There was no lump -- a Breast Cancer blog

This blog is about my experience with Inflammatory Breast Cancer.
You can learn more about Inflammatory Breast Cancer at or

The names of my Doctors have been changed.



Contact me at Liane58 at gmail dot com
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Location: United States

Monday, June 07, 2004

There was no lump

I'm not sure when I noticed that my right breast was looking a little larger than the left. There was also a little discoloration, like slight bruising. Was it sometime in the Fall of 2003? Maybe even as early as August, when I 'gave up' coffee -- could that be related, as a change in metabolism? When I asked my General Practitioner about it in December, she thought it was just a hormonal change. Certainly all the menopause books say that swelling and tenderness of the breasts is something that happens. The bruising went away and the swelling was not very noticeable.
On May 18, I happened to be back at the Doctor's office with a cold that I thought might be strep throat, and my girlfriend, Rosie, had urged me to ask the Doctor about my breast. The right breast still was oddly larger than the left, and that its texture felt different, firmer, sort of heavier. So my GP gave me a referral to a specialist. I was very unconcerned about all this when I went to the specialist, Dr. Jones, on May 28 (doctors' names have been changed). After all, the only irregularities were this slight change in my breast. There was no lump. There was nothing to 'find' with those monthly self-exams. My mammograms in September had been normal. And I felt great.
Dr. Jones was concerned. Things started happening quickly. I had mammograms and ultrasound that day. I hadn't envisioned that I'd be spending my Friday in a hospital gown. I'd come in a carefree person, in a hospital almost by accident, and now I needed lots of tests. All of a sudden I was a patient. Was I sick? We scheduled an MRI for the following week.
But first thing after the Memorial day holiday I got a call for Dr. Jones' office -- they could get me in for an MRI that day. There was a sense of urgency. Then on Thursday I went in to meet with Dr. J, I thought that this was to talk about the tests so far. Rosie came with me and was such a help. Dr. J wanted to do some biopsies. This was done with a long needle that collected "core samples." I kept my eyes closed, but it felt like a staple gun -- not painful, as I was numbed, but that sound and sense of impact. I left the hospital with an ice pack in my bra, and went to lead a Women's History Walking tour of the Back Bay! Not good planning.
Dr. S did another biopsy of the skin the following day. Still no results from all the tests, so I was trying not to worry. Sunday I had my book party (www. which was incredibly fun and a great success.