In late July I had my annual womanly appointment. Everything went quite well. In late August we completed our near train wreck of a retrieval cycle.
A few weeks later I found a lump - a lump in my breast.
Of course, I started scouring the Internet trying to learn about the connection between fertility medication and breast cancer. I was freaked out, but was trying to maintain my cool.
I emailed my OB/GYN and she agreed to see me right away. She confirmed the lump and sent me for a mammogram and ultrasound. When I got to radiology to schedule the appointments, they scheduled the ultrasound but denied me the mammogram because their radiology department makes it a policy not to do them on women under 35 - due to breast tissue density.
Anybody see the recent Oprah where Christina Applegate discussed her breast cancer and double mastectomy? Yeah, this was all coming down for me right about then.
I had had a fertility cycle where they super ovulated me and they only got 1 lousy egg ... and now because of the need for these treatments - I might have cancer? It was a rough patch, but these days I'm used to a little drama.
I finally got to do the ultrasound and as I'm putting my clothes back on the tech barged in and handed me a green slip with the word "normal" on it ... she said, "see you again when you're 40," and that was it.
Luckily, I have a friend who is a general surgeon (I know, sounds like I hob nob, doesn't it? I don't.) He suggested that when you find a lump you should have three forms of confirmation that things are ok, and that it wasn't alright that the radiology department did not follow through on doctor's orders for the mammogram. He said that if I was still concerned, it would be best to request a referral to a breast surgeon and so I did.
This morning I had the consultation with the breast surgeon and she was so comforting and caring, she was very interested in our entire history and I'll tell you it was quite reassuring that on the questionnaire they make you fill out for a lump consult ... that it doesn't ask you about your fertility medication usage (which would imply that they believe it's a risk factor - a topic for a whole other post!) though it did ask about miscarriages and age of menarche and a whole slew of reproductive questions that kind of surprised me (but I guess not, when you consider that infertiles, or women that choose not to have babies, have a higher risk of reproductive cancers).
Ok, anyhow ... she did another exam, she affirmed what I had found. She reviewed the ultrasound with me and explained why it looked "normal". She affirmed that I took the right steps to being cautious, and she scheduled a follow up in 6-8w just to ease my comfort. She says she sees many women each week who are in the middle of fertility cycles who come in with complaints of breast lumps - she said the meds can temporarily cause them. I was reassured and yet I wasn't. She said that the lump is in a critical breast feeding location and *when* I get to breastfeed, I will need that section of my breast; doing a lumpectomy on that area would remove an entire quadrant of my breast!! She indicated that it should go away on it's own as my breasts change through pregnancy and life.
Before she left she let me know that it would be ok to have the 6-8w follow up if I was pregnant, and she told me how encouraged she is that this will be successful for us - the pregnancy I mean. She really didn't see how it couldn't work if we were testing eggs and since I get pregnant so easily ... little does she know that we've also got the greater part of the Bay Area praying for us!
I left this morning's appointment with a sigh of relief and now I'll make peace with my lump ... until it goes away.
Done, and Yet, Not Done
6 months ago