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.
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.
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.