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TMI TGIF? Let’s talk about breast health.

Happy Thursday. We made it guys. Friday and the weekend are upon us.

I just took a hot shower, poured myself a glass of wine, lit some candles and turned on some chill/relaxing music (this Spotify station if you’re needing inspiration). It’s my nightly unwind and relax routine. It was needed after today, for sure.

In the seven years that I have been blogging, I’ve waffled back and forth between being open, sharing select details about my personal life and even to the extreme of “I only blog about workouts and food.” I quite like where I’ve ultimately ended up…in a space that feels a lot more open, relaxed and true.

So when I said that I hated to vague blog last week about some health stuff, I meant it. I did go back and forth about whether to share this but I always ask myself, “Will what I’m putting out there potentially help someone else in a similar situation?” and if the answer is yes, I’m much more inclined to go for it. And it’s been on my heart all day today to share it with you so here goes some vulnerability.

(Let me just say that everything turned out okay before I start the story.)

Before we moved into our new house (so this was back in March), I noticed a tender spot on the side of my left breast, half way between my nipple and armpit around the tail of my breast. I thought nothing of it, I just figured I’d pulled a muscle or something. Fast forward to our trip to Europe in June and I started to worry that the spot still hadn’t subsided and seemed to be getting worse. On the flight home I thought to myself that if it was a pulled or strained muscle, it should have reduced in intensity given that I hadn’t lifted in over seven days. Instead, I found myself constantly aware of it during the trip.

The best way I can describe the sensation is tender and bruised. It feels like a ridge and not a lump. There is no sharp or throbbing pain but I can feel something there all the time. I find myself touching it constantly to see if it’s changed in shape or size. (I try to keep that to private moments!)

I finally made an appointment with my OBGYN. I honestly felt al little silly going in there and even apologized to the nurse and said, “it’s probably no big deal” but she was so reassuring. She said very directly, “We take anything breast-related very seriously. You did the right thing.”

I switched OBGYNs last year but I love my new doctor. He’s a straight shooter but very thorough and attentive. I honestly 100% expected him to tell me it was nothing, go home and I’ll see you next year so I was shocked when he told me after the exam that he was sending me for a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound.

I left the office and called my mom before I even made it to the car. I was so upset and freaked out. I had to wait 48 hours for the referral to go through and then when the scheduler called me, the first available appointment was two weeks away. She was so kind to tell me to call every day to check on cancellations. I was lucky to end up getting in a week before my originally scheduled appointment thanks to that advice.

This morning I went for the diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound. It was my first experience having a mammogram or with anything breast related. The radiologist came in to do the ultrasound and told me that my mammogram looked okay but that my breast tissue is dense, which is to be expected for my age and build but makes it hard to read.

And with the ultrasound, he said the best he can tell it seems to be a small cyst or extra breast tissue that might be inflamed. He advised me to continue to self-check and let them know if anything changes.

Of course I am completely relieved to hear no mention of breast cancer but I also wish I had a better answer because it’s truly the weirdest pain and sensation and it’s been with me for 5+ months now. I wish I could say that I’m at peace but I’m still so perplexed by it. (For the record, it doesn’t hurt when I workout so that makes me wonder on a torn/strained muscle or tendon.)

I might sound dramatic to some of you and completely rational to others but this whole experience has been so emotional for me. I thrive on putting things into words but I can’t even put this into words. I think I felt drawn to write about it because it feels so much like the type of thing we go through as women and never talk about because, “we’ve got this.” I can honestly say that talking to my close friends and family about it and having them listen to and validate my fears and concerns is part of what kept me sane through this.

All of my prayers to all of you who have been touched by breast issues or breast cancer. And also a reminder to take your breast health seriously and don’t ever feel guilty about getting something checked out. You deserve it for your peace of mind and your overall health and well-being.

Gosh, I was going to blog about a few other random things but after going down the path of boobs, I don’t think we can turn back now.

TGIF?

xx
Jen

{ 59 comments… add one }
  • Amber sipe August 10, 2017, 9:43 pm

    Thank you for posting. I recently went through almost the exact same thing with a similar result and understand the emotions and stress of what ifs. My heart and prayers go out to all those going through this and all of those who have experienced breast cancer .

    • Jen August 11, 2017, 12:27 pm

      Thanks for sharing your experience Amber. I’m glad that your result was similar and yes those what ifs are crazy making, especially in a time when breast cancer is so prevalent.

  • Amanda August 10, 2017, 9:49 pm

    Hi Jen–
    Thank you for sharing; I know that must have been difficult for you to be so open about your health. I wanted to drop you a comment because I am personally really prone to cysts. I get them all over my body (particularly in my armpits and bikini area). They’re always “harmless” but they’re also uncomfortable and embarrassing for me. I’d recommend following up with your obgyn after the tests to see what they think. If they’re pushing the cyst diagnosis you may want to see a dermatologist. They may be able to treat it in a way that decreases your discomfort. Best of luck <3

    • Jen August 11, 2017, 12:27 pm

      Hi Amanda – this is so helpful. Thank you. I’m definitely not comfortable with the “spot/cyst/whatever it is” the way it is now. I will look into this.

  • Jenn W August 10, 2017, 9:50 pm

    Maybe look into thermography too? Its another tool that can aid in breast cancer detection/prevention. Perhaps that would give you a little more piece of mind since there’s definitely some type of irritation/inflammation there.

    • Jen August 11, 2017, 12:26 pm

      Thank you for this suggestion because the spot is definitely uncomfortable and very tender. I will look into it.

  • Steph August 10, 2017, 10:02 pm

    Thank you so much for writing this! I went through the same situation earlier this year and it is so reassuring to hear your story. I was told that I have normal, albeit dense and lumpy, breasts and that hormones can cause changes in the tissue, but it is worrisome when you have a lump/soreness that persists. It’s very comforting to know I’m not the only one in this boat!

    • Jen August 11, 2017, 12:25 pm

      Hey Steph, you are certainly not alone. I’m sorry you had to go through this and yes, it is worrisome when you’ve gone your whole life without a certain lump/pain/etc and then you are living with it constantly. It’s hard not to let your mind go to crazy places. Praying for you.

  • Jess L August 10, 2017, 10:37 pm

    Cheers to women looking out for themselves and taking an initiative in their health! My beautiful momma, at age 59 3/4 :), found a lump in early July. She called her doctor immediately, even though she had a regualary-scheduled mammo for August. A mammo, ulatrasound, and biopsy soon showed that the lump was cancerous. She will have a lumpectomy next Friday, and her team of doctors is positive that this will be a “small bump in her road”. I’m so thankful she took the brave step to call her doctor, rather than “hope for the best” and wait on it!

    • Jen August 11, 2017, 12:24 pm

      Oh wow Jess. I am sending big prayers to you and your mom and such an important message to act immediately if something is amiss. <3

  • Johanna August 10, 2017, 11:22 pm

    Thank you for sharing! I think it’s so important that people know that no matter what part of your body is bothering you, you should get a professional opinion. I have never had a breast issue but I have had GI issues which people tend to be a little bit embarrassed to discuss but it’s important to talk to your doctors. I’m glad you are ok 🙂

    • Jen August 11, 2017, 12:23 pm

      You are so welcome Johanna. Thanks for your comment and for the support on taking our health seriously.

  • Sarah August 10, 2017, 11:31 pm

    I had a lump removed from my breast when I was only 26. I was told at the time that it was likely benign (and thankfully it was!) but I wasn’t taking any chances. It appeared out of nowhere and thankfully hasn’t returned. I don’t think we should ever feel bad about advocating for our own health and I’m so glad you have some peace of mind!

    • Jen August 11, 2017, 12:22 pm

      Hi Sarah – thank you for sharing your experience. I think it’s helpful for others to know that this can happen at any age and that we are valid in taking these things seriously regardless of age. I’m glad your lump hasn’t returned.

  • Joan August 10, 2017, 11:31 pm

    I recently experienced the exact same thing, and it was always the most tender when I rolled over upon waking up. I thought for sure I had pulled a muscle with kettle bells. Mammogram and sonagram came back with your same results, but those days before testing were the most distracted I have ever been. I did, upon my ob-gyns suggestion, start wearing a bralette to bed and I was fitted at Victoria secret for a different style of bra that dips lower so as not to cut across that area. Both help. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jen August 11, 2017, 12:21 pm

      Hi Joan – I’m sorry to hear you had to go through this as well but glad that it wasn’t anything bad and that you’ve found things to help. Does the spot still bother you?

  • Michelle August 11, 2017, 12:43 am

    Three years ago, my ultrasound found some abnormal lumps in my right breast. I went in for several ultrasounds and mammograms for the next six months until my doctor referred me to a breast surgeon. Long story short, I had the fast growing lump removed. I was so scared, but it was not cancerous. Hurray! It still does not take away the panic and the emotional toll. My heart goes out to the ladies who have breast cancer. It is always on the forefront of my mind.

    • Jen August 11, 2017, 12:20 pm

      Oh wow Michelle, that is a scary experience. I am so relieved for you to hear that it wasn’t cancerous but yes, that emotional toll is real. I agree, breast cancer is so prevalent these days that it’s hard not to worry about it often.

  • Elizabeth August 11, 2017, 12:45 am

    Thanks for making yourself vulnerable and sharing. It will ultimately make you stronger and help someone. It has already helped me.

    • Jen August 11, 2017, 12:19 pm

      Thank you Elizabeth. I so appreciate your comment.

  • Barbara Orts August 11, 2017, 1:04 am

    Hey Jen, I am so glad that everything was good. I had a similar experience, at 33 I went for a regular check up, my doctor noticed a lump and from there it was ultrasound – mammogram-needle biopsy all in a month time. To say I was freaked out is an understatement. I was scared. Everyone kept telling me to relax but you just can’t shake it! I ended having Fibroadenomas, benign condition and I still need to monitor and be vigilant of any changes. I always tell my story to friends that make even a small comment about lumps or weird tenderness…you never know and it’s better to be safe always! Have a great weekend (It’s Friday afternoon here in Australia yay!).

    • Jen August 11, 2017, 12:19 pm

      Hi Barbara – thank you for the well wishes and for sharing your experience. I totally hear you on how tough it is to “just relax.” It’s a scary thing to go through. Enjoy your weekend over there in Australia!

  • Megan August 11, 2017, 7:02 am

    Jen,
    Thank you so much sharing. I bet it’s hard to share something this personal with the “internet” but I just want to let you know I really appreciate the vulnerability. And yes, TGIF!

  • Rachael August 11, 2017, 8:00 am

    Jen, I went through the EXACT same thing last week with the same results! (Just groped myself in my office, and yep, my ridge is still there, too.) Thanks so much for sharing. So glad everything is ok!

    • Jen August 11, 2017, 12:17 pm

      I’m sorry to hear you went through this too Rachael. This spot is still painful and tender. Is yours? What did your doctors say?

      • Rachael August 14, 2017, 1:05 pm

        It’s gotten a bit less tender, but definitely still feels “there.” They said it was a hormonal tissue change and “nothing sinister” – which you can say in your head with a British accent because I’m currently living in London! 🙂 They recommended Omega-3 and Vitamin D supplements. I’m not sure I buy that England’s lack of sunshine is making my boob angry, but hey, can’t hurt to try, eh?

        Thanks for consistently being a must-read blogger for me, Jen!

  • Nitasha August 11, 2017, 8:26 am

    Jen – thank you so much for sharing your story. Three years ago, I found a lump in my left breast and the breast felt so heavy. I also waffled on an appointment but finally saw my doctor who also immediately referred me to an ultrasound and mammogram. Of course this was over Fourth of July weekend so those three days were the longest of my life…I kept saying to myself “I am ‘only’ 27, how is this happening?”. Thankfully, it turned out to be a hematoma related to an incident a month or so prior. I have watched friends and family members go through cancer and cancer scares and it is not a situation I would wish on anyone. Sending you (and everyone dealing with health issues) so much love and healing thoughts. xoxoxo

    • Jen August 11, 2017, 12:17 pm

      Hi Nitasha – thank you for your comment. I’m so glad that your issue ended up not being too serious. I do think that regardless of our age, we should be proactive about our health. Especially when it comes to breast health given how prevalent issues seem to be these days.

  • Ellie August 11, 2017, 9:42 am

    My Mom has been through a million false positives with these. But I had my first at the age of 26 when a broken bone showed a large cyst on my bone. The same day a young patient died of cancer (I work in health care) I got a call to triple check my bone…

    My Mom gave the best advice. She told me this was being an adult. That now i had to take care of my health but it did not mean I was falling apart. That until something was diagnosed… I was healthy. So I try to keep that in mind.

    • Jen August 11, 2017, 12:15 pm

      Thank you so much for that rational point of view Ellie. It’s certainly a good way to keep yourself grounded in the face of unknowing.

  • Kristin August 11, 2017, 10:12 am

    I understand that anxiety (and also relief!). A few months ago my OB found a lump in my breast. It was painless, just lil a breast cancer lump! I’m 30 with no family history, a 1 year old, and had experienced some unwanted weight loss recently. I was absolutely convinced this was it for me.

    I had the whole mammogram/ultrasound experience and felt so anxious. In the end I had to have two biopsies, the procedure didn’t go very well, and I went home in a lot of pain. I was devastated at the possibilities of cancer, and in the end both biopsies were benign.

    Safe to say I’ll be doing self checks now!

    • Jen August 11, 2017, 12:14 pm

      Hi Kristin – oh my gosh, I can’t even imagine how terrifying that must have been for you. I’m so glad to hear that it’s benign and will pray for you it all stays that way. xx

  • Jennifer August 11, 2017, 11:41 am

    I wanted to say thank you for sharing this. It is so important for people to be aware of their bodies, as anyone at any age can have issues. I was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 29, with zero family history. I went through chemotherapy and a mastectomy of the affected breast, as well as all sorts of genetic testing. It’s been 5 years now, and even though I have regular mammograms and meet with doctors that do breast exams 3-4 times a year on top of the mammograms, small pains still give me great worry. I really appreciate when someone with a public forum such as yourself give notice to these types of issues, which will hopefully encourage others to not ignore issues that may be concerning them.

    • Jen August 11, 2017, 12:12 pm

      Hi Jennifer – wow, thank you so much for sharing your story. First, I’m so sorry that you had to go through that. I am inspired by your strength and will pray for your continued recovery. Second, thank you for the support on validating ourselves and our concerns when it comes to our health. I truly think that we know our bodies better than anyone and if something doesn’t feel right, we shouldn’t just push it off. Lots of love to you. <3

  • Rebecca August 11, 2017, 11:50 am

    Glad you got a good report! Health stuff can be so scary, but you are smart to be on top of it!

    • Jen August 11, 2017, 12:10 pm

      Thank you Rebecca!

  • Joanna August 11, 2017, 12:02 pm

    Hi there,
    After having my son, I noticed a lump-ish thing in my boob that got bigger when I was hormonal. Ended up getting it checked out via ultrasound and they thought it was likely nothing. Fast forward a few months and they told me although it was likely nothing, I should maybe get a biopsy done to make sure. I was freaking TERRIFIED waiting for the results, so I totally understand how you felt. It seemed extremely likely that everything was fine, but you never know. I got the results back and it was a benign, very common tumor, but the experience was harrowing to say the least.

    • Jen August 11, 2017, 12:09 pm

      Hey Joanna – that is a scary experience. I am so happy to hear that everything turned out okay in the end. It’s been fascinating to read about the breast tissue of women and how it changes as we age, bear children, etc.

  • Amani Jackson Murray August 11, 2017, 12:26 pm

    Jen thank you so much for posting this! I had something similar happen to me a few years ago – so scary! Glad everything is fine!

  • Lesq August 11, 2017, 2:05 pm

    This is a very serious topic no matter what age we are at. I am concerned that they did not take a biopsy to be certain. I live in NYC and that is routine in these situations. It actually can then tell if it is a fibroid cyst or something that should be tested further. A routine biopsy saved my friends life several years ago. You should ask your on/gym for a breast specialist because they do the biopsies in the hospital and sonograms right in their office. Never to safe with brest health❤️

    • Lyndsay Ward August 11, 2017, 8:07 pm

      I agree w Lesq. If something doesn’t feel right – keep asking questions. You know your body best.

  • Megan August 11, 2017, 3:08 pm

    Thanks for sharing, Jen! I am so glad that it doesn’t seem to be anything serious, but can definitely understand your frustration with the uncertainty of what it actually is. I am praying that an answer comes your way soon! I think it’s very important that things like this are talked about – so many women brush things off as nothing but we need to be much more proactive about our health!

  • Alison D August 11, 2017, 3:50 pm

    Hi! It’s Alison, we met briefly at the Charlotte Marathon — I had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. I’m doing well and am back to running! I’m running the kiawah half in December! I just wanted to give you huge kudos for going to the doctor and asking about it. You never know! And your fears of the mammogram and ultrasound are totally valid!!! We are all worried we’re being dramatic, but it’s some scary stuff. I’m very happy to hear your results are positive. I do hope your doctor can give you more answers. Not having a firm result is not comforting.
    Thank you for sharing your story with us :)!
    Much love and respect,
    Alison

    • Jen August 11, 2017, 3:56 pm

      Alison,

      It is SO WONDERFUL to hear from you and to get an update on how you’re doing! Thank you for your kind and reassuring words. I am wishing for more answers as the spot is just so noticeable and uncomfortable but not even sure how to proceed with that.

      I am hoping to run Kiawah this year as well. I’m so glad you’re back to running. <3

  • JennyV August 11, 2017, 5:08 pm

    Thrilled to hear that all is well!! Now, for that sensation to leave your body completely! 💕

  • Jenna August 11, 2017, 6:07 pm

    I’m so glad you took care of yourself – I spent two years [TWO!] dealing with the emotions and fears [not helped by google] of something wrong with my breasts before I went to the doctor – who immediately sent me for all the work ups and the specialists. The energy I expended on the unknown was draining. It has all worked out fine. I ever so wish – I had acted sooner and not let my fears get in the way.

  • Ann August 11, 2017, 8:37 pm

    Jen-
    First of all, I’m glad you got good news in the end (or at least- no bad news!) I’ve been in your shoes 3 times before, once in college and 2 more times in my 20s. The fear, anxiety and “what ifs” that went through your mind are so familiar to me- but my biggest message to you is GOOD JOB, GIRL! Never ever doubt your intuition and the “what ifs” that come to mind. Always go to the doctor, raise your hand and get attention. Women’s health has come so far and we should all be our biggest advocates- we know our bodies and should never be embarrassed to seek out care, even if it winds up being nothing. I tell everyone I know , GO see your doc as soon as something seems off. You deserve it and seeing your medical provider is self care- it’s putting yourself on the high priority list! I hope your pain clears up and thank you for sharing this story!! Women need to hear from others to know they aren’t alone and we’ve all been there.

  • Caitlin W August 11, 2017, 9:45 pm

    It’s so important to advocate for your own health. Good for you!!

  • Pam Leverette August 12, 2017, 7:21 am

    Thank you Jen for being open and honest and sharing. Breast health needs to be talked about by women in a safe open honest way. I believe you’ve opened the door for conversation on the subject. Very brace of you. Keep being YOU!

  • Hillary Gras August 12, 2017, 9:44 am

    THis feels a little melodramatic to me… my mother is currently recovering from a mastectomy/reconstruction surgery and my aunt is going through chemo AGAIN. Did I mention it’s my moms second fight too? I’m sure you were scared and while I don’t see anything wrong with sharing these thoughts… I think you should be a bit more sensitive to those that are going through actual breast cancer. No scares. Just life. I don’t mean to be rude or mean because I love you as a blogger and I read you every day. For this honesty. Just think about others a little more before you go telling your tale like it’s the most important thing in the world. Just hurts a bit and I was surprised to read this, coming from you.

    • Jen August 12, 2017, 10:36 am

      Hi Hillary,

      I’m glad you shared this. I’m very sorry to hear what is going on with your mother and your aunt. I can’t even imagine what you must be feeling so I can completely understand how my very minor scare would come across as trivial to you.

      Part of why I went back and forth on sharing this was because I didn’t want to come across as melodramatic or that I was minimizing anyone who actually has or is going through a battle with breast cancer. This is why I started the whole story with the disclaimer that everything turned out fine, I NEVER, EVER intended to come across as my situation being the “most important in the world” because I’m no more important than any woman on this planet and there are so many women who are enduring things that are unimaginable all over the world. <3

      The main message that I am trying to get across is to take anything breast related seriously because you never know and early detection is so, so important. Breast cancer is unfortunately so prevalent these days and I think the more that we talk about breast health and prevention, the better…especially among the readership of my blog which is primarily women in their 20s and 30s. If you read through the comments, it’s crazy how many have been impacted at a young age where you’re prone to thinking “it’s nothing.”

      I honestly still don’t have an answer that I am at peace with on my own situation. The spot on my breast is super tender and I feel it constantly. Getting a “we really don’t know but we think you’re fine” answer hasn’t exactly put me at ease. It’s just my hope for all women that we can take our health very seriously and not feel shamed or like we need to minimize health issues.

      I am sending love and prayers to you, your mother and your aunt. I sincerely appreciate you reading and your comment.

      Love,
      Jen

      • Hillary Gras August 13, 2017, 12:04 am

        Hi Jen,
        Thank you for writing back. I think I probably owe you an apology as i, myself, am so sensitive and not at peace with what’s going on around me. It was unfair of me to tell you how to feel or what to share. I appreciate you reiterating your intentions of the post. It might have been lost on me at first read, but I know that you are a very good person who wouldn’t intend on anyone feeling less than.

        Thanks again for the reply, your grace, and keeping my family in your prayers.

  • Duffy August 14, 2017, 12:53 pm

    Love you. That is all.

  • tara August 14, 2017, 2:02 pm

    wow i can so relate. i had a lump removed in college and it was a LONG ordeal. it was all fine but a day before my surgery they called to rescheduled cuz my doctor had a death in the family. it was so frustrating as i had waiting 3 months for this to finally happen! it makes you feel like the whole world should stop for some reason ? fast forward to now and im in the middle of a 2 year go every 6 months for mamo and ultrasound (which i have to pay out of pocket for) to watch a different spot that they are not to sure what it is. it has been a frustrating experience made all the worse by the place i am going (big hospital well respected blah blah blah). They act like its no big deal. I get it they do this every day but for me this is a huge deal. They never seem to know what tests i should get (should they monitor me for a year or 2, etc). Each radiologist feels differently. i had to demand to see one in person once to get them to tell me to my face what it was (maybe hamertoma, maybe not) and what my follow up was. The techs i have had have been good and once i am completed with my 2 year follow up i am going somewhere else. So far all is good which i am thankful for obviously, but i think some of the anxiety we all face comes from a health care industry that acts like its no big deal to go through this. Well it is a big deal to the people going through it ! I am glad for you that it turned out “good enough” because i feel you….not having a firm diagnosis really is frustrating. Note – i had no pain and never could feel anything on my own. things were very deep and everything just feels super bumpy/lumpy anyway ? Thank you for sharing

  • Jess August 15, 2017, 10:14 am

    Thanks for posting Jen. A few weeks ago I had a mammogram and breast MRI which was terrifying to say the least. My mother died at age 36 from Stage 4 breast cancer, and two of her older sisters have died from breast cancer as well. Just a month ago, her third sister was diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer. With my family history, the breast MRI was a preventative measure, as my mother was my age when diagnosed (33). My scans came back clean thank God. Preventative care is self-love.

  • Kara August 17, 2017, 4:07 pm

    I would highly recommend thermography, which I just had done about three weeks ago here in Charlotte and then as a result of that appointment I saw a breast health education specialist. Both are amazing women and very knowledgeable about breast health.

    • Jen August 17, 2017, 4:31 pm

      Hi Kara – can you send me the information on that please? Where you went? Who you saw? My email is jen@peanutbutterrunner.com. Thank you. <3

  • emily August 19, 2017, 3:32 pm

    I am sorry this is happening to you- the worry and stress is too much!!
    Not sure if this could possibly be the cause of the pain- I had it a few years ago on and off- costochondritis- look it up and see if any of this feels similar. Its more of a chest wall thing but you never know- and as much lifting that you do it may just be that! Please keep us posted.

  • emily August 19, 2017, 3:34 pm

    One other thing- Iook up costochondritis pain near breast-

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