It began in November, 2016. Ironically on the weekend after my birthday.
I had noticed a wet feeling in the right side of my bra just before bed after my cat had previously jumped on it, originally, I thought it might have been my talent of gaining scratches by impossible means.
Instead, when I looked, I was met with a very dark discharge that oozes from my breast like a sticky syrup. Emotions were already high during that time, so I ignored it and went to bed.
Skip to two weeks later, the discharge hadn’t stopped and my breast was starting to hurt. I decided to do my monthly self-exam and found a small lump that was new and unusual, but was movable at the time.
It was the holidays, so it took almost a full month to get in to see my doctor. He referred me to surgical doctor. Which took about another month, because of the 2+ weeks waiting for a call and then New Years. It was very exasperating when paired with the fact the pain was getting more intense as the days went by, and more discharge seemed to be expelling out.
I went back and forth to this horrible doctor over the next 3 months. Tests, MRIs, even a CT scan. For her to try to tell me nothing was wrong with me and that she could always “go in and cut blindly.” Fat chance, lady!
Cut to yet another month going by and suddenly it began bleeding. It started out as only a little, then suddenly was gushing blood. If I didn’t already have a heavy period and was prone to injury, I probably would have fainted in the shower more than once at the amount of it.
I thank myself every day for forgetting to put her number in my phone and having to Google it. A review had been posted at about the same time of my last appointment that basically screamed what I had been saying all along. I won’t put the woman’s name on here for her privacy, but I will post what she said in her review here:
“Dr. Owens did not know what she was talking about for my surgery. My surgery was also canceled and I was never given a reason as to why. Now that I have done more research I have found she was trying to do a surgery that she has never done before and was not giving me proper pre-op care for it. She lied to my face. The only reason she finally gave me a referral was because we berated her about it. By postponing my surgery I may wind up with permanent damage and though my symptoms are getting worse she obviously didn’t care. I have a RARE tumor and since it’s a once in a lifetime surgery, instead of doing what’s best for me as a patient, she was doing what was best for her as a surgeon because she wanted the chance to say she had done one of these. I will never go back to this practice.”
This is when I decided I would drop her like a spoiled girl dropped a zircon diamond.
My mother told me about a woman she had gone to for her womanly issues that I won’t post here without her permission. This lady was the beginning of everything.
I had to go through a blood test to start, and she checked me out, even tested the discharge. Something the other hag never even thought to do. She then told me that she was going to set me up with a Breast Specialist in a place about three hours from my town. I didn’t relish the idea of going to this particular busy city, but I had been there before for previous issues, and I was desperate at the point.
The specialist, I have to give my gratitude. After one visit, she diagnosed the most likely thing going on with me as what is called Duct Ectasia. I will explain what that is here:
Duct Ectasia is a chronic inflammatory condition effecting the subareolar periductal (beneath the nipple and beside the ducts) region on the breast. Left untreated it can eventually lead to the obliteration of a breast duct, but in early stages it causes the terminal ducts to ‘dilate’ (widen). When the ducts dilate, they may contain cholesterol crystals, calcification, protein secretions, and polyps containing histiocytes.
The produces an inflammatory reaction, which may result in nipple discharges. Duct ectasia is completely benign and unrelated to breast cancer. Duct ectasia can produce a sticky, multicolored discharge, almost like toothpaste. Sometimes duct ectasia causes pain, itching, and possibly swelling of the nipple, and if it progresses a mass can develop. In early stages the condition is not serious. If a mass has developed or if the discharges become bloody, it will probably be surgically removed. Duct ectasia or plasma cell mastitis accounts for about 1% of all surgically treated lesions. Due to its location, the nipple will likely have to be removed. From a cosmetic standpoint this is unfortunate, but the condition will not likely resolve on its own and left untreated can result in fibrosis and shortening of the major ducts. Duct ectasia does not raise your risk of breast cancer.
Now, 7 months since this began, I have some answers and am scheduled for my surgery on July 6th, 2017. I will be writing about the after-care and the days up to the surgery.
I also have another issue going on that began right before going to the Breast Specialist that I will talk about and hopefully track in a different post! Until then!