My experience, Liz Blakeborough
It was Christmas Eve and I was filled with anticipation. Two whole weeks off. Time to be spent with the family, eating, drinking and relaxing. I could not wait for the celebrations to begin.
I don’t know what made me do it but immediately I wished that I hadn’t. I put my hand inside my top as my bra was itching me and straight away I sensed something was wrong. Was that a lump? Please no not again, not now, but it was unmistakable a small grape like lump at the bottom on my right breast. My heart started beating faster and an awful feeling of dread spread throughout my body. Maybe this time I would not be so lucky.
It was the fourth time that I had made such as discovery and the previous three times my lumps had turned out to be cysts but oddly enough this did very little to reassure me.
However, as it was Christmas I told myself to put it out of my mind until after the celebrations. Nothing could be done now and it was likely to be more of the same I reassured myself. It might even go away by itself.
I was kept very busy over the festive season and so managed to keep my fears in check, though every now and again the thought of my lump came back into my head and I started to panic. Also I discovered another lump in my left breast.
Once Christmas was over though it was a different story I could not put it off any longer I knew I would have to go to the doctor. So, I duly booked myself in and went along to the appointment. The doctor was not my regular doctor and did not have the best bedside manner. He did not do a thorough examination of my breasts just had a quick feel where I said the lumps were and said yes I had lumps and I must be referred to the Breast Care Centre at Southmead.
I knew the drill, a letter would be sent to the centre and then I would receive a phone call or letter telling me when my appointment was. Once the wheels had been set in motion my mind went into overdrive - my breast lumps were virtually all I could think about.
I googled far too much and spent my days lurching from absolute panic to calm determination. It seemed the more I read the more confused I was. One minute I would convince myself I definitely had breast cysts and the next I was sure that this time it would be cancer. Over the next ten days I completely exhausted myself running through many different scenarios in my head.
I knew that my lumps displayed characteristics of cysts as they were grape like, moveable and did not feel too hard. However, the doctor’s words kept ringing in my head. “You must never be complacent just because you have had cysts before. You must always be checked just in case it’s something more sinister.”
Even though I had been to the Breast Care Centre before on my own I knew that this time I needed company. Luckily my husband was able to take the afternoon off.
My appointment day arrived and I kept as busy as I could hoping and praying that by the evening I would have good news. As soon as got to Southmead I felt hopeful, as the queue was very small and so at least I knew that I would be seen fairly quickly.
Before I knew it a lovely lady doctor was examining me and within minutes she was reassuring me that once again I had cysts and that she would need to drain them. This is a rather painful experience, as they basically have to stick a needle into the cyst and remove the fluid. Some of them are quite tough and take a few attempts to pierce.
However, given the alternative diagnosis having this done is nothing and the relief I felt after wards was immense. I know that it probably won’t be the last time that I have cysts, as according to the ultrasound scan my breasts are full of them, and I know that if there is a next time I will be just as scared. I can only hope that I remain lucky.