My left boob has been hurting.
Generally it was only for a few days around a particular point in my lady cycle and Dr. Google said that was normal, so I didn't really pay it much attention.
But then a few months ago, it started hurting all the damn time. I changed bras...I tried sleeping more on the right...it got a LOT of love and attention but it still hurt.
I couldn't feel anything in there but, even though Dr. Google said that "breast pain is mysterious and unknowable but probably not anything serious" (I paraphrase), I started to get concerned.
Concerned enough that the next time I was at my local walk-in clinic getting a prescription refilled, I asked the brusque, no eye contact doctor what I should do about it.
Dr. Brusque: "Well, you'll have to have someone examine your breast."
Me: "Someone like...A DOCTOR?"
Dr. Brusque: "Well, your family doctor."
Me: "I come to the walk-in clinic for a reason, man."
Dr. Brusque, not doing a good job of concealing his horror at having to manhandle my funbags: "Okay, put this gown on, I'll be right back."
What followed was the kind of groping we all experienced from our gay Grade 10 boyfriends in high school (no? just me? okay.) - curious, squeezing a little too damn hard, no eye contact, latex gloves, then he left without saying anything.
Dr. Brusque referred me to the Breast Clinic at a nearby hospital.
Dr. Z, the hospital doctor, was lovely and it was a delight to be groped by such a professional. "I don't feel anything in there," she said, "and breast pain doesn't usually indicate cancer. But you could have a small cyst that is causing the pain, so why don't we schedule you for an ultrasound?"
At this point, I was willing to take her smart, kind, boob doctor word that things were okay in my chestal region, but since I had escalated things this far - and since we live in Canada - I said sure.
I go out and wait in the waiting room for my ultrasound appointment and the reception with the loud carrying voice comes out and says loudly "We're going to book you for a mammogram instead because an ultrasound isn't useful for finding your problem, okay? Here's your appointment."
Huh. Okay then.
A week later, I return to hang out with my peeps in Radiology. After changing into my fetching blue gown, the mammogram technician came to usher me into the dark, humming room.
The technician was a very sweet, gentle young woman who spoke to me soothingly as she would to a skittish horse while she literally put my tits in a vise. It did hurt a little bit as my boob pancaked out but the main discomfort was the claustrophobic feeling of having your boobs stuck in a machine. I did appreciate the "instant release" action that took place once the photo was taken. One down, one to go.
In the middle of my right boob imaging, things got weird.
Me: "WHAT IS IT?"
At this point, I had made my topless way around the back of the equipment so that I could see what she was staring that. There was a huge white mass on my right breast. I nearly passed out.
Me: "What is that?"
Technician: "We should probably do that one again, okay?"
Me: "OKAY BECAUSE WHAT IS IT"
We did righty again and this time, no white mass.
Me: "What the hell?"
Technician: "That's why I wanted to do it again. Your skin must have gotten bunched up the first time and it looked like a mass. Good thing I did it again or the doctor would have made you come back for another go!"
Me: "Heh heh, yeah, GOOD THING"
I put my shirt back on and went back up to the doctor's office, only to discover that she wouldn't be in until the following week. I made my appointment and then treated myself to a mocha for my troubles. It was delicious.
A week later, I returned to see Dr. Z. to get the results of what I hoped was a clear mammogram.
Dr. Z (sighing): "So hi."
Dr. Z: "Well, I told them that I wanted you to have an ULTRASOUND, not a mammogram, but someone at the front desk took it upon themselves to send you for a mammogram instead, which isn't as useful in finding small masses in young breasts like yours."
Me, flattered by "young breasts": "Oh."
Dr. Z: "Yeah, so the mammogram was fine but not useful in this context. I'm sorry."
Me, still flattered: "No problem."
Dr. Z: "I still want to do that ultrasound, so we'll get you set up with an appointment, okay?"
Sadly, there was no groping. Then the loud receptionist yelled the time of my ultrasound appointment at me across the waiting room and I left. Mocha followed.
A week later, I was back in Radiology, getting ready for a fourth stranger to feel me up.
Fortunately, I look ravishing in blue.
The ultrasound technician was just as sweet as the mammogram technician. She squirted hot lube all over my boob and got right to it. I could see my boob on the monitor, like you do when someone's getting an ultrasound of their baby. I asked her if I could have a print-out of my boob, you know, to share on Facebook, and she laughed but DID NOT OBLIGE ME.
After slip-sliding all over my breast and underarm area, she gave me a towel and a smile.
"When are you seeing the doctor again?" she asked. I told her it wouldn't be for another couple of weeks. "Well," she said, "you shouldn't have to wait two weeks to know that I didn't see anything here."
I thought for a second that she was making a "Whatever happens in Radiology stays in Radiology" joke but then I realized that she was delivering very comforting news, for which I thanked her profusely.
Two weeks later - this whole process started in June and just finished up last week - I had my last appointment with Dr. Z. We chatted about gardening as she felt up my tomatoes and advised me that the girls were a-okay. Thanks to a few lifestyle changes this year, they might just be taking their time adjusting. "But it's always good to check with a professional if you're concerned, " she said, so that I didn't feel like an idiot. And that was that.
On the way home - BIGGEST MOCHA EVER.
TL;DR My boob was hurting but everything's fine.