Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mastitis, and How Much It Sucks

To say I'm a hypochondriac would be a slight understatement.

Just after Griffin was born, I noticed a spot on my face. It had always been there, or at least it had been there as long as I was really conscious of examining my face for flaws, which is to say AWHILE, and had never really bothered me. Yet suddenly, standing in the bathroom, unwashed, smelly, leaky, hormonal, I was absolutely certain that it was cancer. I rushed to the dermatologist (okay, I waited three weeks for an appointment, but by damn I entered that office quickly yesterday) demanding to have it checked. It was, of course, nothing (or a "subcute-something-blahblah-whatsit" according to the doctor). Ah.

A couple of days ago I was nursing Griffin when I glanced down and noticed a dark brown birthmark on his head, partially hidden in his impressive spread o' baby hair. The five seconds that followed went something like this in my brain: "What the-? A MOLE? Oh sweet jesus, it's melanoma. MY BABY HAS MELANOMA. Did he get too much sun at the pumpkin patch? Did he get ANY sun at the pumpkin patch?!?? Did the sun penetrate through his blanket, his stroller AND his hat and give him cancer at the pumpkin patch??"

Then I poked at it. It smeared. Chocolate. Oops.

So yeah, I get a wee bit neurotic about health issues (especially skin-related stuff - who hates the sun? I do! I do!). Fortunately, 99.99% of the time, my concerns prove to be unfounded.


When that .01% of my worries prove ACCURATE, it basically sends my mental universe into a freefall of "See?? SEE??? I KNEW IT!!" death, destruction, apocalypse, total shittiness

So you can imagine my reaction on Saturday after our trip to the pumpkin patch, when I started feeling a little under the weather - aches, chills, fever, crankiness, and um, WHAT THE HELL is wrong with my right boob??

Mastitis, bitches. That's what.

I kept it together long enough to call a doctor friend and have her call in an antibiotics prescription for me at the pharmacy. No, I will NOT mess around with natural remedies when it comes to my boobs and my precious milk supply. Plus, everything I read said that by the time it had progressed to fever (of 101.5, mind you) it was indeed a full blown infection and therefore required DRUGS! GIVE 'EM!

I'm only a few days into the ten-day prescription, and already feeling fairly normal, save for some residual breast soreness and swelling. But that swelling? See, I've convinced myself that it's an abscess. I am certain that I am in the .5% of women whose mastitis has gone unchecked long enough to develop into an abscess, so of course I will require surgery, etc etc etc crazypants etc. Never you mind that I realized what was happening and started treating it within hours of feeling crappy. Abscess! IT COULD HAPPEN!

Deep breath. Breathe in calm, breathe out stress. Thank you, hypnobirthing.

The ironic part of this is that mastitis is largely caused by milk stasis, which is when there is just TOO MUCH DAMN MILK in the boob and it's not adequately removed by the baby. So even though my kid is ginormous and nurses constantly, even he cannot quell the overproduction in my craaaaazy efficient right boob. I had deliberately not been pumping, or at least not pumping like a crazy fiend like I did with Carter, because I wanted to give myself a break and NOT necessarily ensure such a massive milk supply that I could feed a village of kids. I just wanted enough for one! That's it! So if I didn't pump as much, eventually it would stop producing so much, right?

Wrong, apparently. Or right, but only after said right boob TOTALLY SCREWS YOU in the mastitis department.


Well, this has just been all rainbows and unicorns, now hasn't it? Sorry, folks. It's not me, it's the boob talking.

Miss Mary Sunshine, signing off.


Erica said...

Milk oversupply REALLY sucks. Only people who've had it can appreciate that. It helps to have one of those heat pack things you can throw in the microwave. I had to use it on lumps of milk almost daily. You put the heat where the lump of milk is for a while, then you massage it out. Pop! the extra milk flows out. Helps to do the massage while nursing or pumping and you have to push HARD on the lump. Better to do this all the time than get the infection. ugh. The worst.

Natalie J said...

Urgh - I'm sorry hon. I hope the drugs help. Perhaps you really are destined to provide breast milk to a small country?

As a side note, the chocolate thing cracks me up. Very you!

Sausage Biscuit said...

I love you and your hypochondriatic ways!!! I know I didn't spell it right and I know because it's you, you will correct me! Thanks for the laugh, I know you will live another day very healthy of course! I will call you back tomorrow, sorry very busy day today!