Not good.

If you’re reading this in a feedreader or just arriving to Toddler Planet, please read yesterday’s post first.  It will make more sense.

Not good.

The odds are not good, friends.

I began to realize while writing that last post that perhaps I ought to put myself out there and go get checked out.  Yes, I’m 34.  Well below 40.  And yes, I’m breastfeeding.  The baby is only 5 months old, so I don’t intend to stop anytime soon.

But younger women CAN have mammograms.  And breastfeeding women CAN have mammograms.  It just takes a little extra expertise for the mammographer and doctor to read them. 

And, well, I have a problem.

My right breast … doesn’t work.

I’ve always joked around with my husband and friends about “the girls,” proudly proclaiming that these, THESE are WORKING boobs!  They certainly are.  They fed my oldest child for 15 months.  15 months, my friends.  That’s some hard working ta-tas!

But this time around … the right one didn’t work.  Nothing I could say or do (or sing or dance) would convince my newborn to take it.  The doctor, the nurse, the lactation consultant all had ideas … but none of the ideas worked.  I tried them.  Oh, I tried them!  I kept trying (and pumping) for the first four months of Little Bear’s life.  And then I gave up.  On the advice of my lac consultant, I stopped pumping the right one and let it go back to normal.

But it didn’t.

It changed, yes.  But it didn’t shrink.  And it didn’t soften.  Instead (WARNING – graphic content ahead) it hardened.  In places.  It dimpled.  It ached.  And the surface?  Ewwww, it looks (and feels) like an orange peel, in places.  Lumps, dimples, texture, and all.  In fact, it had been getting that way for quite some time, but I really hadn’t noticed.  I’ve been so concerned about the baby’s latch and feeding expertise, I kind of forgot to consider that it might be me.  It’s looked funny for a while, and it’s getting stranger and more orange-peely and lumpy.  And now?  No milk.  None at all.  It’s an official nonworking boob.

And it feels funny.

So I hightailed it to my OB, who happened to have an appointment open up today, and went in, asking him to reassure me that all was normal and this is just one of those things that can happen upon weaning.

Um, no.

It’s not.  He’s never seen skin changes and lumps like this before in a lactating or weaning woman.  And he’s also never seen a case of one working and one nonworking, where the working one is able to support a 5 month old child singleboobedly.  But he says good luck and more power to me for sticking to it, especially in light of the dietary challenges.  And then he wrote me a referral to a specialist.  And said to go next week.  If I can’t get an appointment, he’ll get one for me.  It’s important that I go.  And who was this specialist?  Not a lac consultant.  A specialist down at the Breast Center. 

I go next week to get a diagnosis of my own.

It wasn’t until I sat down at my computer and looked up the address for the Breast Center, located at one of our local hospitals, that I realized that I had actually been referred to a Breast CANCER Center.  The specialist is actually a breast cancer surgeon. 

I don’t know how to end this post.

16 Responses to Not good.

  1. Amy says:

    Oh my goodness. How scary.

    I found some info at Kellymom that may or may not help:

    For what it’s worth, my left one has always produced better, too. Through two kids. But righty has never stopped. Now that I’m tandem nursing, I nurse the baby on lefty 95% of the time, and the toddler on righty, figuring that she doesn’t need much.

    It seems to me that if the skin changes have come on quickly (in the less than 5 months since the baby’s birth), then it should probably be something related to nursing, and not… the other thing.

    Look up “inflammatory breast cancer.” Knowledge is power. I’m not trying to scare you.

    I am praying for you.

  2. Robbin says:

    While I was expecting my son, I developed a lump in my right breast. I was in and out of the Liesolette Tansey Center five times having it monitored. Ultimately, it just, well, vanished. Will be thinking of you.

  3. I’m a lactation consultant. Having one breast that doesn’t produce well is very common. Your other symptoms are a concern. Seeing the specialist is the right next step. Knowledge is power.

    I’ll be holding you close in my thoughts.

  4. canape says:

    I’ll be waiting and praying right along with you.

  5. Oh. I don’t know what to say. Just that I will be thinking of you and awaiting news, and that most likely that news will be good news.


  6. edj says:

    I had a huge lump develop 9 months after I weaned the twins. I went to my dr, who zipped me off for a mammogram and sent me to a specialist. But it vanished as suddenly as it had come. Freaked me (and my husband) out though.
    I’ll pray too. Keep us posted. Hang in there!

  7. whymommy says:

    Thank you. I am a wreck. Each of your comments is so sustaining … all advice, experience, etc. is very very welcome right now.

    All I can do is sit here and fret. Not like me at all.

  8. Stimey says:

    Whymommy, I’ll be thinking of you. Not knowing is one of the scariest things. Please let me know if I can do anything (at all!!!) for you. Babysitting, meals, anything…

  9. Oh my, I don’t know what to say. I wish I had a story to share or encouraging words. All I can say is that I, along with many others are thinking of you and wish you well.

  10. I’ll be thinking of you.

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  12. APL says:

    Just want you to know you’re in my thoughts…

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