Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge Day 21--Wise Words

Day 21- Most recent words of wisdom you heard that have stuck with you

"Don't worry. Don't google.  Don't panic." <--echoed from all my friends & family

I hope I can hold onto those words.

In September, I found a lump in my boob.  That's 9 months ago.

I went to the OBGYN, he decided to wait & see, it felt bigger (by millimeters) a month later, so I went back.  He referred me to a mammogram & ultrasound.  The radiologist there wasn't able to get a clear picture of the lump, but decided it was probably a swollen milk duct.  That's what it looked like to him.

So, we went on the wait & see approach a little longer.  Then I got antsy & decided that I didn't like that answer and asked for a 2nd opinion.

So, then I went to Norfolk Surgical and Dr. S.  He DID find the lump on an ultrasound.  He said that it was worth biopsy-ing but that because I am nursing and don't have any plans of weaning, that it could wait up to 18 months (until Vinnie turns 2).  This was 4 months ago.

For a while I was okay with his wait & see approach.  Then, Tim's grandma got breast cancer.  (His mom is a survivor working on her 5 years cancer-free.)  And an old college friend who had been fighting breast cancer for several years lost her fight, leaving her four year old son without his mommy.

And, I decided I NEED to know what is in my boob.

So, I called Dr. Morgan & Dr. S & asked them for the referral I needed to go see another doctor.  BUT, they wouldn't give it to me.  WTF? Right?

So, next step, call the lactation consultant, maybe she can help.

And, boy am I glad I did!!  Stacey Kucharzik, came to my rescue.  She recommended a doctor who she knew to be willing to work with lactating breasts and I made an appointment.  Within the week I was seen by Dr. G.

Dr. G did a physical exam and an ultrasound exam.  What she found was worrisome to her but not overly.  She still felt like it was probably nothing, but that it definitely needed further testing.  So, she referred me to Sentara Virginia Beach Comprehensive Breast Center.  They are boob experts.

Dr. G also found that my thyroid was enlarged/swollen and possibly had nodules.  So, she sent me to the hospital for an ultrasound of that as well.

I had both of those follow-up ultrasounds today.

This is a copy & paste of what happened:

"The prognosis went from, "Most likely nothing" to "Still a chance that it is nothing." 
This is how the appointment went:
1-the lump is not round, if it were that would mean likely something harmless, it is not2-the lump is taller than it is wide. If it were wider it would be growing with the natural pattern of growth in the breast, this way it is growing against the norm.3-the lump has extensions going deep into the breast. this is not good.4-the extensions show up on the U/S as black--white extensions would have been better
So, all in all, not very reassuring. The doctor wanted to do the biopsy within a week, but lactating gets in the way of that."

I told the doctor about what I'd read about partial weaning & it possibly helping the healing process and she liked that idea.  So, we decided to give me three weeks to wean both boys from my right breast.  They will both have to nurse exclusively from "lefty".  

Right now, Luke nurses ONLY on the left & Vinnie RARELY nurses on lefty.  After talking with Stacey about it, goal #1 is to get Vinnie to nurse on the left breast willingly.  In addition, we're going to try to get him eating more solids, at least 3 times a day.

The theory is that if the breast is not actively making milk around the clock there will be less milk in there, which would facilitate healing.  

On July 16, I'm scheduled to have the core biopsy of my breast.  Its not the least invasive or the most invasive test that could be done, so that's reassuring.  

We should have the results of the biopsy in 3-5 days & then we will have an idea of what we are looking at. After the biopsy, I'll be sore and unable to lift the boys for a day, but I should be okay pretty quickly.  We are going to wait to let the boys return to nursing on the right until we know what the lump is & what the future holds for it.  

Vinnie will be 11 1/2 months old when I have the biopsy, so if he does have to wean I'll be okay with it.  

As far as the thyroid ultrasound, the technicians were not allowed to tell me anything & I know nothing at all about it, so I refuse to worry until I get a reason to do so from the doctor.  I will get the results either tomorrow or Monday.  

I have a doctor's appointment with Dr. G on Thursday of next week.  I'll be super busy with Vacation Bible School in the mornings next week but I think that time away from Vinnie will actually help our weaning attempts.  

Get Vinnie nursing on the left boob
Get Vinnie eating more solids
Wean Vinnie from right boob without getting mastitis
Reducing milk in right boob through careful pumping & cabbage leaves
Don't stress

So, today I started offering Vinnie "lefty".  The first time was when he was ready for an afternoon nap.  He did okay at first but the flow was way too heavy for him & he got mad and popped off.  He let the milk spray until it stopped & then continued nursing twice.  Finally he got mad at that side & refused to nurse or go to sleep, so I offered him righty.  He nursed & fell asleep.

This evening I offered him lefty again.  He did okay, but didn't fall asleep on that side.  I ended up offering him righty in an attempt to get him to sleep.  I'll keep pushing him tomorrow.

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