I had an ultrasound on my remaining breast today, after finding a lump. The great news is the lump is just the newest member of my cyst farm. It would seem my farm is not your regular old barnyard animal farm, with chickens and pigs and a dog or two.
No, mine is one that specializes in exotics, like giraffes and lions and hippos. According to the sonogram, there are lots of very large animals in there. And, the newest member of my exotic animal farm is a huge African elephant: one so large and growing so fast that it's pushing its pen out of shape.
I'll have to talk to my plastic surgeon about giving it a bigger pen.
While I'm quite relieved that it's not cancer that has reared its ugly head again, having a cyst that grew so large, so rapidly, and which is visible to the eye does present a problem.
How am I to know when a lump is normal or not?
I thought I knew. I thought I was an expert.
My cancer was a hard lump, visible through the skin, with a bruised appearance above it that changed the shape of my breast.
My newest cyst is a hard(ish) lump, visible through the skin, with a bruised appearance above it that changed the shape of my breast.
The main difference between the two is that the cancer was immovable while the cyst is not. And, of course, the dimpling I eventually experienced with the big C. Dimpling is a pretty clear sign of cancer. Movablity is iffy - it could go either way.
So, how do I know what's a normal animal and what's a predator? When do I go to a doctor?
When dimpling appears? With each appearance of an elephant head?
It's going to be a fine line to walk, and I fear I'm going to step in a lot of exotic dung before I get it right.