This Service Is Lumpy At Best

, , | Healthy | December 22, 2017

(Over the last two years I’ve had two breast lumps, which were both biopsied, and have been suffering pain, from what I suspect is a third, over the last 5 months. The pain used to only bother me when I tried to wear a bra with an underwire, but over the last 2 months it has gotten to the point where it just hurts all the time. My primary care physician does indeed find a lump in the area and has ordered a diagnostic ultrasound of the area, which thankfully I get scheduled within the week.)

Sonographer: *going though the normal medical questions* “Do you smoke?”

Me: “No.”

Sonographer: “Have you ever been pregnant?”

Me: “No.”

Sonographer: “Have you had previous breast surgeries or biopsies?”

Me: “Yes, both on the left. One was in May of 2015 and was excisional, and one just eight months ago and was a fine needle aspiration.”

Sonographer: “Have you ever been pregnant?”

Me: *doubting her listening skills* “…I believe you just asked me that. No, I have never been pregnant.”

Sonographer: “Is there a lump?”

Me: “Yes. [Doctor] found it based on the location of my pain over the last several months.”

Sonographer: “And when was your appointment with her?”

Me: “Last week on the 25th.”

(The sonographer quietly finishes her paperwork and does the ultrasound. After completing the imaging she steps out of the room to speak to the radiologist, which takes approximately 20 minutes. I spend the entire time hoping that this time is merely a cyst and I can have it drained to relieve my pain and be done with it. Finally the sonographer comes back into the room, sans radiologist.)

Sonographer: “So, it’s indicated to be benign. We’re going to schedule a follow up for you in six months.”

Me: *I’m slightly taken aback by both the abruptness and that they apparently expect me to suffer increasing pain for another six months* “Wait, what? Even though I’m in pain and haven’t been able to wear a real bra in several months?”

Sonographer: “We’ll give you a pamphlet on pain management. Do you want to set your appointment up now?”

(By this point I’m both ticked off and nearing tears, as I feel I’m just being dismissed because I’m young, and am not being given any information.)

Me: “Can you at least tell me anything about the spot? What are the dimensions? Is it a cyst like [Doctor] said it might be? Or is it solid? What do the edges look like?”

Sonographer: *looks like I’ve just deeply offended her by asking questions about my own health* “It’s like what you had last time. But it’s teeny tiny. You just have very dense tissue around it so it feels bigger. So do you want to set up your appointment now?”

(After several rounds of asking her the same questions and her not providing the answers in exact terms but pushing for the follow-up appointment, she finally told me that the lump was about 8mm, which wasn’t as large as one of the previous ones, but was not “teeny tiny,” and at least had edges that are the indicator for it being benign. She pushed the pain management pamphlet on me, got my follow-up set up, and practically shoved me out the door. I relayed all my concerns about how little was addressed to my primary doctor, and she at least reviewed my results and gave a referral to a surgeon for me to move forward. The most annoying part? The sonographer apparently put down that I’d only been presenting the issue for a week, which was when I received confirmation of a lump, not that it’d been going on for several months as I’d told her. Listening is an active skill, everyone!)

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