Back in “the day”, being a well endowed woman, I would happily stick out my chest with pride, optimizing what (I thought) were my best assets.
If you got it, flaunt it, right?
As the resilient working machines, they served the twinlets and I well when it came to breastfeeding. Tandem breastfeeding even became a little party trick. Well, kinda. Almost. Not really.
Late last week, I thought I’d just see what my puppies were looking like. You know, get reacquainted with them because it had felt as though it’d been a while with a twin pregnancy and heavy duty breast feeding in between.
Raising my arms up in the air in front of the mirror, I noticed that my breasts weren’t the same. They were actually quite different from each other. But they seemed to also appear differently than the past.
Then, in the shower, I felt something in my left beast; nothing big or obviously severe but definitely a lump of sorts.
I made an appointment with my GP for that morning and she could feel something too. While she could feel it was slightly mobile and didn’t think it was anything to be too concerned about (“Cancer feels very different. It sticks, it’s stubborn and hard…”), she’s the kind of GP that when it comes to any kind of breast abnormality, she will write up a referral letter without hesitation or doubt.
Straight after my GP appointment on the Friday morning, I called the Sydney Breast Clinic and booked in for a check up for first thing, 8am on the following Monday.
We’re damn lucky we live in a country with fantastic medical specialist facilities. The clinic ran like clockwork and most of all, the staff make you feel comfortable and relaxed, despite the unknown, somber circumstances.
During my extensive check up, I discovered the following:
- Women in their 40’s are prone to getting a higher density of breast tissue, meaning it will be harder to detect cancerous cells. In this case, my Breast Physician suggested that every 12 months, I book in for a mammogram.
- Mammograms are unfortunately still uncomfortable and slighty painful (All that squishing and squeezing! Yeouch!). The good news they are now available in 3D, called a tomogram. Obviously the images are far more accurate and can be examined by the radiologist with one layer at a time without hidden tissue been overlooked.
- Tomograms are provided as an option and while a lot more expensive, at the Sydney Breast Clinic, 85% can be claimed back through Medicare with a referral.
- We’re all aware that our breasts constantly change – the shape, size and even our nipples. To keep abreast (Pun completely intended) on anything out of the ordinary, check them out on a monthly basis. Right after you’ve finished your period, get into the habit of doing breast self-examinations. And while a breast check isn’t going to be as life saving as a mammogram, it’s a start in becoming proactive with something that’s vitally important for your health but also for the well-being of your family. What would they do without you?
- An initial consultation with a Breast Specialist, a mammogram, another consultation with a Breast Physician, then an ultrasound and finally back to the Breast Physician again to get the final all clear, I was in and out of the clinic in 2 and a half hours.
Not every lump or bump means that it’s cancer. My Breast Physician told me that 90% of lumps found are benign. Having said that, as our own personalities develop with age, so do our “other personalities” The most important thing is getting to know them well. Really well.
Joining Essentially Jess for another fabbo round of IBOT