Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Arnold was right, "It's not a tumor!"

Nearly seven months ago I found a lump in my left breast (gulp). At first I just shrugged it off while blaming it on my ever-changing size and density of my milking mounds. After several weeks and after talking with one of my lactation consultants I figured the lump was just a clogged milk duct. I tried to completely empty the breast, apply warm compress and massage it out and still- it was there. Finally in February, with no change, I decided I better see my Doc. After a round of labs and an ultrasound, and a few weeks of tortuous waiting my Doc told me it was an enlarged lymph node. Initially I was relieved, but after thinking about what the lymphatic system does I became more nervous. My Doc gave me a round of antibiotics, thinking that if the node was enlarged due to a virus the meds would get rid of it. No luck-- all the antibiotics did was give Bryce diarrhea. Doc also wanted to wait two months to see if there were any changes. Not feeling 100% comfortable with that, I went to my OB/GYN, Doc #2, since we've seen each other a lot in the last 20 months. He told me the node was enlarged from breastfeeding, since bacteria can be passed from mouth to breast.

I recently was treated for pneumonia, and while in for a check-up, with Doc #1, she asked about my lymph node. I told her it was indeed still there. She felt it again and thought it had actually gotten bigger.

SO, today I saw a surgeon, Doc #3. She was very nice, knowledgeable and to-the-point. I told her I was still nursing. And she asked how old Bryce was (he and Brett came to support me), and how long I planned to nurse. I replied, "11 months and indefinitely, but I realize that may need to change depending on what happens today." She quickly said, "Not necessarily at all. Let's just see." I liked that answer... that was what I had been wanting to hear from a Doc all along! (One doctor's office I called re: an appointment told me the physician wouldn't even touch me until I was finished nursing!) She checked both breasts and then we went in her office, where she showed me the ultrasound films and explained that it is a Benign lymph node. Doc #3 encouraged me to continue breastfeeding, and to plan to return for another ultrasound and exam in 6 months.

Finally... we know. One way or another. The past three months have been a roller coaster of emotions for me and Brett. I've been reluctant to say much to many people. Just didn't want to make a mountain out of a mole hill... at least not to anyone other than myself!

I just want to take a moment to remind people to follow your heart and your head when it comes to your health. No one knows your body like you do. You have to be your own advocate, because no one else will be. We live in an era where many physicians procedurize the heck out of every one and every thing, mainly due to malpractice and negligence. If you don't feel comfortable with a doctor or how your concerns were addressed or unaddressed, then seek a second opinion. Also keep in mind that there aren't always cut and dry answers. We still aren't 100% sure what has caused the enlarged lymph node.

Praise God it's not cancer! Praise God for creating WONDERFUL bodies-- for breasts that feed, hands that help, mouths that give thanks, and hearts that love!

Remember to do monthly breast exams. It's a simple thing, but one that many of us often "forget" to do. Get in tune with your body, so if things do change you're wise enough to investigate. I've decided that each month I am going to remind readers, all five of you :), to perform a breast exam. Starting now... go check those breasts!

4 comments:

Marketing Mama said...

Wow, I'm glad you are okay, thanks for sharing.

Melissa said...

I had a simular experience before I was pregnant though, it I a scary thought- glad that your news was the same as mine. God is amazing, glad to hear that your healthy:)

Stacey said...

Praising God with you! I'm so thankful you got good news back...finally. The waiting had to be the worst part. So glad you're ok!

Kimberley said...

Kate,
I am so glad you took charge of your health care I see so many women just do whatever the Doctor says and really do not explore all of their options. Kudos