Noni Khumalo

I Found A Lump In My Breast

“She can’t compete with what I was born into.”

These are the famous words of Anna Shay, my favourite cast member on Bling Empire. Watching this series on Netflix last Friday with Piggy was the only thing that mattered that day. Watching people with unnecessary wealth brings me so much joy – I kid you not.

Highly invested in the series, I randomly started scratching my right breast. I took a quick glimpse at it and saw what seemed to be some discolouration on it. I took a deeper look and started pressing my breast.

Then I felt a lump!

First confused, I asked Piggy to feel it. As soon as he could feel it too, his eyes opened wide. I jumped up and ran into the main house, thinking about a strategy to tell my mother. My mom is overly sensitive, and always thinks of the worst-case scenario before you tell her everything.

I casually walked into my parent’s bedroom and said to my mom: “Don’t panic”. In hindsight, that was probably the worst thing to say to her. Her facial expression changed immediately. I quickly walked up to her and asked her to feel my breast – she lost it.

Without hesitation she called Flora Clinic and asked if I cannot see a specialist. They informed her that I would first have to go to a general practitioner who will then refer me to a specialist. We called our local clinic and asked for their earliest appointment that afternoon.  My preferred GP was not around but luckily, we got an appointment with a stand-in doctor. I instantly took a shower and cried my eyes out, hoping Piggy wouldn’t hear me. He kept asking if I was okay and I kept telling him that I was fine. He obviously knew I wasn’t, but I tried to convince him that gangsters don’t cry.   

I got ready, and off we went!

Piggy had some errands to run so he dropped me off for my consultation. I sat in the waiting room for a while until I heard a voice shout: Miss Khumalo”.

I walked into the consultation room and got straight to the point. The doctor asked me to lie on the bed while he called in a female assistant into the room. He examined my breast and kept on nodding his head whenever he felt the lump.

“Do you know how to check your breast for lumps?”

 The doctor asked. In embarrassment, I responded with a shy, “No”. He told me the following:

  1. Lie on your back
  2. Place your less dominant hand on your right nipple
  3. Check for abnormalities by using your dominant hand to apply light pressure against each quadrant of the right breast
  4. Do likewise on the left breast

He noted that I need to check my breasts for lumps at least once every 3-5 months. I got dressed and the female assistant left.

The doctor seemed very calm as he reached out for the prescription note. I jumped off the bed and sat down on a chair. “Is there anything I need to worry about”, I asked him. He told me that what he found in my breast is normal, but also not normal. It is normal in the sense that roughly 6/10 women my age experience such, but it is not normal because it is a lump and it must be removed.

He called it: fibroadenoma.

Solid, noncancerous breast lumps that occur most often in women under 30. The cause of fibroadenomas is unknown and if a fibroadenoma has any abnormalities, a doctor may recommend surgical removal.

I suddenly felt relieved and was back to my normal self. While the doctor was taking down his notes, I asked him about his background. He told me that he is a trauma doctor and is assisting clinics since there are fewer trauma cases in the country. I then got asked what I do for a living, and I told him that I am a freelancer in the entertainment and digital space. He looked at me confused and asked me if I am a DJ. I chuckled and politely said, “No”. He told me to go and get a real job and do people’s taxes.

I burst out in laughter and told him that he sounds exactly like my mother. The consultation ended, I thanked the doctor, and I walked out feeling a lot lighter and more informed.  

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