Thursday, August 21, 2008


Lump. It’s sounds like a silly word, doesn’t it? You could say the word “lump” in front of a 4-year-old, who would waste no time repeating it, to test the effect of uttering the weird, new word, and only about three utterances would lead to it sounding completely nonsensical in your own ears. It just doesn’t add up to its meaning.

Now nodule sounds so much more compelling. It’s almost science-fiction-esque and requires much more effort to enunciate correctly, with your lips moving all over when you say it. It has a certain panache about it, above a layman’s term, but not so highbrow that you don’t use it when necessary. It befits its meaning.

Which is to say that having a nodule in my left breast is a little science-fiction-esque and requires effort to say aloud, but I can say it because it carries the appropriate weight.

We (my doctor and I) have comfortably accepted that it is likely a swollen lymph node or a cyst, but the diagnostic mammogram in two weeks will tell us more. There’s no history of breast cancer in my family and I’m much younger than any doctor would even start to test. This is compiled on top of the fact that it’s actually located about six inches down from the center of my armpit, technically on the side of my breast, and not only is it extremely painful to the touch, but it’s shaped like a soft grape. Each menstrual cycle sees a small increase in size and discomfort, which means it’s being effected by hormone levels. Yeah, well, what isn’t?

I’m not afraid of the nodule, but I am afraid of what they’re going to do with it.

First they’re going to stretch my tit across a plexiglass surface, compress it in a vice grip, and take fucked-up black and white pictures of it. If that doesn’t sound like some warped fetish shit, I don’t know what does. I have D-cups, and during certain days of the month, my D-cups runneth over. I have a feeling that this exercise in body contortion is not going to be pretty for me. My girls are not accustomed to this kind of abuse, and I fear for their recoverability.

According to the radiology center’s website, depending on what they see at the time of the mammogram, they could actually do a biopsy or aspiration right there, at the same time, if they felt it was prudent.


Grab a big, fat needle, shove it into this extremely tender growth in my boob, and suck stuff out. I’m thinking I’m going to take some of my Vicodin-ES pills leftover from my dental work while I’m in the waiting room.

Then what? What’s really scaring me here?

What I can’t seem to stop thinking about is if this has to be surgically removed, then I’ll have this painful stitching at the backside of my boob, where the side of my bra wraps around my ribs. What if they tell me I can’t wear a bra for a while? What if I am not allowed to use deodorant until it heals completely? What if I have to stop shaving my pits temporarily?

DEAR FLYING SPAGHETTI MONSTER, I will be just like one of my stinky, braless, hairy patrons!

*runs screaming around in circles*

At least I’ll fit in then.

Nodules: the great equilizers.


Amanda (the librarian) said...

I'm so sorry to hear this, HV. You have had WAY more than your fair share of health concerns over the past couple years.

Haven't had a mammo before? I've had plenty (I'm 51 now) and I also have D cups. It's really not so bad, although if the nodule is tender, that might hurt a bit.

If you do end up having it removed and need stiches, hopefully you can at least wear a sports bra. I agree, some support is better than none.

Here's hoping all turns out well for you! Keep us posted!

annie said...

All the best my friend. All Tassie fingers crossed for you.

Leelu said...

If you can't wear deodorant, just think of it as a public service. It's an early warning system for people about to screw with a cranky, braless, healing woman who just may be holding scissors at any given time.

GeekChic said...

Well this just sucks! The great spaghetti monster needs to lay off you and yours.

I hope that all goes well. Having had biopsies (though not on my breasts)... I can say that they aren't the worst thing in the world. Not a ringing endorsement - but it's all I got.

Good luck to you.

Rachel said...

Wow, that sucks, no matter what it is. At least they do make some pretty nice shirts with built in support you could wear without a bra. I have D size as well and the built in support still works without any nasty seams.
I hope they don't have to do surgery and that it goes away soon.
Take care!

Anonymous said...

My first mammogram was so memorable: There I was, stripped to the waist, waiting to be tested, and the technician looks at me and sniffs "My, those certainly are SMALL."

Everybody's a critic.

Happy Villain said...

Thanks, everyone, for your comments and support. Here's my theory: we're bitches. Seriously. Female dogs live longer, healthier lives if they have a litter of puppies. I have had no such experiences and my reproductive organs are committing mutiny upon my body. I should've just had puppies when I was young and stupid and maybe I wouldn't be in this boat. Of course, if I could actually have puppies instead of babies, I'd probably have a ton of them. So maybe if my body, which they say is designed for reproduction, isn't used in that way, the craziness begins. Lovely. Maybe next year my vagina will fall out. Or my nipples will grow to eight times their size, and start talking to me. Or worse!

Gardenbuzzy said...

I feel for you with your nodule issues, HV. I have had a lump removed (right in the doctors office, he just scooped it out) and many, many mammograms (I'm 53)and while it's most unpleasant, at least you know you're being preventive about things. I also used to be a D cup, until I had breast reduction surgery, a decision I have never regretted. Hopefully your tests will come back negative. And sports bras are good for when you are healing from breast issues.

Julie said...

There are also special post-surgical bras available from some specialty undergarment stores.

I had a lump removed when I was a teenager, and the operation and recovery weren't bad at all. Honestly I was happier just knowing it was out, even though it was just a benign cyst. The pain is small and goes away quickly, and at least your scar will be mostly out-of-sight.

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