a personal essay by a very anxious person who had a breast examination

Birrarung Marr, Melbourne. (Photo by Nuha Hassan)

It has been some time since I sat down and wrote down my feelings about something that happened in my life. But naturally, I have found that writing is very soothing and therapeutic for me to wrap my thoughts and frustrations.

Currently, I am listening to music which calms me down and helps me focus. I had no plans to do this. This is rather a spontaneous writing session. I was not sure whether writing about this would have been appropriate because I did not want to sound overdramatic. See, two weeks ago I almost had a breast cancer scare.

Initially, I was not worried about a lump in my armpit. I started to worry when there were not any changes with the lump and I realised that something might be wrong. I was a bit hesitant to leave the house even though the restrictions had been lifted. I only left the apartment when it was necessary. I kept delayed the appointment every single time. So when October rolled in, I received a message about a free breast cancer consultations. I made an appointment immediately.

As the day of the appointment came nearer, I started to worry. I started to have anxious thoughts about whether the lump might be a cyst or something even worse. I could not sleep. I was up all night thinking about the whole future consultation, imagining what could be the worst possible scenario. To make matters worse, I ended up searching ‘lump in my armpit’ on Google.

I became more anxious and concerned for my wellbeing to the point where I was unable to fall asleep. Even while I was going through this internal ordeal, I could not stop searching and reading on what could be the diagnosis even when I had a proper diagnosis from a professional.

I was relieved when I found out that there were not any lumps in a breast and the lump in question was an enlarged breast tissue. I did not have to refer to any doctor or make any further consultations as it was not anything serious and I could have it removed if it was a bother.

After a bit of reflective thinking, all my worries and worst-case scenarios just went away. It was not a bother to me anymore. I was hesitant to write about this journey as it was completely different from what I thought it would end up being and it did not seem right to me. I did not want to jump on and make a fuss about it when the results were different. But the thing is, it could have gone differently. There was always a possibility In my case, it was highly unlikely as my family has had no history of breast cancer and that was the detail that I forgot in my anxious state. Before I went to see the consultant, I did a self-breast examination and I did not feel any lumps.

Regardless of what happened, I am really glad that I went to see the doctor. I am a lot happier and less anxious about it now. I am not sure when or if there will be another breast examination soon but I hope that it does not come to this. I am not worried about the lump in my armpit and I would not have to be for a very long time.

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