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Author Topic: A little worried.
NoName
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Hi. This is sort of another irrational pregnancy scare that I have a question about. I have actually done really well this month with the anxiety and I haven't started worrying until today when I noticed that I am having some breast soreness on my right breast. This doesn't usually alarm me because I have breast soreness up to a week before my period every single time. However, I find this worrisome because I literally just finished ovulating, I think. I have kept track of my cycles since January and they are pretty consistent 27-30 day cycles and I usually have fertile mucus during approx. 12-15 days into my cycle, with my period being about 14 days after, like clockwork. I really do not understand this soreness. I know that progesterone in general causes your tissues to swell, and that causes the breast tenderness and I know that some women actually have breast soreness during ovulation. But me, never.

My sexual activity is still the same, only manual and oral and with the same partner. If anything, my pregnancy anxiety has us being more cautious than ever. Now, at least one person keeps clothes on and I make him wash his hands practically every 5 times before and during when does anything to me. Surely there this unexplained breast tenderness couldn't be a pregnancy sign this early could it? Pregnancy worry aside, I am concerned about this. I planned on saving money to go to the gynecologist for a check up since I haven't had a pap since 2009, but I am having some severe issues with my back and all my money has had to go for treatment for that. I thoroughly examined my breast and couldn't feel any abnormalities and the soreness is just in one spot near the side (which if it was regular pms soreness, I have it all over the breast, especially the nipples). I tried to think of something I could have done to actually hurt myself there, and I can't think of anything. Do you have an idea of why this is happening? Is is possible for someone who has had their cycle for 12 years to all of a sudden start having breast soreness so early before menstruation? Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.

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Stephanie_1
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Brest tenderness can happen for any number of reasons, not all of them have to do with hormones - it could just as easily be about having bumped something or having a spot where your bra rubbed wrong. There is no reason to worry about pregnancy here.

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"Sometimes the majority only means that all the fools are on the same side" ~Anon

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NoName
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Okay, now I am very worried. I am 90 percent positive that I feel a decent sized lump where it hurts and it hurts really bad when you push on it. Again, this is not my regular cycle pain, it is in one isolated spot. I am geared up to have it checked out this Thursday. I have never been so scared in my life and I feel so alone right now.
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Karybu
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The best thing you can do is make a doctor's appointment to get checked out, which you've done, so good on you. There are a lot of possible causes for breast pain, many of them are not serious at all and very treatable. I know it can be hard waiting for an appointment, but do you have anyone you can talk to in person about this for some support?

Too, what do you do to take care of yourself when you're stressed or worried? Anything you can do to help pass the time and keep your mind off "what-ifs" until Thursday will be helpful.

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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NoName
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I really don't know what I am going to do. I have been having a really hard time lately. I just found out that my 5 year run of chronic back pain is related to a birth defect in my spine and I have a really long and painful treatment ahead. I haven't been able to find any employment since I graduated college last year and I have had no health insurance since. I feel like I will literally crack underneath the stress because I just feel so helpless right now. I can't afford the luxury of healthcare and up until now I always felt young and invincible...and I feel it slipping away and I have no income to even seek treatment or help for anything. I don't really have anyone to talk to. My mother ran out on me and my dad when I turned 18 and has been uninterested in being in my life ever since. I don't have any close family members who I can really turn to either. All I have is my dad and my boyfriend and my dad has enough problems right now and I don't want to worry him too much.

I hope from the bottom of my heart that I am worried for nothing but I just don't have a good feeling about this.

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Heather
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NoName: I am so tremendously sorry to hear about all of this. [Frown]

I'm heading out for the night really shortly, but if you don't talk this out with others tonight, I'd be happy to talk with you more tomorrow.

(Also, if we do talk more, fill me in on how things are going in terms of the therapy and anxiety medication I think you'd started since we last talked?)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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NoName
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Thanks Heather. I am still in therapy and it is still with the same person which is an intern. They cannot prescribe medication so I have not gotten on any anxiety meds. My pregnancy anxiety had been getting drastically better in the past few months. Now that I am having this issue, I feel it starting to creep up again. My body is just not very well lately and it has been completely depressing because on top of all my mental issues, now I am have to worry about my physical health. It would be one thing if I had the added security of going to the doctor or any specialist when I wanted but honestly, every bit of cash I come across has to go toward therapy for my back right now. Even then, that money comes from my father or boyfriend who work so hard for their money and I feel so completely useless and guilty for that. I have looked for work everywhere but my car limits me from driving very far for now. I suppose I can start looking at a fast food place or something which will be hard because my pain level will really suffer in a job where you are constantly on your feet or constantly sitting. I have put in about 30 applications in the past year and all for jobs that I am way over qualified for...and I have not received one single call from one of them. It is such a sad state that America is in when so many of us have to be without healthcare over something as stupid as politics. They tell the middle class that we make too much money to have benefits...but then we don't have enough money to get actual health care. So that leaves a big portion of us going without care.

It feels so defeating. I tried to do the best I can in my circumstances. I got a college degree and I have stayed out of trouble and worked really hard. I just don't understand what that doesn't mean anything anymore. I get tired of seeing people who are in great health and have decent incomes...have all these benefits and great jobs while the rest of us have to barely scrape to get by. I am sorry, I know that all this is out of the sexual health scope and I am sorry for that. I just feel really scared and down right now and I don't know where to turn.

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Heather
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I think we've already talked enough for you to know that I, very personally, feel you on some of this. As someone who has never worked less than 50 hours in a week in my life, including in my teens, but has never had health insurance in my adult life, with a homeless parent and with a big awareness of some of the truly unfair and gutwrenching economic disparities in the country and the world, you're right: these disparities suck, and that's about the understatement of the century. All of the recent Occupy Wall Street and related movements didn't come out of nowhere, and they're right: that is about the 99% of this nation.

But what I hear is what you lead with in your second paragraph: you try to do the best you can within your own circumstances. And that really, truly, is the best that any of us can do. If there was more we could, we'd be doing it, right? Right.

But you're also right: it can feel so hopeless and so defeating, and if and when there are additional things to make us feel those ways -- like chronic illness, mental illness or poor health, unemployment, feeling unsupported by friends or family -- it's one hell of a burden to bear and one that can be very, very hard to bear. Feeling how invincible we aren't is also scary as hell when that happens. It's very real and true, but yes, also very scary.

And this is the part where what we mostly need to do first is figure out what we need to cope that we CAN access. For instance, one thing I'm hearing is that besides your boyfriend and your father, it sounds like you're feeling socially isolated and unsupported, separate from people. Do I have that right?

I think we have talked about this before, but another biggie is seeing what, if any, public healthcare you might be able to access. Can you remind me about what that situation is for you right now?

With the pregnancy anxities getting better but now getting worse, I hope it's okay for me to ask a pretty blunt question (and of course, it's okay for you not to answer it): it sounds like you're getting some financial support from your boyfriend. If so, do you feel like that puts extra pressures on you around the sexual issues and with the relationship in general? In other words, on top of perhaps feeling like a relationship you value emotionally might not weather this stuff, does having that relationship also seem or feel key to your more basic survival?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About MeGet our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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NoName
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My situation is I have NO health insurance at all and haven't had any since 2009. I do have medication benefits from my mental health counseling however...which is useless when you can't afford to go to the doctor and get any medication. I have requested to re-apply to my old insurance that cut me loose, but I am very confident that they will deny me. You pretty much have to either be under 20, over 70, or have lots of babies in order to stay on that insurance. Otherwise, you either get a good plan through a work place or get your own private insurance. That is where I am stuck. The only jobs that would even dream of hiring me right now are jobs that would definitely be very laborious and have no healthcare benefits. My back problems really make that complicated. I am not beneath taking those jobs and I have worked them in the past, sometimes for free. I truly feel that taking on a job like that now would hurt my health even more. I feel like with a 4 year degree that at least some employment would come my way that was decent...but not even a bank will call me back. It makes me really want to throw in the towel. It makes me regret my education and all my time wasted for nothing.

There is a health department in my town but from what I gather, they only do really basic things. That is fine for a basic checkup I suppose but with my family history, I truly, truly, need to be seeing a gynecologist very soon. I am 23 and after the past 5 years of some really difficult life circumstances and overall changes, I definitely do not have the body I had at 18. I know that I need help because someone my age shouldn't be feeling so rough and empty all the time. I have just kept my head up and told myself that I would have a job soon enough and that I was young enough that it would probably be okay to be without health insurance for awhile...then I found out the source of my back issues and now I am having this present scare...and I am just panicked now.

My boyfriend does help me financially. It isn't one of those situations where he just pays my bills, he basically just buys me nice things and helps me out here and there when I need it. All my big expenses...car, food, medical, bills, that still falls on my father. I can't tell you how incredibly guilty and worthless that makes me feel. My dad needs help too and I can't support myself or have the means to give it to him. He really is wonderful. All he wanted was for me to go to college and "make a good life for myself." I feel like I have let him and everyone down. I didn't even want to tell him about my scare about my breasts because I didn't want to cost him more money or scare him..but I freaked out and told him. Being the great father he is, he insisted that I go see the doctor and he is paying for it this time. I thank God for that, truly. I don't necessarily feel more sexual pressure from the support my boyfriend gives at all. I feel more guilty about not being able to be there for him emotionally. I have been so wrapped up in my problems the past few years and he gets neglected a lot. I try to help that the best I can but then some other challenge comes my way...and I just don't know what to do. I would not be able to live at all without he and my father and I love them more than anything. It really means a lot to me when people show that they love me because I never received a lot of that. Honestly, even if I was a millionaire, I would keep both relationships exactly like they are because I value them very much. I just wish we could all get an easy break for once so that we didn't spend so much time worrying about each other or trying to fix problems. It would be nice to enjoy life again and know what it is like to not be stressed for 5 minutes. I don't know if I will ever see a time like that again. The pregnancy anxiety definitely spikes when I suspect having a symptom that is related to pregnancy...even if it is also related to a million things. I am very freaked out that this soreness and possible lump came up so soon after ovulation...that has never happened to me. I hope so badly that this is just a cycle quirk that I am blowing out of proportion...but I am very scared that it is something serious.

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Heather
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Per the healthcare (and I may just be missing this in here, if so, sorry!): you have looked into public healthcare coverage, like Medicare or Medicaid?

As well, health departments most typically provide or arrange healthcare of many kinds, including reproductive care from GYNs. have you called them to find out what they do and don't offer?

(We can dish more about the issues with age and what your education has and hasn't netted you later if you like.)

With your boyfriend and your father, can I get you to stop for a second and just spend a little time thinking about what THEY might get out of their relationships with you, including the ways they help support you? Do you feel like this is something either of them do not want to do and do not feel good about doing? That either would rather choose not to be in relationship with you?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About MeGet our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Stephanie_1
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NoName: I’m really sorry to hear about all the struggles with unemployment and health insurance coverage you’re going through. I know how long and tough that battle can be (I was laid off at the end of the school year last year and am going through the same battles myself). Have you talked to your state representative yet? I know per health coverage the state rep here called me back and met with me to help find someone that would take me with the preexisting conditions that I have. (Also with ObamaCare you can get coverage through age 26 – so something to look into as it’s better than no coverage at all.) And a LOT of companies all through the US are not calling people back, and there’s a LOT of people not getting call backs. A lot of degrees are not being used. So hang in there hon, you’re not alone.

I would also look into areas around your town to see if there’s any free clinics or places like Planned Parenthood per seeing doctors. It may mean taking a but somewhere a bit further away, but it’s something that in the long run makes things a lot better. I’d also spend some time researching your back issue for ways of minimizing pain etc in the meantime. A lot of times people find ways of dealing with these problems that seems a bit unconventional but work as a part-time solution until it can be cared for in the long run. Try to relax though, doing things you enjoy that can help you feel better till you can get in and see someone.

Per taking care of expenses have you looked into government programs that help? IE – food stamps, programs that help pay heating in the cooler months, calling the state reps office like I said above per insurance to help with the bills there? It may help you feel better knowing you’re then taking some of that responsibility off your dad. Per your relationship with your boyfriend, have you tried having times where you sit and just talk about him and his life right now? Where he can maybe vent a little too – so you’re not feeling like you pull from him so much and are not in an equal balance there?

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"Sometimes the majority only means that all the fools are on the same side" ~Anon

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NoName
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Thanks for the support guys. I will address everything you have said to me very soon. The result of my doctor's appointment today revealed that it wasn't in my head...they felt the lump too. They said it felt like 3 little lumps all together. They are very tender to the touch and they move around. My doctor strongly believes it is fibrocystic disease. BUT, he ordered me to have an ultrasound, mammogram, and possibly biopsy tomorrow to make sure. I am just walking around in a haze right now. I am nervous, terrified, depressed, and a million other emotions. I am just astounded that I am going through this at 23..especially after all that I have been through. I just received bad news about my neck and back all in the same week as this. If I found out that it is something other than cysts tomorrow, I just don't know what I will do. I worked so hard to get to this point in my life. Although it's not much, I hold onto it with all my will. It is such a scary feeling to know all in a few minutes it can be yanked out from underneath me. I am thankful that my father is supporting me through all this financially, as this is all going to rack up a lot of bills. At this point, I really don't care. They can take my car or anything they want from me. You can't put a price on health or peace of mind. I want this all to be over so badly and I just want my life back.
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NoName
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Well, they just did the ultrasound today and they could hardly see the lump if anything at all. The radiologist assured me it was nothing but to get my mammogram on Monday. I am just seriously exhausted with all of this. I never thought I would have to worry about breast cancer this young. Everyone around me and all the medical staff I have seen is in good spirits, telling me not to worry but all I can think about is that NOONE knows for sure that it isn't cancer and that scares me to the bottom of my soul. All my signs point to cysts..but at the same time, why in all my life have I never had them...then suddenly they come up in a weeks time and they hurt really badly? I just don't know what to do with myself really. I have to wait all weekend for the mammogram and from what I hear, it takes a long time to even get those results back.
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Heather
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I understand your fears here, but it does sound like you likely are just dealing with fibrocystic breasts here given what they have done and said so far.

Want to try and tease out what might be causing a flare-up? Happy to do that with you.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About MeGet our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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NoName
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Heather, I sincerely pray that you are right. Here is what I know about my breasts, the best to my knowledge. I've had my period since I was 11, and it was always pretty regular and pretty normal. I never had any stick out pms symptoms all through my teen years other than maybe an uncomfortable stomach for a day or two before. Then, when I was 19, my period just vanished without a trace for a solid year and 3 months. After many gynecology appointments, they couldn't see any other reason why other than my low weight. See, I had a bit of an eating disorder at the time and I went from 115 to about 88 pounds in the course of 5 or so months...also, I had began exercising regularly for the first time in my life. On top of that, the doctor also found my thyroid to be a bit underactive (which was very strange considering the weight loss) and they put me on synthroid and I have been on it for going on 5 years. So as far as I know, those are the only reasons for my missing cycle. Eventually, my cycle came back and I can honestly say I have not missed one single period since. I noticed after it came back that my cycle was different than before. It was a little heavier and I now had very noticeable pms. My stomach would bloat and get very uncomfortable for several days before and VERY noticeably, my breasts would get tender. Specifically, in the past 12 months or so, I have noticed my cycle changing again so that I actually have pms for up to 7 days before my period...when before it was more like 3 or 4 days. But still, when I have my period, it is still very typical.

As I have said before, my right breast has always been bigger than my left and has a different texture as well. It is the breast that always gets more tender before my period and also the one the cyst is in. Now, I can't say for absolute certain that there has never been a lump in my breast but I do know that I feel of them a lot before my period because they hurt...and I have never felt any lump that was NOTICEABLE. Likewise, my tender spots didn't ever seem to be lumpy either. This time was blaring scary. Instead of a week before my period, practically 1 day after I last saw fertile mucus, I started getting really bad tenderness on my right breast. A couple days later, I felt of it and it felt like a lump..and here I am. I have NEVER had a blatantly obvious and painful spot in my breast before, and no tenderness at all this early in my cycle. I have not been on birth control since I was 16, nor do I take any medications. I have maintained a consistent 91-94 pound weight for 3 years and I am still very active. I have always had caffeine and it has never given me problems. I can't think of any possible reason for this other than it actually being cancerous or the split chance it could be the very beginning of some hormonal changes for me. All I know is that I am scared and I don't know how I will get through this weekend. Heather, if you have any remote idea of what could be happening to me or if anything I said sticks out to you, please enlighten me. I would appreciate all the education I can get with this. Also, if you know anything about breast ultrasounds, I would appreciate it too. In my experience, the technician had a really hard time finding anything at all, despite actually pressing right on the lump. The radiologist doctor couldn't hardly see anything either other than normal tissue. How possible is it that they are just missing something? I want to take it as a good sign either way that all my tissue looked normal..but I also know that ultrasound doesn't pick up anything really deep. (though worth nothing, the lump is very near the surface and you can feel it easily.)

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Heather
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Well, know that through the whole of our lives, our reproductive cycles will likely shift and change at LEAST a few times. Often enough, once they have a chance to settle in and when we're not dealing with things like an ED which can deeply impact them for a while, there will be years when they're pretty much the same, but it's pretty common to have some kind of shift or change every decade or so, if not more often than that.

One thing is that I don't know how tall you are, but if you're not very short, that weight is very low, and, all by itself may be messing with your health and body, including things like this.

In the last couple months, upped your caffeine intake any? Any changes in what you have been eating or how? Changes in sleep patterns or stress levels?

I'd say it's not likely they're missing something, but are just following up with the mammogram out of due diligence.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About MeGet our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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NoName
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Thanks Heather for replying to me. I am actually just under 5 foot. I have been petite my whole life...just used to have a bit more weight on me in my high school days. When I do have extra weight, it always goes to my stomach and even at this size, I still have a pooch. I cut out eating meat (except for fish occasionally) about 3 years ago but even so, I eat more than enough and I don't think I am underweight. The doctor's assistant asked me yesterday if I had always been this thin and I said no. Would my weight be in a factor in any of this? I gained back about 5 pounds or so after the ED and have never cut calories since. I do take ballet and everything so I feel that even though my diet could use some work, I am reasonably healthy. I don't THINK my caffeine intake has been increased..but then again, I may be wrong. Thinking back, maybe I do drink a bit more soda than I used to...but that increase would have happened like for a year now. When I was growing up, I drank a ton of soda a day...then cut it out for awhile and drank just a little when I had the eating disorder. If caffeine is the issue, I just don't understand why it's never affected me this way before. So really, yes, I had major changes in my diet but really, not recently. I made those changes over a number of years and my diet has been pretty consistent for awhile now. Like I said, it needs work. I cut meat out during my eating disorder...but then really got into the ethical aspects of it..and at this point, even if I wanted to eat meat, it flat out grosses me out. Fish is about all I can tolerate. I feel ashamed for saying so but the bulk of my diet is mostly carbohydrates. I eat a decent amount of peanut butter and I like a couple of veggie meats. Of course a couple times a week I eat out and my meal is more balanced but in general, I am very picky about food and if something smells or looks gross to me, I would literally vomit if I put it in my mouth. I have always been that way. I have tried everything to get past because it really limits my diet. I always assumed that it was healthy "enough" because I feel decent and my cycles are regular. I am probably wrong about that though. It just seems like this was so random and like it would be easy to pinpoint a major change in the past month that would have caused it, but I can think of nothing.

Sleep patterns are the same. I have always slept well and usually get 8 or more hours. Stress is always high...I wouldn't really know what it is like to not have a high level of stress. My body is pretty used to it.

I hope you are right about them not missing something in the ultrasound. I mean it sounds good that they are "having a hard time finding something" but at the same time, I am afraid that maybe that is a bad thing. The lump is very obvious to the touch...so why wouldn't it pick up? I always thought ultrasounds pick up cysts very easily? It hurt so bad...not the ultrasound itself but she was rolling the wand over my lump pretty firmly and it was so tender. So I am for sure she was right on it. I am SO nervous about the mammogram. I have gone through some tough things in my life but this is easily the hardest. Nothing even comes close. I would be so relieved if this lump just went away when I got my period (which I hope to goodness I get it). That would really ease my mind and explain a lot, sorta. That is at least a weeks wait. My neighbor said what you did about them just having the mammogram just to satisfy my mind and to be comprehensive. I sort of feel paranoid that they scheduled it because they weren't very sure that it wasn't cancerous. This is so scary. Mammograms don't even work well on younger women because our tissue is so dense...so I don't know that the result will even fully satisfy me. I have read the horror stories where doctors tell young women that their lumps are nothing to worry about and then their cancer spreads and isn't caught in time. Also lots of stories of the mammogram not picking it up. I hope that I am blowing this out of proportion...just that mere thought is all that is holding me together.

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Heather
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Your weight could be a factor, yes. So, on that, I'd just check in to make sure you're eating enough, especially if you also do dance, which is a kind of exercise that can really use a lot of calories, so you may need to eat a little more than you are. It also sounds clearly like you need to add some fresh veggies and fruit to your diet, maybe some legumes, too. If you're only or mostly eating fish and carbs, that's not a healthy diet.

Again, just because things haven't affected our bodies in the past, or we haven't felt the effects, doesn't mean they always won't. Our bodies are always changing, and how something impacted them in one year or decade can be very different from how it does now or will in another decade or two. So, increased soda with caffeine could potentially be something that had something to do with this. But so could just getting a little older.

I'm so sorry you're having such a hard time with this.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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NoName
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Hello! I am happy to report that my mammogram today revealed...absolutely nothing. The radiologist said that the lump I was feeling wasn't even cysts, but just normal tissue that was swollen. He said my mammogram showed no abnormalities whatsoever but that my breast have a little bit of "stromal asymmetry." See, my right breast has always felt more "lumpy" and tender than my left and it is also a bit larger. He said that this is probably just a bad cycle but that he bests that that part of my breast has always felt uncomfortable during this time and my cycle..which he is right. He said it wasn't anything pre-cancerous or anything to even "treat" but that it will probably go away once I get my period. I actually feel it going down a little bit already and softening up.

Talk about a scare of a lifetime. I am proud of myself for seeing about it and for being brave through all this testing. I hope I won't need a mammogram for a long time. I never thought of breast cancer until now but that will change from now on. There is a percentage of younger women who are diagnosed with this disease and I am so fortunate that I wasn't one of them. Thank you Heather for being supportive. I am already making some dietary changes as we speak and have cut the caffeine out majorly. My health is so important and I need to quit being so careless. Thank you for everything!

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Heather
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HOORAY! That's such great news. [Smile] Happy to have been a support for you during this scary stuff.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About MeGet our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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