Together we will beat cancer

Donate

Awaiting Results Nine Weeks Postpartum

11 Jul 2019 19:16

I have never posted on a forum like this before but am beside myself with worry. Nine weeks ago I gave birth to my beautiful daughter and approximately one week in I found a lump on my right breast, which I assumed to be a blocked duct. The midwife felt it and said much the same. I followed all advice to try and shift it but a week later it hadn’t gone so I went to the GP. She had a feel and said it was quite deep and I would have to massage hard at every feed, and that I should come back if it hadn’t gone after another week.

A week later, I went to the breastfeeding clinic at my hospital, due to that and problems with a very cracked/injured nipple on the same side. Both things had started to improve somewhat, in that the nipple seemed to be healing and both my husband and I felt that the lump/swelling had reduced. The lump had initially been very tender, perhaps from massaging it so much, but this was better too. I was told it would probably continue to improve but if it didn’t I may need to get some antibiotics from my GP.

Fastforward to my six week appointment and the lump had become more prominent again, although not painful. My GP referred me to the breast clinic and I had my appointment there this Tuesday. Upon initial examination I was told it was most likely a galactocele and to go downstairs for an ultrasound. I did this, and the radiographer initially said the breast tissue looked normal. However, when she then scanned my left breast for comparison she began to look more concerned. She went back to the right breast and said that my lymph nodes were reacting to something, possible a slow burning infection. She said that she would need to do biopsies on both the lump and the lymph nodes. I hadn’t really considered the idea of anything sinister and when I asked her if that’s how the scan had looked she told me in a very solemn tone that it looked “odd” and that she wouldn’t have done biopsies if she wasn’t concerned, given the risk of a milk fistula developing.

I was sent back upstairs to the doctor who performed the initial examination and we were joined my a specialist nurse, for support, which I found a bit weird. They said they weren’t sure what the lump was, that they weren’t calling it cancer at this stage and that I should “remain optimistic... but prepare for the worst”.

I came away feeling that they hadn’t done much to reassure me and I just had a sense that bad news was looming. I called the support nurse today and asked her, pretty much, to call a spade a spade. She told me that my scan hadn’t looked normal and that if I wasn’t breastfeeding they would be saying that they thought it was cancer. However, when the consultant looked over the scan he had commented that breastfeeding can sometimes muddy the waters and therefore they would need the biopsy results to confirm diagnosis.

 

Again, I didn’t feel at all reassured by her tone and was told that I should probably prepare for the worst and have someone with me at the appointment. I just can’t believe this is happening and every time I look at my daughter I feel so upset and tearful at the thought of not being around for her growing up. I have read online that pregnancy associated cancer tends to be more aggressive and has higher rates of fatality, which just terrifies me. I went through months of trying to conceive and a previous miscarriage in order to have my daughter and this all just feels so unfair. I’m not sure what I’m asking for from anyone here - perhaps some reassurance that false positives happen on ultrasounds (particularly when breastfeeding) or perhaps some positive stories of surviving postpartum breast cancer. It all just feels so hopeless right now.

Awaiting Results Nine Weeks Postpartum

13 Jul 2019 14:47 in response to lulermel

Hello @lulermel ‍ 

Welcome to the forum although I'm really sorry that you find yourself feeling the need to post here, particularly at a time that should be full of joy and celebration. From your post it sounds like you have been through a real emotional rollercoaster and so it's unsurprising that you're feeling overwhelmed by everything at the moment. 

I'm sure you know that it's not uncommon for woman to have lumps and bumps and when you're breastfeeding even more so. Blocked milk ducts, infections, changes in demand and milk flow can cause changes. It's really positive that you picked up on the lump that you found and that you sought advice about it quickly. It sounds as if everyone has acted promptly to try and establish what the cause of this lump is. 

It's fairly standard practice in breast clinic for a specialist nurse to be included in consultations, and I wonder if with you not long having had your baby, if the Consultant felt they wanted to have that little extra support available for you if needed. 

Have you been given a date for a follow up appointment or been told when the biopsy results will be available? This period of waiting is extremely difficult and with the arrival of your daughter it's natural that you would be feeling more worried about things. Try to keep in mind that the majority of people who attend breast clinic aren't diagnosed with cancer. 

We've got some fabulous ladies here on the forum who have been through a similar period of waiting for news. I'm going to tag in @Chriss ‍, @Jolamine ‍, @Marlyn ‍  and @Magpiemaggie ‍ who are all a bit fabulous Happy as I'm sure that once they've seen your post they'll pop along and offer some words of support and advice. 

Try and keep busy Lulermel (not that it's anything else with a baby!) but it will help to keep your anxiety undercontrol. Use the forum to come and chat, to off load or to ask questions and we'll do our best to support you. 

Best wishes, 
Jenn
Cancer Chat moderator

 

Awaiting Results Nine Weeks Postpartum

13 Jul 2019 16:36 in response to lulermel

Oh love , I hadn't seen you post until the moderator tagged me...

Firstly I can reassure you that the biopsy will be fine, I had a core biopsy and literally didn't feel a thing, so don't be getting worried about that..

well...I see you've already consulted dr google ( I'm totally guilty of this) and as you've learned..he is pretty brutal, he had me planning my own funeral! If you can, try and stay away from him....

I think your medical team are looking after you really well, they are covering all basis, although my breast clinic was fantastic I do wish they hadn't given me false hope, all the way along ( until my lump was analysed) they told me they were certain I had a fibroadenoma, so there I was....happily trotting along in life thinking...ha! I got this! Then I was called in and everything changed.....so, from my point of view I really do believe it's better to be prepared ( well, as prepared as you can be) !

all being well ....it will be innocent, but if it's not....you will be put straight on a treatment plan...and what a relief when your on the road to getting it sorted!

so....in the meantime....take deep breaths.....it isn't anything until it is something.....slow down.....and look at what is happening right now in front of you.....

 

let us know how you get on...and enjoy your beautiful baby....xxx

Awaiting Results Nine Weeks Postpartum

13 Jul 2019 17:24 in response to lulermel

Hi Lulermel

So sorry you’re going through this and I hope it turns out to be nothing. My situation is different but similar in that I have an 8 month old baby and have been diagnosed with tongue cancer. I had to go through a major surgery and am about to start radiotherapy. At first I was terrified about the cancer itself as that word is so scary, but actually for so many people it’s a treatable disease. I’m now more worried about the treatment itself and the side effects as I know from a survival perspective the odds are stacked well in my favour. One thing I do feel so angry about is that this is clouding my first year with my son, which should be such a happy time. 

Fingers crossed for you that this is a false alarm! Let us know.

Selina 

Awaiting Results Nine Weeks Postpartum

13 Jul 2019 18:35 in response to lulermel

Hi there ..

Oh my , I know your really scared right now ... but deep breaths ... firstly 8.5 out of 10 lumps are benign.. my first 4 call backs from mamorgrams were all clear... and one felt like a flat pebble ... 

Remember to ... your hormones will be all over the place .. having a young baby makes everything seem more dia ... I remember being really emotional after my two were born .. 

Your in a good place were they are checking everything .. you'd be more worried if they were doing nothing much ... but they are leaving no stone unturned ... now having someone with you on this appointment ... we are all advised to take someone with us .. that's normal ... same as having extra nursing staff in with you .. because they are there more to reashore you .. the same as a Dr will get another female assistant in when examining you ..

Don't go by tone .. they know no more then you do .. they are probly worried for you as you have a young baby ... and if it was an infection that could be why the lymph nodes were affected as they take away infection .. and will swell to do it ... so everything has other explanations too ...

Now if it ... ..    ......is cancer .. don't think that's the end .. we all hear sad stories of cancer but the good results arnt often talked about ... that's why we fear the worse ... 

When my grade 3 lump was confirmed .. I did all the "what ifs" all the panic ... and even arranged my funeral and good bye letters .. because all I'd heard was the sad ones ... but here I am 2 years today and still going strong ... there's lots of us breast lasses on here .. @Jolomine helped me through those early days .

Awaiting Results Nine Weeks Postpartum

13 Jul 2019 18:39 in response to lulermel

Sorry my comp is playing up so had to stop my answer ...

So there's so many on here ... and we've all joined at different times and stayed to chat to those like you that are waiting and scared ... so hold on in there ... I've got everything crossed you'll be o.k ... keep in touch ... you'll always get support here .. 

Sending you a vertual hug... Chrissie xx

Awaiting Results Nine Weeks Postpartum

14 Jul 2019 01:08 in response to lulermel

 

Hi Lulermel,

Welcome to our forum. I am so sorry to hear about your breast concerns. I can understand the reason behind the "wait and see" approach in your case. There are so many changes in your breasts after giving birth that the majority of ladies are fine. Here's hoping that this will be the case with you too.

If it's of any consolation to you, my conultant always has his breast care nurse in the room for all of my appointments. If you do turn out to have cancer, you will find that the breast care nurse is an important part of your team and is there for you whenever you need to talk. I have had 2 bouts of breast cancer in the past 10 years and have found mine to be invaluable.

They don't try to sugar coat anything at breast clinic appointments. In fact they are more likely to err on the side of caution. Telling you to “remain optimistic... but prepare for the worst”.is good advice. It is better than telling you that there is nothing amiss and then getting the shock of your life when you return for results to be told that you have cancer.

Congratulations on the birth of your baby daughter. You are naturally concerned for her growing up without her mum, but this doesn't have to be the case. Another thing to bear in mind is that not all breast cancers signify doom and gloom. A lot depends on the type of breast cancer and the grade of the disease. My mum died of secondary breast cancer 21 years ago. Diagnosis, treatment and after care have all improved considerably since this time. There is just no comparison between the care I have received and that which my mum experienced.

Have you been given an appointment to return for your results yet or are you waiting to be contacted? It normally takes 1-2 weeks to get your results and, it is always a good idea to take someone with you to these appointments. You will find this one of the most stressful weeks of your life, but please remember that we are always here for you.

Fingers crossed for good news when it comes back.

Please keep us updated.

Kind regards,

Jolamine xx

 

Awaiting Results Nine Weeks Postpartum

14 Jul 2019 13:41 in response to Jolamine

@Marlyn @SW80 @Chriss @Jolamine Thank you so much for your replies and kind words. They made me tear up again... but in a nice way this time (and yep, hormones!) 

My results appointment is this Wednesday at 3pm and the level of anxiety I am currently experiencing is through the roof. You’re so right to say that Dr Google is unhelpful, and after a day of searching I too was planning my funeral, writing my eulogy, putting together a JustGiving page to put my daughter through University etc etc. I think part of the problem of being told to prepare for the worst is that “the worst” isn’t necessarily a cancer diagnosis, but rather being told that the prognosis is poor and/or that there’s nothing they can do. Hopefully this isn’t actually “the worst” I may be dealing with on Wednesday. My lump is very large - about the size of a big walnut or small lime I would say, so I do worry about that.

On the flipside, I also have moments of feeling stronger and am trying to find comfort in the stats around how uncommon BC is in young breastfeeding women. I also HAVE to be strong for my daughter, and had to give myself a good talking to when I found myself crying through a round of “The Wheels On The Bus” the other day. It has been a rather trying time, as during my pregnancy I was very unwell with hyperemesis and then two weeks after giving birth my beloved grandma passed away. Even the morning of my breast screen I was at the dentist’s having root canal surgery so I’m about ready to be given a blimmin break! 

If I am faced with bad news on Weds it really does help enormously to know that there is a supportive community here, so - once again - thank you so much for taking the time to reply.

Awaiting Results Nine Weeks Postpartum

14 Jul 2019 13:59 in response to lulermel

This forum was my God send...and still is, there is nothing quite like chatting through your worries with people who totally get it....let us know how you get on on wed? Xxx

Awaiting Results Nine Weeks Postpartum

14 Jul 2019 14:07 in response to Marlyn

Absolutely, it’s unbelievably helpful to have your feelings heard and validated. I promise to come back on Weds with the outcome, whatever it may be. I have found it really helpful this week when other people have done that following their results xx

Awaiting Results Nine Weeks Postpartum

14 Jul 2019 16:33 in response to lulermel

 

Hi Lulermel,

I'm glad that you haven't got too long to wait now. Most of us find this wait the most stressful, as there are so many unknowns.

I am hoping and praying for a good result for you on Wednesday,

Kind regards,

Jolamine xx

Awaiting Results Nine Weeks Postpartum

14 Jul 2019 22:08 in response to lulermel

Hi 

I do don’t have much to add as I think Jenny has said it all, yes there has been a spate of young new mothers receiving BC diagnosis but it is still very rare. I had lymph nodes that were “reacting to something” and had three removed - the only thing they were reacting to was an infection. So don’t read too much into this.

I would also take comfort in the fact that the lump had reduced, I’m afraid the professionals have to do their job and make sure 100% what it is and they do have to prepare you - it’s standard practise - doesn’t mean they think you have cancer and I would take whatever the breast nurse says with a pinch of salt - the ones I’ve dealt with are drama queens. Hence why I give them a wide body swerve Happy

All you know at the moment is that there is something unusual in your breast and that they are trying to get to the bottom of it - thankfully, otherwise you would continue to fret about what this may be. Hopefully everything will be fine and you can get on with raising that baby of yours.

please keep us updated on what they find, I’ve lots of ladies on my ‘replies’ that have been in your position and it turned out to be lots of worry over nothing x

 

Awaiting Results Nine Weeks Postpartum

15 Jul 2019 07:36 in response to Magpiemaggie

Hi there,

Thank you so much for your response and, despite feeling that you didn’t have much to add, I actually found your reply really helpful. I am hoping beyond all hope that this is an infection of sorts, but have questioned if this is possible given that I don’t have the usual mastitis symptoms of flu/fever, redness or pain. Yesterday my throat started to hurt and I actually found myself willing it to turn into a full blown flu and was taking my temperature hoping it would be sky high Laugh Sadly, no such “luck” and I can only assume that the sore throat is down to all the stress of the past week. When you had your infection did you have many other noticeable symptoms?

I agree that it is weird that the lump seemed to go down temporarily, and this coincided with me having a short course of antibiotics for an unrelated UTI. The other thing I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet, and sorry if this is TMI, is that when I first had my daughter I had awful problems with latch, which led to a VERY sore nipple on the same side as the lump. At one point it literally had a huge wedge missing and then it started to look like someone had taken a pair of scissors and chopped the end of my nipple off Plain I did show the doctor who referred me to the breast clinic and she didn’t think it looked infected, but as it has only just started to heal in the last couple of weeks I am desperately hoping that it all may be connected somehow. I did mention this idea to the radiographer but she didn’t seem convinced.

I will definitely report back on Weds but thank you again for your support in the meantime xx

Awaiting Results Nine Weeks Postpartum

15 Jul 2019 11:44 in response to lulermel

Hi lulermel

Happy to help, I had no symptoms, although I was being treated for a sinus/upper respiratory infection at the time. I wouldn’t worry too much about the nipple, anyone whose breast fed has had similar problems.    Fingers crossed for you for Wednesday x

 

Awaiting Results Nine Weeks Postpartum

17 Jul 2019 17:35 in response to Magpiemaggie

Had my results appointment today and I can’t believe i’m typing this, but I was good news! Well, it was good-ish anyway, in that no cancer cells were found in any of the biopsies. However, the results were inconclusive in that they don’t really know what has caused the lump. They’re going to repeat the biopsy just to make doubly sure that all’s okay there, and they’ve taken bloods and will do a CT scan to check my lymph nodes throughout my body. They did a physical body exam today though and couldn’t feel any inflammation. I’m also having a mammogram which i think it to look at my ducts. They were much, MUCH more positive about things today and it looks like it’s probably all breastfeeding related but they said they want to leave “no stone unturned”. I know it’s not totally over yet but the relief is immeasurable. Thank you all so much for your responses, which truly helped an enormous amount when I was in a very low and anxious place x