Here's a clinical description:
Cysts are fluid filled sacs within the breast. These sacs form when normal milk producing glands enlarge. The cause of this enlargement is not definitely known but is very likely related to an imbalance between the normal production and absorption of fluid. Breast cysts may be solitary but are most commonly multiple and can vary in size from microscopic to larger than a ping pong ball.
And let's just say, I was hitting the ping pong edge of the scale.
Today I went to the specialist breast clinic at my local hospital. (Yes, they call it a breast clinic, which I think is kinda funny). I was seen by a male nurse practitioner. Pretty much not all the kind of person I wanted to see. I would have preferred a female doctor, but there you are. The guy had a nice manner about him though and he seemed kinda gay. Don't know if he actually was gay or just affected the slightly gay thing, regardless it was somewhat reassuring.
There's the usual waiting and undressing and breast touching and so forth and then he told me he was going to stick a needle in my breast. I think I made a bit of a face, because he went all touchy-feely and stuff and asked me if it was a problem and did I need the other nurse to hold my hand? I assured him that I wasn't needle-phobic (I'm not) and that I'd be ok. I think they expected me to flip and the other nurse did hold my hand. I'm not the kind of person who finds that sort of thing comforting, but I was too worried about offending her and maybe it's part of their tactic to get in there and hold down a flailing arm if they need to.
Sticking a needle in the old breast tissue doesn't sound good, but it didn't actually hurt. In fact, it was far less painful than a blood draw, way less painful than getting your ears pierced or getting a tattoo. I'd wholeheartedly recommend it to even the most pain sensitive. They didn't even administer any pain relief - and a lydocaine shot almost certainly would have been more painful than the actual procedure.
The aspiration took a while because he pulled out five syringes (58ml) worth of instant-ice tea colored fluid from the cyst. Nasty. But when I saw them all lined up on the little stainless steel hospital trolley I said "I wish I'd brought my camera."
Because I was thinking of you, dear reader.
I'd been led to believe that the needle thing was to be diagnostic, but it turned out to be curative (hopefully). But the best part about the whole episode was that their "calming technique" was basically asking me questions about me. I was happy to comply.