- Lindsey Gritton said she was misdiagnosed as a clogged milk duct when she was 34 weeks pregnant.
- After applying for an ultrasound, Gritton said she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.
- She said she wanted other young women to know the importance of supporting themselves.
Lindsey Gritton said she was 34 weeks pregnant with her second daughter when she began to feel a burning sensation under her right armpit and outside her right breast in April. The burning came and went, she said, but continued for about a week. Soon after, the 29-year-old said she discovered a lump on the outside of the right side of her breast, the size of a small ball.
Gritton said the lump resembled a clogged milk duct she had in her first pregnancy, but this one was a little different as she couldn’t unblock it herself and the pain was persistent. She made an appointment with her gynecologist, who told her it was most likely a clogged milk duct causing mastitis, i.e. inflammation of the breast tissue. The doctor prescribed her antibiotics, but Gritton said she was still skeptical.
Gritton recalls his doctor saying, “I’ve seen this a thousand times. I have so many people with this problem when they are pregnant. “
“And I just knew what a blocked drain looked like,” said Gritton. “I knew in the back of my head that it wasn’t it anyway.”
Gritton said she insisted on having an ultrasound even after her doctor told her she was too young to be cancer. “She didn’t even want to do an ultrasound. I just had to ask for it. I thought, “I really need an ultrasound because I’m really worried about that,” she said.
Gritton said that when she came in for an appointment a few days later, she knew from the ultrasound technician’s face that something was wrong.
“She kept going through it with her little wand and stared at the screen. They can’t tell you anything, but I could just tell from the look on her face that it just wasn’t good, “she said.
She said her ultrasound results showed a high probability of cancer, and a biopsy a week later confirmed she had invasive ductal carcinoma. She said doctors told her the cancer had probably already spread due to the size of the tumor. However, they couldn’t know for sure until they got a PET scan, which wasn’t possible when Gritton was pregnant because of the radioactive tracers used in the scan, which could expose unborn babies to radiation.
Gritton’s pregnancy was triggered a week later, she said, three weeks before the original due date. After giving birth, she said a PET scan confirmed she had stage 4 cancer that had spread to her liver. She started chemotherapy two weeks later.
Gritton is hopeful despite his diagnosis
Gritton said she had been undergoing chemotherapy for four months and had treatment every three weeks. She said she felt happy living close to her husband’s family in Gainesville, Georgia, who look after the children from time to time.
Gritton said she hoped chemotherapy could eliminate most of her cancer. Her latest scans showed 80% were gone, she said.
Praying for herself saved her life
Gritton said she wants women to know the importance of advocacy for themselves when they are concerned about their health.
“If I hadn’t been defending myself, I don’t even think I’d be here today. Because from what they told me about my blood work and so on, my liver was already failing, ”she said.
She said young women should also have regular breast cancer screening tests, especially when they are pregnant.