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

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Surgery Day

So you'll go to the hospital first thing in the morning and they'll put you in a gown and slippers and have you wait two hours in the waiting room. You'll start to cry from anxiety and thirst. Your mom will laugh at you and call you something adorable. Finally they'll summon you into an office and ask you, "What's your name? Where's the lump?" to be sure they don't mix you up with another patient. You'll meet your nurse, your anesthesiologist, and your surgeon, who'll want to know if you'd like it removed the easy way by cutting right over the lump, which will leave a good-sized scar on the side of your boob. You have side titties and you are proud of them, so you don't love this option. They'll tell you they can cut around your areola, which will leave a much less noticeable scar, but once they get in there they may find that they need to cut into the side anyway so you could end up with two scars if they go that route. Up to you! You decide to chance it.

You'll kiss your mom bye and walk yourself down a long hallway into an operating room. You will not be expecting this to be such a serious-looking operating room. There'll be a huge metal table, giant spotlights, and about eight people buzzing around in scrubs and gloves. You'll lie on the table and the dude will put a needle in your arm. Your surgeon will ask you what music you want on, you'll say rap, and he'll say they only have Eminem. You'll pass out. That afternoon your mom will tell you that while they were waiting for you to come to, the doctor briefed her on the surgery and said, "We really had to dig, but we got it. I think."

Whoa, That Hurts!

You'll spend the next two nights sleeping upright on a couch because every time you lie on your side or back, your boob -- although completely bandaged -- will flop a little and a shooting, searing pain that feels like the whole thing will split apart jolts you back upright. You'll take Vicodin for the pain, forgetting every time that it makes your stomach hurt and disrupts your sleep and generally makes everything but your boob feel awful. You'll spend a week trying to avoid getting the bloody bandage wet in the shower. They'll take the bandage off and say that your scar is "looking good!" even though it's totally not looking good; it's looking like a bloody, twisty half circle. And occasionally really pokey stitches will come out of the side of your nipple. The doctor will tell you this is normal. He'll also tell you the lump was a benign tumor called a fibroadenoma and nothing to worry about, except you'll probably get one again, so come back for checkups every six months or so. You love your boobs, but hey, if they had to chop the whole thing off to find out you're not going to die of cancer, you're totally fine with that.

It'll take a few months for the soreness to ease up only for it to be replaced by an oddly familiar robin's egg mass rolling around under your left nipple. It'll turn out to be scar tissue this time. Next time, who knows?

Jane Marie is happily lump-free but still spends idle time double-checking to make sure. This article was adapted from her piece 'What It's Like to Get a Biopsy' on thehairpin.com.

Continued on page 4:  If You Find a Lump...

 

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