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  • NicoleDeRosa

My Abnormal MRI + Breast Needle Biopsy

Updated: May 25, 2023



I had some unexpected news last month as I was checking off all my health appointments for the new year, starting with an annual mammogram. Like many women, I have dense breast tissue coupled with the fact that my Mama Joy had carcinoma in situ + a lumpectomy performed on both of her breasts (20 years apart) My Aunt also recently had the same.

Since there is a family history, my doctor, the lovely Dr. Harriet wanted me to have a follow up Breast MRI after my Mammogram + an Ultrasound. There was nothing suspicious on either, but just to be on the safe side + because of the family history, I was qualified to have an MRI.

I had a Breast MRI performed on January 20th which revealed an abnormality that required a biopsy. I read my MRI report....

The word ABNORMALITY became 3D, hovering off the paper, getting larger + larger as it moved closer toward my eyeline.

The only way that you can be sure that the abnormality is benign (not cancer) is to sample or surgically remove the area of concern + have it reviewed for pathological analysis.

My incredible breast surgeon, Dr. Harriet called me and presented me with the option to either do another MRI in six months or go ahead + have a needle biopsy performed. I immediately said, "let's do the needle biopsy." I surprised myself with how quickly I answered Dr. Harriet, but honestly it wasn't even a struggle...Why would anyone wait?

Let's get this sh*t done! After I agreed, I hung up the phone + then tried to "panic process" what just happened.

My Mama Joy was able to put me at ease. She had a needle biopsy twice + she told me that I won't feel anything since they numb the breast. I knew, if she could do it, then I certainly could do it too. What also helped me tremendously was that I refrained from googling + looking anything up online about the procedure which is SO unlike me. I usually research the sh*t out of anything + everything thanks to my clinical OCD but not this time!

This past Monday, February 6th, I had a MRI Breast Needle Biopsy on my right breast. Since I had not slept a wink...I already had a lovely pounding migraine the morning of the procedure. My head hurt so much, that the migraine more or less kept my mind numb of any intrusive thoughts. I was on autopilot at that point putting one foot in front of the other.

We got to the hospital, checked in...insurance, paperwork, yadda yadda...all the things...I finally found myself face down on the padded scanning table where my lovely nurses, Jenny + Josephine helped me get in the proper position so that my breast fit into a hollow depression in the table. In a few moments a very large needle would be inserted into my breast. Your breast is mildly compressed. This test also requires intravenous contrast administration (contrast material given through your vein).

Nurse Jenny asked me what music I would like played during the procedure. Instead of tropical or relaxing zen music, I said, "How about some dance or pop music?!"

The thoughts that went through my mind at this point consisted of....

"Why does this MRI machine have to beep so f*cking loud?! It's drowning out Britney Spears who is actually calming me down right now!!!"

"Who designed this machine?"

"Isn't there an engineer that can make these machines not be so triggering with all these beeping + alarm sounds?!?"

"You got this, Nicole! Just stay still. It will be over soon. Shake it off..."

And just like that, Taylor Swift began singing "Shake It Off" faintly into my ear. As I sang along, I felt more at ease...apologies to everyone in radiology for my vocal rendition.

Having the radiologist play music is the only saving grace during an MRI, but the machines are so loud making these jarring alarm sounds that would make my body jump at the sound of them going off and on the whole time. Now add the pressure of being told, "DO NOT MOVE, NICOLE...NOT EVEN A MILLIMETER or we will unfortunately have to start all over again."

The MRI machine provides images that help determine the exact location for the biopsy. Following the administration of local anesthesia, a small incision less than 1/4-inch long (about 5 millimeters) is made to allow the core needle to be inserted. Several samples of tissue are taken + sent to a lab for analysis. Sampling takes a few minutes.

I tried to relax + honestly at this point, I was so exhausted from not sleeping that I tried to take somewhat of a nap. Once Dr. Harriet numbed my breast, I hardly felt anything after that. I actually said out loud,

"Wait. What? It's done?! You did it?! I was so scared this was going to be so painful but my migraine hurt more than the needle!!"

The overall exam table time was about 30-45 minutes. Before I knew it, I was off the table getting dressed + being wheeled upstairs for a post biopsy Mammogram. At the time of the breast biopsy, a small titanium marker or clip was placed in my breast at the biopsy site. This is done so that if a biopsy shows cancer cells or precancerous cells, your doctor or surgeon can locate the biopsied area + remove more of the surrounding breast tissue surgically (known as the surgical or excisional biopsy). If the core needle biopsy shows no concerning findings, this marker/clip allows the radiologist to closely monitor the area on future imaging studies.

The days in between were the worst, allowing my mind to wander with all kinds of intrusive thoughts. Mama Joy and I continued binge watching five seasons of Alias on Disney+ which definitely helped take my mind off things. Luckily receiving the results only took a day and a half.

Dr. Harriet called and in her sweet, warm + comforting voice said something to the effect of, "I have some glorious, spectacular, amazing, incredible news for you, Nicole! It is not cancer. The final pathology (results) show that you had a fibroadenoma."


What is a

FIBROADENOMA?




A fibroadenoma (fy-broe-ad-uh-NO-muh) is a solid breast lump. This breast lump is not cancer. A fibroadenoma happens most often between ages 15 and 35. But it can be found at any age in anyone who menstruates. A fibroadenoma often causes no pain. Reproductive hormones may cause fibroadenomas.

A fibroadenoma feels like a firm, smooth, or rubbery lump in the breast with a well-defined shape. It's painless and moves easily when touched. However, I never even felt anything there. It was the Breast MRI that picked it up. Although healthy breast tissue often feels lumpy, a new lump or change in the breasts should be looked at by a doctor. Treatment may include monitoring for changes in the size or feel, a biopsy to evaluate it or surgery to remove it.

If you are curious to see what a MRI-guided breast needle biopsy entails, you can watch the video below:



A few days

LATER...


It's been about four days now since the needle biopsy and I have to say, the whole thing was not bad at all. This is coming from your girl (me) who has never had any prior surgeries (...knock on wood) or procedure of this nature. I kept an ice pack on the site for 30 minutes on/off the first couple days and tomorrow I'll remove the bandage + shower. I return in May for a 4 month follow up Mammogram + Ultrasound so Dr. Harriet can closely monitor the area. This is where that small titanium marker or clip that was placed in my breast at the biopsy site comes in handy.

I wanted to share my experience, because I don't want anyone else to freak out too much when they get a letter that says "abnormal" after a Mammogram, MRI or Ultrasound etc. Be consistent and don't put off your routine appointments. The sooner things are found, the better AND most likely more treatable.

I just watched this video by a girl named, Ashley Nikasia. Although, my experience was a bit different in that my MRI scan found the fibroadenoma. I never felt a lump or had any pain like Ashley, so I want to share her story below as well. Thank you Ashley for sharing your experience! xo


Please don't delay your health checkups. Be proactive! To me, it's even more stressful to put it off than just get it done and check it off your list. I don't like to give my mind unnecessary time to wander around to a negative place + you shouldn't either.



For more resources + information about

BREAST HEALTH,

check out my other post here.

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