All for the breast

A very rare blog post with no photos for a change. It’s been a bit of a week, last Friday I went to the doctor because I have what I thought was a skin tag which is getting bigger and causing pain.

The GP didn’t think there was anything to worry about but did a breast examination and found a lump on my other breast so she referred me to Galway to have a mammogram and check out both problems. Previously this would have been done in Sligo but since the cancer services have been removed from Sligo Regional Hospital it now means a trip to Galway.

I was told it would take between two or three weeks to get an appointment but I got a call on Monday to ask me to come today (Friday). I was a bit worried about how quickly I’d been called but I had convinced myself that there was nothing to worry about and that I was fine, still there was that little niggling thought at the back of my mind, it’s been a long week waiting!

Anyway the family wanted to come to Galway with me but I wanted to be on my own, I would have been worried about them if they were there. A friend also offered to come along with me but I’m quite independent and felt it was something I wanted to do alone. Andy suggested I went up the night before as my appointment was at 8.30am so I found a cheap place to stay and drove up last night. I’d planned a bit of a photo-trip around it – taking a few night shots of Galway last night and coming home via Connemara today. The weather was against me though so there aren’t many photos.

Back to the appointment. The minute I arrived at the hospital I was called in to see a doctor. She examined me and drew a mark on the area she wanted the consultant to look at, she also looked at the skin tag. After a few minutes the consultant came in and examined me, he explained they would do a mammogram and possibly an ultrasound scan if they felt I needed it. He also said depending on what showed up I may need a biopsy to test the tissue.

I had to wait for about 25 minutes and was called for the mammogram. The radiologists were lovely, very friendly, they have to travel from Castlebar to see patients. The mammogram was a bit uncomfortable, mainly because they have to put quite a bit of pressure on the breast to get a clear picture but it’s only for a minute and it is bearable. Four images were taken in total two from the front and two from the side. I was told I would need an ultrasound so I had to go back and sit in the waiting room.

So after a brief wait I had the ultrasound done. I have to admit I’m nosey so I looked at the images as the scan was being done so the consultant explained them to me and showed me images of what the breast tissue should look like and showed me the lump on mine, which he explained is a lipoma which is a non-cancerous fatty lump. So very happy days…I was so happy I almost left the room without my top on!

I was showed back to the original consultation room and saw the original doctor who told me the lipoma could have been caused by a trauma (I did get a wallop from a bit of furniture when we were moving). He also said the skin tag is an intraductal papilloma, which is nothing to worry about, I can get it removed in the future if it continues growing.

I’d encourage you all to check your breasts regularly and don’t be alarmed if you do find a lump as the majority of them are not cancer. The staff in University College Hospital were all very good and understanding and although it’s quite embarressing having your top off for much of the time you do get used to it. Just be aware that it’s very expensive to park there, I was there for just over two hours and it cost €6. So that was my week, I can get back to some kind of normality now.

32 thoughts on “All for the breast

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  1. Phew what a relief. Delighted for you.
    There is a very strong history of breast cancer in my family with three first cousins and my sister all diagnosed in their forties. I have been attending a family history clinic for six years. Two years ago I found a lump. I was more than a little worried as none of the others had come away with good news.
    I too went on my own. Thankfully it was a cyst and I have had two more since. I often feel it is only a matter of time, but my cousins and sister are all doing well after up to ten years so I am not overly worried or pre occupied by it.
    Isn’t the breast check set up fantastic in this country? It’s a pity you have to travel so far though.

    1. Thanks Tric. I’m glad you were OK. It’s a really worrying time.
      There is a machine to carry out mammograms in Sligo but since they moved the services it now just sits there.

  2. Glad you’re all clear! Scary business for sure. I keep seeing cuts in the health services in all of Ireland and find it so sad and so hard on everyone. Glad you were seen so quickly.

  3. Val, I’m so glad and relieved that everything is okay, and that the only worrying things were the expensive parking and nearly going topless in Galway.:)

    Seriously though, I was holding my breath while reading this, praying for you that all would be okay.

    It’s definitely true…after you’ve been given the all-clear and your fears and worries have been taken out of the picture, you honestly do feel like you can finally exhale and return to ‘normal life.’

  4. Hi Val, so pleased to hear you got the all-clear. I know we all complain about the services being taken from Slligo, but I had to attend the Breast Clinic in Galway a few years ago and they were absolutely wonderful. All the tests get done so quickly. I had to have a number of biopsies taken over a period of 12 months, but each time I went in I was treated as if I was the only person they had to look after that day. Take care in 2015.

  5. Delighted to hear you had a positive outcome Val. Thanks for sharing this, you’ll never know how it may help one of your readers get checked & maybe get early treatment. Well done.

  6. So glad to hear that all is well. I had a similar experience myself last year. There’s a feeling that you can breathe again and be thankful. It also made me realise how good the service is, despite everything we hear about the HSE!

  7. I am so glad you found out quickly what the problem was-there are so many women, and men, who are being diagnosed each year. Now have a big glass of wine!

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