Sign up to a GP at uni, you never know when you’ll need it.

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I’ve been at University for 2 years now. I’m entering my 3rd year and for all of this time i’ve never bothered signing up to a GP surgery here. I’m never seriously sick, I very often get viral things and colds but rarely anything that would require an actual appointment with a professional. The first thing I wish someone had told me was sign up to GP at uni; never say you never get seriously sick.

I’m going to go into some detail about symptoms I’ve been suffering with recently so if you don’t want to hear about it don’t read it. Over the last few months I’ve been suffering from infrequent stabbing pains in the top of my right breast. At first I thought it was just a pulled muscle or something, or one of those random stabs of pain that occasionally come in your body and then never come again. But over the last few days it became more frequent happening every 30 minutes or so for 5 minutes i’d have a combination of a dull ache and stabbing pains in the exact same spot. The pain lessened when I pushed hard into the area that seemed to be the epicentre of the problem. I googled the issue, as most people do, and the internet told me that the pain is usually felt in post menopausal women (definitely not me) which only made me more confused. The next thing i googled in a panic was ‘symptoms of breast cancer’. 0 to 100 right? However much to my relief, and another thing I wish someone had told me, breast pain alone is not a common symptom of breast cancer. However whilst realising that pain was not a symptom i began to panic that I may have other symptoms that I hadn’t noticed before this point.

I began to do hourly breast lump checks (something that everyone should do once a month) but I didn’t really know what a cancerous lump felt like. I could feel all the milk ducts and mammory glands and panicked that I could not tell the difference between these and a lump. The breast cancer website states that a concerning lump should be painless, immobile and solid. This did not help me as everything I seemed to stumble across was all of the above. So either I’m going to die in literally 5 minutes or I don’t know what i’m looking for. I settled for checking the other breast and making sure that all the lumps and bumps I was finding were in both breasts (not reccommended or fool proof but it ruled out any obvious anomalies) I then lay on my back to flatten out my breasts and felt around that way as I thought that by flattening them any major lumps would be more likely to be visible that way. I know both of these methods would most likely not help to show up any issues any more than just checking normally but it settled my mind slightly that there were no glaring issues. I also checked my nipples which seemed normal and there are no dimples or change in shape. Another thing I wish someone told me was how to perform a proper breast examination.

Upon further research beyond the panicked cancer possibility i found that the combined pill that I take Rigevidon sometimes causes breast pain and soreness. However I have been on this pill for 2 1/2 years now and have never experienced any such pains before. It is also reported that most women complain of breast pain within the first month of taking the pill and it sorts itself out as the body gets used to the change in hormones the pill forces. So that was not exactly a fit either. Another common reason for breast pain seemed to be an ill fitting bra. However, I was measured quite recently and the bra i’ve been wearing is my perfect size. I did try changing my bra today and I did not have any stabbing pain although upon touching my breast it felt slightly more tender than my left. I will continue to wear different bras to test this as a potential cause. I wish someone had told me just how much getting the correct bra size affected the body.

I’ve now signed up to the nearest doctors surgery and am going in tomorrow to confirm my ID and book an appointment ASAP. I know I should have done this earlier because if it is something malicious it’s better not to leave it but I was signed up to a GP at home where my mum had my pill ordered on repeat subscription and they knew when I was going to run out and they always reordered it for me without me having to ask. It was such a convenient set up but convenience is no reason to risk my life. I really hope it’s a simple solution of burning that one bra or changing my contraception. I also hope I don’t have to have a blood test, i hate needles, I’ve never had one before and I have an irrational fear that the needle will go straight through my vein or they won’t be able to find a vein and will have to draw blood from my foot or something… I wish someone had told me a positive experience whilst having a blood test.

I will update soon.

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