Breastfeeding and Breast Cancer Blog

From breastfeeding to being diagnosed with breast cancer and then back to breastfeeding. This is an account of my experiences.

Friday, December 29, 2006

It's DCIS, You Need a Surgeon

I got the call just before the New Year's Holiday weekend.  You have an early cancer and you need a surgeon.  I was surprised and quickly moved into research mode.  I had her spell Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS) more than once.  I had just spent more time at the doctor's in the last two weeks than I had spent in the last four years probably!  The last thing I wanted to do was see more doctors, and a surgeon, that sounded like a terrible idea.  I wanted to get back to my life as a mom, wife, daughter and be done with this experiment.

Because it was a holiday weekend, I couldn't do anything in terms of setting up an appointment.  I sat in front of our computer and researched almost all day for three days.  I learned as much as I could about breast cancer and DCIS.  I quickly realized that DCIS doesn't usually present with a lump and that there was almost no information about breastfeeding and breast cancer.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

It's Probably Nothing

That's what my doctor told me, but went ahead and scheduled a mammogram for me.

I couldn't imagine how this potentially 3-4 hour appointment was going to fit into my life. It actually fell on one of my mom's surgery dates.  I called and rescheduled.

Next, I had it scheduled for early December, but ended up with an intestinal bug and rescheduled again.

Finally, the week before Christmas, my husband had off and could accompany me and my still nursing toddler for the long day.

I ended up with an ultrasound, a mammogram, a fine needle biopsy of my tiny lump and a core needle biopsy of some suspicious clusters of microcalcifications. At each point I was reassured, it's probably nothing.

I got the call from the radiologist after my appointment.  The microcalcifications were nothing to be concerned about.  The fine needle biopsy from my lump was inconclusive.  She encouraged me to come back later, after the New Year, not to worry.

Being that my husband was still on vacation and I figured it would all be easier, I went back right away.  I had a core needle biopsy of the lump area to be sent off for more testing.

After each of these uncomfortable tests, I was told that the next step was to bind my breasts.  Each day at the clinic I was regularly confronted with the fact that I am breastfeeding.  I nursed before each procedure as well as we could.  I was cautious about drugs they might offer me.  Even the angle and placement of each needle and core needle (gun like thing) was to preserve the breastfeeding relationship.  Finally I declined the binding.  I didn't want yet another breast problem to worry about.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Lump

My life has changed from a pretty normal life of a stay a home mom to a new life. Each day I get my son off to school, get my toddler and myself ready for the day and head over to the hospital for the day. Once school is almost out, I race home to pick up my son. In the beginning, most evenings are spent back at the hospital.

It becomes an exhausting existence attempting to care for my own family and my broken parents. My sleeping patterns are not good. There is too much on my mind.

This night was particularly wakeful. My nursing toddler seemed to need me more than usual. As I awoke in the morning, my finger rested upon my right breast.  Somehow I touched this one spot and felt a tiny lump.  It reminded me of a dried pea.  As I had been a breastfeeding mother for almost seven years, I knew what was normal for my breasts. In addition I was a lactation counselor and felt like an expert. This small lump needed attention.

I called that morning and was given an 11:00am appointment. I told them it was perfect, I would stop by on my way to the hospital.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Beginning

It's an average Sunday.  I'm sure I did some laundry, played with my kids, probably read some books, and checked my email.  These parts of the day I don't recall.  My children are ages 2 1/2, a girl and 6 1/2, a boy. At about seven in the evening, the phone rings. A woman identifies herself as a social worker at the hospital.  She informs me that my parents have been hit by a car and would like me to come to the hospital. My only question was, were they in a car?  The answer was simply no. I thanked her and hung up.

I called me sister and we decided we would both head over to the hospital to see what was up. My young two year old nursling would accompany me. 

At the hospital, it became clear that while the accident was not the worst case senario, it was far from the best. I met my sister in the hall and she looked upset. I asked if they were broken and bloody and she said yes;  we hugged. What I would later learn is that there had been a multiple car accident involving a missed red light.  The van which struck them was out of control.  My parents both had multiple broken bones, abrasions, and head wounds. It would be a long recovery.