissue removed in my lumpectomy, and it was indeed benign. So, I agree that you have to breathe and realize that imaging is GREAT, but it can't answer what a biopsy will. And, treatment for early breast cancer is very effective. And you are not going to die from your lump anytime soon, and probably you will live a long healthy life after this experience. I was just thinking of a woman I knew who had cancer in her early thirties. It's been almost thirty years since her diagnosis, and she is fine.

    I hope they find out that what they see is benign. But if it's not, you will get great treatment, and there are many here who will be here to cry and scream with you, and also to celebrate passing each step of the journey.

    I also found out that doing things I could for myself in the waiting times was great. Make sure you have a soft, supportive bra for post-biopsy. Think about a simple meal for the afternoon of that can be ready to go. You will be sore, but it's not terrible. In the meantime, enjoy every minute with your new baby. Find a fun audio book or light tv show to watch. Distraction was my best friend in my many many hours, days, months, and actually,, after treatment, a small sense of forever, I still feel a sense of waiting for whatever else might be out there. I'm not going to say I'm great at waiting, but I've certainly embraced the fact that the only place medicine happens quickly is on TV. The real world is much more deliberate and scheduled.

    Gentle hugs!

  • coffeebeen
    coffeebeen Member Posts: 5
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    Wanted to share an update. I had the biopsy yesterday on the mass in my right breast and just got my results today — it is benign!!! The mass is a lactating adenoma. They want to monitor the mass in the other breast so I'll go back in for a checkup on that one 6 months from now.

    I also talked to my doctor about my post partum anxiety as some of you suggested, and she prescribed me something and I am starting therapy. Your comments helped me so much.I am also donating to breastcancer.org to pay it forward for the next person who comes to these boards needing support.

    From the bottom of my heart, thank you, thank you all so much.

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,946
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    We're always glad to hear a good news update on BCO!

  • mountainmia
    mountainmia Member Posts: 857
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    Oh, that is GREAT news!! I'm so happy to hear it.

  • purplecat
    purplecat Member Posts: 226
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    So very happy to read this news this morning!

  • threetree
    threetree Member Posts: 1,471
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    Yay!

  • 7of9
    7of9 Member Posts: 474
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    Great News! I hate when they hand you tissues...hope someone someday throws the box at the wall. Mine was not good news but that was 11 yrs ago. So happy for you!

  • lw422
    lw422 Member Posts: 1,411
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    Coffeebeen--what wonderful news! Thanks for letting us know; a lot of people post when they are having tests then never come back to say what happened. I mean this in the best possible way... I hope you never have to return here again!! Hugs.

  • coffeebeen
    coffeebeen Member Posts: 5
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    Well, unfortunately I have another update. It turns out that the biopsy needle punctured a milk duct and not only do I have a pretty nasty infection, but also milk is gushing from the incision site with no signs of stopping. It sounds like I will have to stop breastfeeding in order for it to ever be able to heal. I didn't expect I would have to ween my son before he was even two months old, but such is life.

  • mountainmia
    mountainmia Member Posts: 857
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    I'm sorry to hear that. Do check in with your lactation consultant (or ask for one, if you don't have someone assigned). Check to see if there's a way to keep nursing, even if only one sided for now. Of course, the most important thing is that the little one is fed with a healthy meal, whether breast milk or not. Good luck.