What Do You Do When You Find a Weird Lump in Your Breast?

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The Appointment

At the appointment you'll be so grateful your friend is there to hold your hand while a technician uses the ultrasound wand thing to aggressively smash the lump down and hold it in place while she jams a needle in and out of the lump, which is now, months after you discovered it, the size of a Ping-Pong ball. This goes on for about three minutes. You'll watch the needle going in and out, in and out, on the black-and-white ultrasound screen. You'll feel the tugging, get nauseous, and silently cry. The tech will say, "Well, it's not a cyst, or liquid would've come out." She'll tell you to come back in a week for the results. Going online will provide enough scary breast cancer-related articles to keep you fully freaked-out 100 percent of the time during this wait.

Again, the test will be inconclusive! It is a tumor, not necessarily not cancer. Since the tumor has been growing it's possible that some other corner of it is cancerous and they can only test every part of it by taking it out entirely and examining the whole thing. You'll get a sheet of paper to take to another part of the hospital to make your surgery appointment. This part of the hospital will have the word "Oncology" written on every door and wall and window and will feature a glass display case containing two mannequin heads modeling beautiful wigs, a few bras that look like Ace bandages, and a variety of prosthetic boobs. You'll call your mom and she'll promise to come stay with you until you're better.

You cannot eat or drink anything starting the night before the operation, not even water. You love water so much! Like you're pretty much constantly drinking water ever since you quit smoking, unless you're drinking wine, but even then you usually also have a water going. Your coworker who sits nearest the water cooler once told you that he's pretty sure you drink more water than everyone in the office combined. This "no water" rule will be psychological torture.

Continued on page 3:  Surgery Day


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