Breast clinic appointment: what happened...


(Credit: Chennai breast surgeon)

Two weeks after my urgent referral, I was summoned to the breast clinic at Royal Alexandria Hospital in Paisley while William sat waiting in the car.

Neither of us thought I’d be long.  A quick feel by the consultant and needle aspiration like last time and I’d soon be on my way home.

How wrong we both were.

First, I was examined by a breast surgeon who said she was uncertain whether the lump was a cyst or something more sinister, and sent me to the radiology unit for a mammogram.

Next, I bared my breasts once again but this time to a chatty female nurse and male radiologist who quietly, and at times painfully, pushed an ultrasound probe over my right boob and armpit.

The last time I had an ultrasound was when I was pregnant with my now 20 year-old daughter. Back then, I felt elated clapping eyes on a grainy image of my baby girl sucking her thumb. This time, I felt bewildered and couldn’t see the screen because I was lying awkwardly on my left side with right arm above my head.

The nurse continued chatting to me which helped take my mind off things. But the atmosphere quickly turned silent when the radiologist announced, “I don’t know what that is.”


What followed involved three core needle biopsies guided by ultrasound. One from my lump, two from my axillary nodes (lymph nodes in the armpit) and three titanium markers inserted into each area.

The markers were tiny, sesame seed size clips that marked the spot being biopsied. This is standard for most people being tested for breast cancer, as they help identify the area if further intervention is needed.

 (Credit: Very Health)

The process was relatively painless - local anaesthetic had seen to that. Just a sharp sting when the needle entered and a sudden click when tissue was extracted.

However, during the first node biopsy, something went PING… and shot over my head.

It turned out to be a faulty spring in the core needle and the resulting impact damaged some nerves in my armpit. Ouch!

After the biopsies, I went back to the Breast Clinic to speak with the surgeon. She asked me to return in two days for the results and suggested I bring someone with me which further ravaged my nerves.

If you or someone you know are waiting for breast biopsy results, you can find amazing support and information by visiting the Breast Cancer Now link below:

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