Do I have breast cancer?!!

That was the question that was on my mind as I made my way to my doctor a few years ago.  I had lumps on my left breast and man, were they painful!  I had not needed to do an exam on myself to know that there was trouble in that part of my body.  My boob had started being painful and I noticed a small lump.  I ignored it for a couple of days thinking it was just that time of the month and it would go away.  It did not disappear, but instead grew in size and actually multiplied.

I called my doctor in a panic and made an urgent appointment since I “knew” that this was breast cancer.  My doctor examined my breast and smiled.  He asked how many times I drunk coffee per day.  I said usually just once in the morning and added that it was just instant.  He told me to immediately stop and see what happened within the next few days.  He said he had seen countless women with my condition and it always boiled down to their coffee intake.  I really did not believe him but decided to follow his instruction before seeking help from a better doctor.

I stopped taking coffee immediately, and know what?  The lumps disappeared and I have not had any similar problems since – knock on wood.  Apparently, I was just allergic to coffee.

An interesting thing is that during one of our health sessions at the office, I mentioned this issue and one colleague said she had a similar issue and her doctor had ruled all possible illnesses after a battery of tests.  She said she would stop taking coffee and see what the results were.

On a different but related matter:

As usually happens when one is well, I forgot about my intolerance to coffee and started taking it again.  What happened in January last year?  I started getting jittery and jumpy whenever I took coffee and I diagnosed myself as being intolerant to coffee and I cut it out of my life.  I started taking tea only and things were fine until a couple of months ago. I became intolerant to tea as well and was exhibiting signs similar to those I had when I took coffee. I stopped taking tea for a few weeks and I was fine.

I did not believe that I had to stop taking tea as well, so I decided to check whether I was really intolerant to tea and drank a cup one day.  A colleague came to my office shortly after that cup, took one look at me and asked if I was OK.  I said I was and asked what the problem was.  She said I was jittery and shaking.  Well, I diagnosed myself  again and decided that I am not just intolerant to coffee and tea, per se, but to caffeine.  I have stopped taking tea completely and have not had any jittery experience again.

I wonder why  people (OK, in this case I am talking about myself) can sometimes be so forgetful as to do something we know can harm us.  I hope I do not forget my caffeine intolerance and indulge in just that one cup of coffee or tea.


20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. leggypeggy
    Jan 13, 2015 @ 09:57:15

    I never knew coffee could have such an effect. Thanks for the info, and very pleased for you that the solution was so simple.


    • leggypeggy
      Jan 13, 2015 @ 09:59:38

      By the way, your issues may be related to caffeine, and perhaps you would be okay drinking decaffeinated tea and coffee. Only important if you crave the flavours.


  2. Pecora Nera
    Jan 07, 2015 @ 21:43:16

    This is amazing. I am pleased it wasn’t the big C. Mrs S was diagnosed with the big C 7 years ago. She is very brave and goes on with life as normal. I know if it was me I would now be an alcoholic and a gibbering wreck.


    • Zambian Lady
      Jan 07, 2015 @ 22:25:35

      I am sorry to hear that Mrs S had the dreaded C and hope that she is doing well now. Too bad no one told me about the possibility of alcoholism to deal with with scary news back then. I may have handled the stress better 🙂


  3. jesusknowsmyname
    Jan 05, 2015 @ 17:21:37

    I think as human beings we need to become more knowledgeable as to what is in the food we eat and learn what the ingredients are doing to our bodies, whether harmful or benefiting our health. I had not heard of caffeine causing lumps in the breast, so good info here. I think the medical profession is more in the business of treating illness rather in preventing it. We need to educate ourselves in regards to healthy eating habits– however, I don’t always make the best choices myself.


  4. kay ~
    Dec 28, 2014 @ 21:27:32

    Oh, Zambian Lady, been there, done that! I went to the doctor one time and she asked if I examined my own breasts. I said no because they were always lumpy inside and I couldn’t tell what was what. She asked if I drank coffee or coke or ate chocolate. I said, yes, coke AND chocolate. She said stop and the lumps would disappear. Next time I went to see a doctor, he asked me the same question. I told him the same thing, but didn’t tell him the caffeine story. He checked them and said there were absolutely NO lumps. Then I told him about the previous doctor and that I had quit the caffeine. He wouldn’t acknowledge it. I think they all know it, Zambian Lady, but only some will tell the truth.


    • Zambian Lady
      Dec 31, 2014 @ 17:34:50

      I am glad that the lumps disappeared. I wonder why we are sometimes not given the full information – is it because the doctor may be busy or just has forgotten to mention it as there are more deadly causes e.g. cancer?


  5. Angelia Sims
    Dec 28, 2014 @ 00:38:50

    I feel that way about sugar. I am intolerant. It makes me gain fat. And yet, I go back to it again and again. It’s crazy! Glad you figured out what was wrong. I hope you can stay away. Did you try decaf?


    • Zambian Lady
      Dec 28, 2014 @ 10:49:51

      I tried decaf tea and it did not taste like tea at all. Maybe I will try another brand or decaf coffee, but from what I have heard none taste like the real thing 😦 I used to love my sugar with tea (not tea with sugar), but have managed to reduce it a lot such that I can not even eat Twix now as my teeth start hurting.


  6. Dalo 2013
    Dec 27, 2014 @ 17:06:55

    Interesting ~ and also good news… I would miss coffee so much if I could not drink it, but I think the aroma would be satisfying as well.


  7. JoAnne Silvia
    Dec 26, 2014 @ 16:58:32

    Sprite and 7 up don’t have caffeine, though they do have a lot of sugar. I’d drink coffee a lot if my body wasn’t sensitive to it. I love the aroma of coffee. Enjoy, Kate!


  8. Kate Loveton
    Dec 26, 2014 @ 13:16:18

    Oh, wow – coffee is my life’s blood! (grin) I hope I never develop an intolerance for it. Interesting post.


  9. JoAnne Silvia
    Dec 26, 2014 @ 04:42:20

    I’m glad you found this out! So many people don’t realize that caffeine is a drug found in coffee, tea and sodas. I quit years ago due to pain in my breasts and bladder, which went away without the caffeine.. I do drink tea now and then and it is very powerful without tolerance. A cup of tea can eliminate an occasional headache, but it wouldn’t work like that if I drank it daily. I just have to remember not to drink anything with caffeine late in the day, or I’ll be up half the night. During those times, If I need some energy and can’t take a nap, I make sure I’ve had enough water and healthy food, then do a little exercise with deep breathing.


    • Zambian Lady
      Dec 26, 2014 @ 13:05:17

      I did not know that sodas have caffeine. I will have to watch that as well, though thankfully, I rarely take sodas. Thanks for sharing about the bladder issues as well – something else I did not know.


  10. Sharon Greene
    Dec 26, 2014 @ 01:55:34

    So what did you replace caffeine with? It is like a drug – a cup of coffee in the morning to wake up and a cup of tea later to (supposedly soothe you) or relax.


    • Zambian Lady
      Dec 26, 2014 @ 13:07:14

      Thankfully for me, I was not addicted to caffeine. I just took the coffee and tea as part of my breakfast because that is what I was brought up on. It was easy to switch to warm milk and chocolate though I do not like the latter.


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