Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cyst Aspiration

My newest goal in life is to have every single medical procedure relating to breasts. I'll bet I'm 80% there. So far, I've had mammogram, sonogram, sonogram-guided core biopsy, stereotactic core biopsy, MRI, MRI-guided biopsy, sentinel node biopsy, mastectomy, tissue expander placement and fills - in the future I'll have breast implants and a breast lift, revision surgery, nipple reconstruction and areola tattoos.

Guiness Book of World Records, here I come.

Fortunately, the cyst farm in my remaining breast started growing, probably due to the lack of estrogen-based fertilizer. One was growing so big you could see it through my clothes, and because sleeping my stomach felt like I was sleeping on a bag of rocks, I decided to add a cyst aspiration to my procedure collection.

So, Monday I had my cyst farm plowed.

The procedure was simple and very cool if you like to watch medical things performed on your body, as I do. A nurse came in, explained what was going to happen, and then poured conductive material on my breast and looked at the cysts using sonogram. She found the very large cyst that was causing me problems (not a hard task since it was visible to the naked eye, like a harvest moon in October) She imaged five others, including one "complex" cyst. Those are more concerning as there is debris inside them that could be indicative of a cancer. Then she said the doctor would be in shortly, and explained that because a large one was showing through the skin, and the skin was shadowed above it, she wouldn't bother marking me up with a pen.

I played Collapse on my iPhone while I waited, which seemed very appropriate. I like to match my games with my medical procedures.

The doctor came in, checked out my breast and exclaimed about how uncomfortable it must be to have a cyst that big. Then she wiped my breast with alcohol, injected me with zylocaine, and put the needle in. It was attached to tubing with a syringe thing at the end - the doctor was going to place the needle into the cysts while the nurse pulled the plunger to draw the fluid out.

They did the complex cyst first so they could send that fluid to the lab separately. No pain at all. And, it was interesting to watch, really, I should have been a doctor. Except for that pesky school thing, I probably would have been good at it.

I was not in a position where I could take a photo of my own aspiration, but I found this one online that looked like what I saw - you can see the needle in the cyst:

As the fluid is pulled out, the ends of the cyst collapse into each other and no more cyst.

After the fluid from the complex cyst was marked, they worked on the smaller ones surrounding the large one. Still no pain. Then they hit the big one and at that point, it did hurt. Nothing horrible and not even enough to make me jump but sort of a cramping, suction type pain. If you ever had an amniocentesis, it felt like that, only in your breast. It took two syringes to get all the fluid out of that one before it collapsed into nothing.

The doctor said everything looked perfectly normal and cyst-like - even the complex cyst. All of my fluid would go to the lab but she expected normal results.

Two days later I did get the results: benign.

First time I ever heard that word after a breast procedure.

Now I have a huge divot where the cysts were. The doctor said it would fill out in a day or two, but so far, no luck there. I have my doubts it ever will. It's pretty big and those cysts were there a while and made up pretty much the top part of my breast. But, it doesn't matter as that side will get an implant too, at some point.

I have to say, it's very nice to feel that breast or lie on my stomach without those big rocks inside. Maybe I should have done it long ago - having had cysts for my entire adult life.

There is a 50% chance they'll return, unfortunately.

So, hopefully, the Guinness Book of World Records people will find this blog and see if I can be in the running for record number of breast procedures.

Breasts sell, and with Guinness, the lack of one might sell even more.

I deserve that kind of fame, don't you think?



  1. Benign! Yay!!!

    Let's hope your entry into the Guinness Book will be under the category of GREATEST LOOKING BREAST RECONSTRUCTION JOB EVER.


  2. thanks for informative post. you know thousands of women are dying of it and most of women at third world countries dont even know the symptoms of breast cancer. well i expect a directive article from you.

  3. Ann, I find you so inspiring, you are doing an amazing job going through all of this! Misty (Stoli's old dog walker!)

  4. Good stuff ... love your humor!

  5. I found the aspiration procedure rather interesting too and am looking forward to another one tomorrow morning!


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