Dealing With a Breast Lump as Lupus Patient
Last updated: June 2022
With lupus, you become more aware of your health. You get to know your body and know what is "normal." One day, I was doing a self-check breast and noticed my left breast felt different. There was something hard. I thought it was just in my head and decided it was just nothing. But, I checked the next day and it was still there. I decided to book an appointment with my OB just so she can take a look and see what was actually going on.
My breast lump appointment
I had to wait 2 weeks for an appointment. Every day I kept praying it would just go away. But, unfortunately, it was still there. I was feeling more and more anxious. Thinking about all of these what-if scenarios in my head. I also felt mad and annoyed. Like, I already had lupus. Why did I have to go through this too? What kind of genetic defect lottery did I win?
My appointment lasted only 5 minutes and she confirmed there was a lump and I would need to get a breast ultrasound. I had to wait 3 weeks for an appointment for the ultrasound. It still really baffles me how long it takes to get something scheduled. So of course within those 3 weeks, I tried not to think about it. I planned various activities and even planned a trip to Disney World back to back. I just needed an escape.
Tests and monitoring
My breast ultrasound also lasted 5 minutes. The technologists performed the scan and within minutes the radiologists came into the room and recommended I get a breast biopsy. They couldn’t tell from the scan what it was. So, they scheduled a breast biopsy. Another 2 weeks wait. I’ve only had a kidney biopsy because of my lupus so I did my research on what to expect.
On the day of, I remember being so nervous. I hardly slept the night before. I was lucky to be surrounded by a team who was compassionate and explained in every detail what the breast biopsy would entail. They were surprised by how young I was and I told them how I got used to that comment. Literally every appointment I go to, I’m usually the youngest.
The breast biopsy surprisingly was quick. In less than 30 minutes I was in and out. I was told the results would be ready in 3 to 5 days. I was watching my phone like a hawk. Every notification I kept hoping it would be my results. In the interim, the recovery time was intense. My left breast was so swollen and bruised. No stitches were needed but they placed steristrips over the biopsy sites. I slept with a bra and wore it 24 hrs/day for 2 weeks. I needed to take Tylenol and iced it for the pain and swelling. The recovery period for this was def way more brutal than my kidney biopsy.
Results of my breast lump biopsy
Finally, after 3 days, I got the results. It was benign! It was a fibroadenoma. I had never heard of it. But, apparently, it’s a solid noncancerous breast lump and is common amongst young women. I was ecstatic and relieved when I read the news. I still have to meet with a breast surgeon to create a follow-up plan. Would I need to get it removed? Do I just wait and see? What about my right breast? How often do I have to come back for follow-ups? All these questions were going through my mind. But, of course, I needed to wait. This time I needed to wait a month for an open appointment. Until then, knowing that it was benign was one less thing I had to worry about.
Hope to keep you all updated!
Have there been things you have learned along your lupus journey that you wish had been explained to you by a healthcare provider earlier?