I GOT UP that morning and began my day as usual. I brushed my teeth, showered, and began drying myself off when I felt it. It was a lump. It was small—maybe the size of a nickel—it was kind of hard, felt weird to touch, and it was in my breast.
Panic seized me. I immediately called my mom, who didn’t answer, and so I did the worst thing possible: I Googled it. Within half an hour I was still undressed, crying on the floor, and imagining all sorts of terrible things. When my mom called back, she gave me the best advice she could: Calm down and call your doctor.
I scheduled an appointment and after the examination, my doctor said she wasn’t sure what the lump was and wanted to schedule an ultrasound to be safe.
Two weeks later, I showed up at the hospital for the appointment, terrified and alone. The hospital was confusing to navigate, but I eventually made it to the breast exam clinic.
I was given a hospital gown to change into, shown to a dressing room, and told not to leave valuables behind. I then had to wait for my turn while sitting amongst a group of elderly women.
By the time my name was called, I was scared beyond belief and freezing dressed in the thin hospital gown. The ultrasound itself wasn’t that bad—the gel was cold, the nurse was kind, and the doctor was to the point and informative, albeit a bit gruff.
The doctor told me right away what the lump was: A fibroadenoma—a benign lump that usually occurs in women under the age of 40. As long as fibroadenomae are checked regularly by a physician, they often don’t need to be removed.
Benign. Non-cancerous. Needless to say, I was relieved.
Although it was one of the scariest experiences of my life, finding a lump in my breast also taught me a lot. If you discover a lump or odd-shaped mole anywhere on your body, don’t panic. Finding something out of place is not necessarily the end of the world, and although you should be sure to get it checked out as soon as possible, no good comes of freaking out before you know what the problem is.
Knowing what’s normal in regards to your body will help you catch any changes or growths, which in turn will allow you to get checked out quickly.
More than anything, the experience taught me sometimes things happen that are beyond our control. The only thing we can do is take a breather, call a doctor, and pray that everything’s all right.