Galactocele or blocked duct for 2 months!? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 11-28-2013, 04:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So I've had a looong hard road breastfeeding my son the past 5 months. uninformed doctors left me with untreated mastitis since he was 2 weeks old, thrush from the day he was born, a severe upper lip and posterior tongue tie, clogged ducts every day (literally), raynauds... oh and my MASSIVE unexplained oversupply that no IBCLC can help me tame.
I'm finally in with a new doctor who's on the way to helping with my most recent problem. the one who finally recognized I've had mastitis and gave me heavy antibiotics (making the thrush worse thus leading to fluconazole and a battle with insurance who only wants to cover 2 pills per 30 days) i have now had a clogged duct for over 2 months. started small but is now at least the size of 2 pingpong balls side by side. i have been taking 1000mg acetaminophen and 800mg ibuprofen every 4 hours to even be able to hold my son (that drops my pain level to a 4 on their charts at dr office) I'm finally on vicodin as the pain is just too bad. I've done EVERYTHING that can be done for cloggs, even let my husband try to get it out.
i was sent for an ultrasound to rule out an abscess. they saw only milk and sent me on my way with instruction to keep trying to unclog it.
well its not going away, in fact feels bigger.
the doctor (and 3 others in the office) are frustrated and don't know what to do for me. they had a general surgeon look at the ultrasound and he feels there's no tall one place he could stick a needle for aspiration so back to square one and trying to get referred to a specialist.
I've looked up galactocele, and it sounds like what I'm dealing with but the general surgeon saw nothing cystic on the ultrasound results.
is it possible to really have a clogged duct this long? does anyone have experience with this?
what can i do if it is a galacteocele as it seems to get bigger as i continue nursing kable, but NOT nursing on that side because of my oversupply causes multiple blocked ducts in the process (I've done EVERYTHING possible for lowering my supply... the IBCLCs and i have decided I'm just "blessed"(cursed in my opinion) and nothing but the estrogen cream and birth control I'm on keep it to a manageable level (think only 20 ounces more than my son eats instead of the extra 96)
tia
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#2 of 22 Old 11-30-2013, 05:04 AM
 
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I think your post might have been missed so I am giving it a gentle bump. I hope you can get this resolved!


 
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#3 of 22 Old 11-30-2013, 11:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you!
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#4 of 22 Old 11-30-2013, 01:53 PM
 
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I am soooo sorry for what you're going through! You are one tough mama:)

While I have no experience with galactoceles, I did have a huge (9cm) abscess and a month of antibiotics, including a round of IV abx when I was septic. It was a horrible experience (my LO also had ULT and PTT that wasn't revised til he was 3.5mos old).. what was worse was the confusion and seeming ignorance of the medical staff I encountered - until FINALLY I saw a BREAST surgeon who knew a bunch about boobies:p She was head of the cancer center associated w/the hospitalER I kept going to.

Everything I've read about blocked ducts has just said to be careful bc if it's blocked too long, it can become infected.
Also wanted to note, the abx took care of my infection/septic symptoms but couldn't deal with the huge amount of pus in my breast still - I had loooots of pain til it finally was drained.

Would it be possible for you to see someone who specializes in breasts who could offer you better medical help? Also, bc of your oversupply, is it possible the ultrasound wasn't able to get an accurate image bc of the milk ducts "blocking" the view?

I can't fathom the pain and frustration you've dealt with!! I hope you can find a solution and resolve some of these issues!

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#5 of 22 Old 11-30-2013, 11:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm worried it is already an abscess they overlooked. i had mastitis since,June and my old doctor dismissed my red streaking as stretch marks because i had no fever. once i changed doctors i didn't think to bring it up until s few weeks ago when i was finally given antibiotics. bye bye red steaks!
i did go to the breast center for my ultrasound. the ultrasound tech at the breast center only saw milk. i was as empty as possible so maybe the oversupply caused her to not get an accurate view. either way yea milk backed up for 2 months this can't be good. I'm going to try calling around Monday to see if anyone can get me in.the doctor is trying to get me a referral but no idea how long that can take. in the meantime I'm in total panic mode because i can't do anything but sit and wait
i joined a group on Facebook for tongue ties and have learned so much, it dumbfounds me how many medical "professionals" can overlook something that seems so simple to check for!
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#6 of 22 Old 12-02-2013, 06:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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seems the "specialist" i was waiting for the doctor to speak to was the general surgeon, his recommendation was to bind my breasts and stop breastfeeding. i havean appointment tomorrow with someone else hopefully i can get past being so frustrated and flustered and unable to get my thoughts out (i don't know why i clam up and can't speak to doctors when i disagree but i do.)
can they drain milk with needle aspiration if no other methods work? the general surgeon said there is no where to stick a needle... but that makes no sense right? if there's a full blocked duct isn't that where you stick the needle?
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#7 of 22 Old 12-03-2013, 10:01 PM
 
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He told you to bind your breasts and quit breastfeeding?? There's gotta be another way... This is the same general surgeon who told you that there was nowhere he could do an aspiration? Clearly you have something going on in your breast - binding your breast and stopping the breastfeeding cold turkey will NOT help!!! It could make things even worse with engorgement and lead to even more blocked ducts, infection, etc. I would be hard pressed to trust a male surgeon who offers such unhelpful advice regarding breastfeeding. :(

Since the red streaks went away with the antibiotics, it really makes me wonder if you DO have an undiagnosed abscess.. maybe one that's very deep and surrounded by healthy functioning ducts... I wonder if that is possible?


With my abscess, it looked like a great big black "blob" on the ultrasound, although the whole thing was shaded with little dark lines that were my milk ducts - one nurse said it looked like a garden hose. :p
Again, I am so, so sorry that you are dealing with incompetent medical staff!!! It still frustrates me when I think about how long it took for me to be ACCURATELY diagnosed, but you're still dealing with stuff, you poor thing! 

How was your appointment? I hope you were able to find someone to help you!
 

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#8 of 22 Old 12-04-2013, 08:06 AM
 
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I wish I had seen this sooner! Oh, Mama, you are really having a rough time.

 

Whoever told you to bind and cold turkey wean: get away from him! (I think you know this.)  (I had a client who did this ended up with full sepsis and still didn't get treatment and she had a psychotic break from the poisons in her blood, it was finally treated, but the original mastitis was first "treated" with amoxicillin (doesn't work on mastitis and I told her this ahead of time, she chose to take it anyway) and then when I felt a burgeoning possible abscess in one of her breasts she went back to the same doc who told then her to bind and cold turkey wean and it's probably one of the worst lactation nightmares I've ever seen in more than 20 years in practice. She spent 4 days in a locked Psych Ward, (with sepsis and an untreated abscess) before she finally got treatment.) Not trying to scare you, but abscesses are serious, and it does speak to the power of advocating for your own health, even though it's scary with doctors who get bossy sometimes. Is there someone you trust, maybe a partner, you can bring to the appointment with you, and he or she can read what you want to say? I've found this works when Mamas are overwhelmed and not able to advocate themselves.

 

I'm a lactation consultant and it sure sounds like a galaotcele to me. (I can't say for sure without seeing you.)  You'd be sick with an untreated abscess this size, fever, nausea, chills, even hallucinations and severe tremor plus sepsis and severe illness.

 

It's a fairly large galactocele, but I see no reason that it could not be drained. You just stick the needle in the side of the breast (after some numbing of the tissue) and withdraw and look at what you have. 99% of the time, it's just milk. About 40-80% of the time the galactocele fills back up, and you have to have it drained again. It may take several drainings. If you weren't in so much pain, I'd leave it be, but the pain is bothering me, so it should be treated. Is it possible to see an other doctor at an other hospital NOT related to the people you've already seen? They are obviously not doing you any good, and you need treatment.

 

Galactoceles are harmless, but if they are causing pain, you and your pain should be treated seriously. I am glad the doctor is at least treating the pain appropriately but a draining would be on my agenda if you were my client.

 

One more question: If it gets smaller when you nurse, then fills back up, it's probably a blocked or "blind duct." A blind duct is a duct that, for some reason has no way to easily empty into the nipple pore and the milk just causes stasis in the duct. These can be tender, but they usually dry up in a month or so on their own. A galactocele may get slightly smaller while nursing, but they usually stay about the same size, get bigger or smaller usually not based on what is going on during the nursing. They can go away on their own, but I'm worried about your pain and the size of the thing.

 

(Many women with blind ducts have had breast injury or breast surgery around the area of the blind duct.)

 

Can you see someone else and get this thing drained and make sure they take the aspirate (the stuff that comes out of the cyst) is taken to the lab and analyzed? (That should be done anyway, but you know how some doctors are.)  It IS possible that you did have an abscess and the "shell" of the abscess is still there, and is filling with milk, in which case, you still need it drained and analyzed a galactocele will be mostly milk, an old abscess will be mostly pus,maybe some blood,  they LOOK the same in the syringe, so they need to be taken to the lab for analysis.)

 

Good luck. I know it's hard to advocate for yourself when going through something like this, but keep nursing and taking your pain meds and see that new doctor.

 

Blessings on your healing. :goodvibes 


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#9 of 22 Old 12-04-2013, 11:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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the appointment went better than i thought. the doctor laughed at the surgeons suggestion and said well he's a man and i don't,think he's breastfeed before. no we don't want to do that.
she put me on aanother course of smz/tmp for 30 days and said if I'm 2 weeks its,not,better she will refer me for,the u/s guided aspiration
after taking the first dose last night of antibiotics i feel a world of difference as far as my overall pain. the lump is still the same size and painful but,the surrounding area does not feel tender or inflamed (my boobs are almost the save size again too, oddly the one with,the problems makes MORE milk. maybe from constantly stimulating it trying to unclog it, plus its my sons favorite side)
i switched hospitals already the original doctors i saw knew nothing about breastfeeding and refused to listen. at last the new office has an amazing IBCLC md on staff who helps answers questions if the doctor is unsure. she also suggested needle aspiration but the doctors hesitant she thinks its too invasive and if we can avoid it she wants to.
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#10 of 22 Old 12-05-2013, 09:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MaggieLC View Post
 

 You'd be sick with an untreated abscess this size, fever, nausea, chills, even hallucinations and severe tremor plus sepsis and severe illness.

 

Just wanted to add - she says she has been on antibiotics... with my abscess, the fever, nausea, chills, etc. all disappeared after I started taking the abx, which is why it took so long for me to be treated, as well. The surgeon thought that since I had no symptoms except this big ol' lump that wouldn't go away, that I'd be okay ...I wasn't. :p The pain continued intensifying until I was able to have the I&D and get things cleared out!
NOT trying to contradict you at all, just sharing my experience in this matter. :)

 

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the appointment went better than i thought. the doctor laughed at the surgeons suggestion and said well he's a man and i don't,think he's breastfeed before. no we don't want to do that.
she put me on aanother course of smz/tmp for 30 days and said if I'm 2 weeks its,not,better she will refer me for,the u/s guided aspiration
after taking the first dose last night of antibiotics i feel a world of difference as far as my overall pain. the lump is still the same size and painful but,the surrounding area does not feel tender or inflamed (my boobs are almost the save size again too, oddly the one with,the problems makes MORE milk. maybe from constantly stimulating it trying to unclog it, plus its my sons favorite side)
i switched hospitals already the original doctors i saw knew nothing about breastfeeding and refused to listen. at last the new office has an amazing IBCLC md on staff who helps answers questions if the doctor is unsure. she also suggested needle aspiration but the doctors hesitant she thinks its too invasive and if we can avoid it she wants to.

SO glad you've found medical professionals who know something about breastfeeding and who are willing to listen to you!! :) And how awesome, being on the right antibiotics can help soo much! I'm glad that your pain is less, as well!

It's funny you say that your son's favorite side is the affected one - same thing in my case, too. But I think it was because it was the side that produced LESS milk, therefore not drowning him or shooting him all over his little face because of my strong letdowns.
While I can understand why doctors want to hold off with procedures such as the u/s guided aspiration until absolutely necessary, I found it incredibly frustrating to prolong my pain and put off healing when I had such a huge painful lump! I wanted to know what it was and to get it taken care of, pronto, not keep waiting to see if I got better. But YMMV! :) Truthfully, though, I didn't think that the aspirations were all that invasive.. When you're sick enough, you don't really mind things like needles in your breast, I suppose? lol

If you're still experiencing a lot of pain, I wouldn't hesitate at all to let them know, even if it's only been a week. :) You're almost through this - soon you will be well down the road of recovery!

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#11 of 22 Old 12-07-2013, 07:31 AM
 
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the appointment went better than i thought. the doctor laughed at the surgeons suggestion and said well he's a man and i don't,think he's breastfeed before. no we don't want to do that.
she put me on aanother course of smz/tmp for 30 days and said if I'm 2 weeks its,not,better she will refer me for,the u/s guided aspiration
after taking the first dose last night of antibiotics i feel a world of difference as far as my overall pain. the lump is still the same size and painful but,the surrounding area does not feel tender or inflamed (my boobs are almost the save size again too, oddly the one with,the problems makes MORE milk. maybe from constantly stimulating it trying to unclog it, plus its my sons favorite side)
i switched hospitals already the original doctors i saw knew nothing about breastfeeding and refused to listen. at last the new office has an amazing IBCLC md on staff who helps answers questions if the doctor is unsure. she also suggested needle aspiration but the doctors hesitant she thinks its too invasive and if we can avoid it she wants to.


I'm so glad things are getting better.

 

It may be that you had a low level residual infection that was causing the pain. It may have caused inflammation around the cyst or there's a small chance it was a "walled off" abscess and it was continuing to leak toxins into your body. I'm SO glad you changed doctors and are seeing people who are helping you. :joy:Hug

 

The actual job of an abscess is to "wall off" an infection, so yours may have done what your body intended to do. However, in many women the pain, low grade fever and infection continue until they get adequate treatment.


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#12 of 22 Old 12-07-2013, 07:40 AM
 
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Just wanted to add - she says she has been on antibiotics... with my abscess, the fever, nausea, chills, etc. all disappeared after I started taking the abx, which is why it took so long for me to be treated, as well. The surgeon thought that since I had no symptoms except this big ol' lump that wouldn't go away, that I'd be okay ...I wasn't. :p The pain continued intensifying until I was able to have the I&D and get things cleared out!
NOT trying to contradict you at all, just sharing my experience in this matter. :)

 

SO glad you've found medical professionals who know something about breastfeeding and who are willing to listen to you!! :) And how awesome, being on the right antibiotics can help soo much! I'm glad that your pain is less, as well!

It's funny you say that your son's favorite side is the affected one - same thing in my case, too. But I think it was because it was the side that produced LESS milk, therefore not drowning him or shooting him all over his little face because of my strong letdowns.
While I can understand why doctors want to hold off with procedures such as the u/s guided aspiration until absolutely necessary, I found it incredibly frustrating to prolong my pain and put off healing when I had such a huge painful lump! I wanted to know what it was and to get it taken care of, pronto, not keep waiting to see if I got better. But YMMV! :) Truthfully, though, I didn't think that the aspirations were all that invasive.. When you're sick enough, you don't really mind things like needles in your breast, I suppose? lol

If you're still experiencing a lot of pain, I wouldn't hesitate at all to let them know, even if it's only been a week. :) You're almost through this - soon you will be well down the road of recovery!


Hi. I did mention to KabelN that there was a small chance that she did still have a residual abscess or even just the "shell" of the abscess. However, in most cases an abscess continues to make a woman very ill. Some women with very strong immune systems (like perhaps yourself and the OP) may get through the acute symptoms of the abscess without complete elimination of the abscess, but although true, it is not the course for all with this condition. My guess is that the OP either had residual abscess or a secondary infection around the abscess, I have no way of knowing which.

 

I do live in a area with a LOT of Lactation Consultants and most of the MDs in our areas know us and will treat mastitis and abscesses immediately and appropriately, so it is not common that we still see abscesses at all anymore, much less residual abscesses.

 

With some exception, the docs in our area have become much more educated about lactation. When I started practice, more than 20 years ago, I used to see about half a dozen abscesses a year, now I might see one every 2-3 years. Not all areas of the country or all countries have this quality of care and abscess is more common in areas where many of the docs refuse to learn about lactation.

 

I'm sorry you had to suffer so long with your abscess, this has to be incredibly frustrating, not to mention stressful. I'm glad it was finally treated appropriately. :)

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#13 of 22 Old 12-07-2013, 03:03 PM
 
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I wish I lived near you when everything was happening!! :) You are soo much more knowledgeable in this area than the LC I spoke with ("Um...um...."). Bless you and your work :)

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#14 of 22 Old 12-07-2013, 05:58 PM
 
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I wish I lived near you when everything was happening!! :) You are soo much more knowledgeable in this area than the LC I spoke with ("Um...um...."). Bless you and your work :)

Aw, thank you. I wish I was close enough to help you personally, one on one, as well.

 

:Hug

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#15 of 22 Old 12-07-2013, 11:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you both. I'm just going to call my doctor Monday and the IBCLC MD because the antibiotics are taking the pain away in one aspect but now the thrush i was treating with fluconazole is worse! and spread to my mouth greensad.gif
I'm just begging her to aspirate at this point, i know she said give it time,but if the thrush symptoms got,this bad over a few says i don't want to think what another week or 2 will do.
I'm glad I'm stubborn lol i WILL have my day of pain free unmedicated breastfeeding! someday... hopefully soon
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#16 of 22 Old 12-17-2013, 02:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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well still waiting. my doctors office called and the general surgeon wants,to see me as he got a notice about me and the possibility of breast cancer. but because of my insurance and the holiday schedule i can't go in until January 7th. getting pretty scared now:(
my great grandma had breast cancer and died of another type of cancer but,my family won't share information despite it possibly helping me (looong story basically they all suck)
my aunt told me what she knew but was limited as they don't talk to her either. she me vicodin but i hate having to take it but can't gold my son if i don't. should i try an emergency room or would they just likely refer me back to see the doctor?
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#17 of 22 Old 12-18-2013, 11:00 AM
 
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well still waiting. my doctors office called and the general surgeon wants,to see me as he got a notice about me and the possibility of breast cancer. but because of my insurance and the holiday schedule i can't go in until January 7th. getting pretty scared now:(
my great grandma had breast cancer and died of another type of cancer but,my family won't share information despite it possibly helping me (looong story basically they all suck)
my aunt told me what she knew but was limited as they don't talk to her either. she me vicodin but i hate having to take it but can't gold my son if i don't. should i try an emergency room or would they just likely refer me back to see the doctor?


I'm sorry you have to wait over the holidays to see the specialist. It's a few weeks, and I think if he thought absolute time was of the essence, he would have squeezed you in, wouldn't he? I know you're scared. My guess is it's a galactocelle, but of course, I can't say without seeing you and without a fine needle aspiration.

 

I don't know why some families are so close mouthed about cancer and refuse to talk about it. My dad's family was like this. My great uncle died of cancer and they told people it was tuberculosis!  Back in the day some people thought cancer was either contagious or "a punishment" for something. I'm so sorry no one will share information with you.

 

I don't know what would happen in the ER. I doubt they would do an aspiration, but it may be worth a shot, if your insurance will cover it. My guess is they would tell you to see your regular MD, but I can't say for sure.

 

Hugs, January 7th will be here before you know it. :Hug 


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#18 of 22 Old 01-07-2014, 10:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks to insurance i had to reschedule seeing the surgeon until the 21st greensad.gif
still in pain and still a lump not getting smaller. Was in the ER for another reason (apparently I've had eczema my whole life not just super sensitive skin... yaaaaay me) the doctor said i should request another ultrasound and was confused they haven't done any sort of biopsy yet or even taken a culture of the milk. he did give me 2 names of general surgeons who mostly deal with breast cancer and other breast issues so if i can get,the referral and insurance covers it ill be calling them!
between the 2 c-sections I've had breastfeeding both of my children has Ben far more painful greensad.gif
hopefully it gets better from here Kable still refuses sippys bottles and cups not sure what i will do if i have to wean him before he's ready
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#19 of 22 Old 01-23-2014, 01:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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and after a visit with the surgeon he wanted me to get a mammogram. the breast center asked if i had been given pills to dry my milk up yet and doesn't want to do one.

all doctors still refusing to just do a culture of the milk to see what if any bacteria might need to be treated. even the surgeon suggested a longer course of antibiotics might be needed as i have only been given 2 weeks at a time and told "well its not working so NEXT"

i KNOW this can not be the answer. even my doctor called and said i should try weaning (i didnt feel like re-mentioning it has taken me 7 months to reduce my supply from 96 ounces to just what my son eats in a day) how does she expect me to just wean him while im in pain and not emptying my breast causes more pain???

very frustrated and not in a position to change doctors again as we have government medi-cal and we recently changed to this doctor. at least this office and hospital they are affiliated with has acknowledged a problem and has a center for breastfeeding and knowledgeable IBCLC's the other one is a "learning facility" meaning all their doctors are useless :/

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#20 of 22 Old 01-24-2014, 11:38 AM
 
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Oh my gosh!!! I am feeling so frustrated for you!!!! I can't believe the doctors refused you a mammogram and a culture of your breast milk!! Do they think you're making this stuff up or what?!?? I am so very sorry that this is taking so long to resolve. :(
And I totally agree with you - I think it's somewhat ridiculous for doctors to suggest weaning as a means of helping the issue when letting the milk sit there is one of the aggravating factors to start off with. It's not like weaning is this simple and easy process. :(

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#21 of 22 Old 05-01-2014, 11:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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well to give a sort of update... no real improvement. after a second third and 4th opinion and every single referral being denied...
my son is 10 months and after numerous attempts to get in to see a specialist of any sort they all refuse to see me because im breastfeeding! I am giving up. i dont know HOW to wean... but im trying. my son refuses bottles sippy cups regular cups and straw cups... both hard and soft spout on all... he CAN drink from them and loves playing with them but he wont accept drinking anything unless its from the breast... i tried breast milk in them water juice and formula. he just gets a sip then spits it out and plays with it.
i think since its a hot day im going to make a milk shake maybe formula and banana... perhaps i can start to trick him that way greensad.gif
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#22 of 22 Old 07-03-2014, 11:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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further update...
after over 1 year of issues and thrush, and about 10 or more months of this painful lump... my doctor has finally given me bromocriptine to dry up my milk. we hope that the lump and my thrush will clear up if i am no longer producing milk. if it does not clear up we can do further testing and i can be given a long term course of diflucan to see if it helps.
i do hope no mother has to go through this. feel free to email (jw.leathercraft@gmail.com) or message me if anyone like who is like me finds this and is experiencing anything similar i can share what i've gone through this past year and what the final result was. even if you find this a year or however long after i have posted it. i find myself searching for answers online and find most people never gave an update and i wonder what happened to them or how the problem was resolved. i'd like to be able to share my knowledge and experience to help another mother in the future.
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