Cancer treatment, BFing, Detoxing....what to do? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 12-29-2010, 10:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've recently been diagnosed with a fairly rare form of cancer (myxoid liposarcoma). In hindsight, I clearly had it while I was pregnant with my son (now 9 mos. old). Fortunately my tumor is low grade and I should hopefully be successfully treated with a course of radiation and surgery to remove the mass.

 

DS is exclusively BFd and I hadn't planned to add anything other than breastmilk to his diet until he was a year old. My older two self-weaned at 2.5 years and around 4 years respectively so I had sort of planned on BFing for a long while yet. I've been assured that it should be safe to continue BFing throughout the 5 weeks of radiation and my other treatment, but I'm feeling conflicted for a number of reasons....Given that I'll be killing cancer cells in my body with the radiation, I'd REALLY like to step up the use of things like kombucha, sodium ascorbate, cultured foods, etc. to help move out the toxins from my body that will surely be produced by this whole process, but I don't want to push all these toxins out into my milk and thus into my son, especially since I'm already worried about what it might have done to him to have been gestating in a body that had cancer growing right along with him. I could attempt to supplement him for a short-term period of a couple months while I have treatment and flush my system (I'd have to pump & dump to attempt to maintain a milk supply) and then try to relactate after all is said & done, but I know from pumping while working FT when #1 was a baby that it's stressful for me physically and emotionally and this is not the time to add stress to my life. The third factor is some concern that I have about the hormones in my body potentially contributing to my tumor growth....now this is just my own wild musing, but I know that my teeth went to hell when I went through puberty (tons of cavaties) and I've had 5 root canals (2 of which failed) and a tooth extraction/implant all since having my first (I've been either pregnant or BFing for the past 8+ yrs. straight) furthermore, my tumor is a fatty tumor and fat produces hormones (estrogen) too so I have reason to suspect that my body is really sensitive to hormone shifts and I wonder if the prolonged change in hormones from years of pregnancy/BFing is wreaking havoc on my health-not dissing PG or BFing of course, but my system seems to be really stressed by them for some reason.

 

Bottom line, I don't know what to do...should I wean my baby (which makes me want to sob) and focus on getting/keeping his mama healthy, or should I maintain our nursing relationship through treatment/surgery and then aim to detox in a couple years when he weans while hoping to avoid a recurrence in that time? Any other ideas out there?


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#2 of 8 Old 12-30-2010, 07:48 AM
 
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Im so sorry!! What a predicament. I wish you a speedy recovery!

 

All I can do is tell you what I would do if I were in your choes and again I can only imagine what that would be like.

 

I would wean. BF was not easy for me and it was HELL keeping it up with my son for 2.5 yrs and he still is going a bit, so I know how important it is and what a mama will go through to try and maintain this important relationship.

However, you need your body to focus on healing itself. BF is very draining. It takes energy away from the you when you will be needing it the most. I think stress has a huge impact on recovery and I know if I attempted to either pump and dump or continue BF all the while worrying I'm doing some kind of damage to my baby from the toxins coming out, I would be so stressed over that, which would impede my recovery.

I hope you can come up with a solution you can feel ok about. Best of luck and I hope your radiation and surgery are successful.

 


If the people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny." Thomas Jefferson.

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#3 of 8 Old 12-30-2010, 08:02 AM
 
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hug2.gif I am so sorry you are going through this. It must be so overwhelming for you.

 

I am going to have to say you should wean him and get treatment. You have no idea if it will progress or even matastisize (sp) by then...

 

If you could get one of those great pumps that do both boobs at once and go in a bra so it wouldn't be as stressful and you could pump every 4 or 5 hrs...

 

if  not don't feel guilty he has had BM for 9 months which is a lot more than most babies in the US!

 

You have to be healthy to take care of you're children.


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#4 of 8 Old 12-30-2010, 11:09 AM
 
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I am so sorry for what you are going through, I'm sure this is so difficult for you. I also had some major issues when I was breastfeeding one of children, however not to the same degree. While I would feel the need to encourage you to take care of yourself I also know what it is like to want to BF and being faced with the option of not. I think your first priority should be yourself.

 

I can only tell you what I would do if I were in your shoes. I would first avoid all medical treatments and seek all natural. When someone deveolps cancer it is the body's way of actually helping to contain the cancerous cells in the body instead of letting them spread to vital organs. IMHO, docs will scare you in to thinking that you need the chemo/rad in order to survive, but I highly disagree. Only through natural cleansing and lifestyle changes will the cancer go away, as the toxic load is decreased. IMO, chemo only makes you worse. Sure, the size of the tumor may decrease or it may go away entirely, but what is it that has made you healthier? It is a bandaid approach, only addressing the symptoms and not the cause. I would focus my time and energy finding out what caused the cancer (there is always a cause) as you were not born with cancer. Find the cause and you can cure it.

 

I would do my best to continue BFing, although I would probably start supplementing with healthy raw milks. However if you do continue with radiation I would not breastfeed, or atleast pump and dump. Continuing to breastfeed may possibly harm his immune system (people with cancer already have weak immune systems), but so will cow milk formula. Search your heart and do what you think is best for you and your family. Moms can have a hard time of thinking of themselves and their needs, but these are often the most neglected. I wish you all the best on your journey.

 


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#5 of 8 Old 12-30-2010, 05:42 PM
 
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I'm so sorry to hear this.  May I ask what the docs are saying now?  How rapidly is the tumor growing?

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#6 of 8 Old 12-31-2010, 09:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the replies. To respond to questions/issues presented....I am highly motivated to bring my body to a healthier state to support my treatment which is why I am looking to be able to actively detoxify my body (via cultured foods, kombucha, sodium ascorbate, etc.) as well as use supportive treatments such as accupuncture, massage, stress reduction measures, etc. I am of course limited to some degree by financial constraints and childcare needs but that is not the thrust of this thread. Here I am looking for some thoughts relative to continuing or discontinuing breastfeeding and the cost/benefit for my health and my son's throughout this process. FWIW I do not consume dairy and I also generally eat gluten free and minimize consumption of soy (mostly eaten in the form of fermented tamari sauce). I am no stranger to making my own cultured veggies, kombucha, coconut water kefir, coconut milk yogurt, etc. We eat lots of organic produce, have a CSA share, and buy our beef/pork direct from ranchers who use organic/humane/pasture feeding and healthcare practices with the animals.

 

I am not currently intending to have (nor has it been suggested that I need) chemo. My tumor, although large (12cmx5cmx5.5cm) is seemingly self-contained and has not spread. The large size is characteristic of the particular type of cancer that I have. The tumor at this stage does not have any highly mutated (round) cells. The tumor has been around for quite a while. I first noticed it and starting asking my doctors about it roughly a year ago, although an MRI was not ordered until a month ago. I am scheduled to start radiation in about a week. I will have 25 rounds of radiation over a 5 week period and then a 4 week rest prior to surgery. I am not interested in replacing conventional treatment with alternative methods, rather I would like to use complementary methods to support my overall health and well-being during and after this experience.


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#7 of 8 Old 12-31-2010, 11:10 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Mamatoto2 View Post

Thank you for the replies. To respond to questions/issues presented....I am highly motivated to bring my body to a healthier state to support my treatment which is why I am looking to be able to actively detoxify my body (via cultured foods, kombucha, sodium ascorbate, etc.) as well as use supportive treatments such as accupuncture, massage, stress reduction measures, etc. I am of course limited to some degree by financial constraints and childcare needs but that is not the thrust of this thread. Here I am looking for some thoughts relative to continuing or discontinuing breastfeeding and the cost/benefit for my health and my son's throughout this process. FWIW I do not consume dairy and I also generally eat gluten free and minimize consumption of soy (mostly eaten in the form of fermented tamari sauce). I am no stranger to making my own cultured veggies, kombucha, coconut water kefir, coconut milk yogurt, etc. We eat lots of organic produce, have a CSA share, and buy our beef/pork direct from ranchers who use organic/humane/pasture feeding and healthcare practices with the animals.

 

I am not currently intending to have (nor has it been suggested that I need) chemo. My tumor, although large (12cmx5cmx5.5cm) is seemingly self-contained and has not spread. The large size is characteristic of the particular type of cancer that I have. The tumor at this stage does not have any highly mutated (round) cells. The tumor has been around for quite a while. I first noticed it and starting asking my doctors about it roughly a year ago, although an MRI was not ordered until a month ago. I am scheduled to start radiation in about a week. I will have 25 rounds of radiation over a 5 week period and then a 4 week rest prior to surgery. I am not interested in replacing conventional treatment with alternative methods, rather I would like to use complementary methods to support my overall health and well-being during and after this experience.



ah, that is what I wanted to know.

 

My caveat for you is that I have found that people go nuts trying to detox, which can create much more of a stress on the body.  Be really clear that you're not just mobilizing toxins and not preparing the body to excrete them.  That's where the trouble starts. 

 

You sound like your diet is great, so the key (from my perspective) would be to work with the body's stress mechanisms, support them and allow it to function at a higher level.  I think it's stressful to try and force the body to cope in a way that isn't familiar to it. 

 

Your plan is a good one.  I think that for me, I'd not stop nursing.  I think.  It would really depend on how well I was able to support myself through it.  By that I mean if I was feeling miserable I wouldn't be comfortable nursing.  If I kept myself feeling vibrant and was handling things well I'd be more inclined to continue.

 

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#8 of 8 Old 12-31-2010, 11:43 AM
 
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Many many healing thoughts!  I hope your treatments and surgery is successful.

 

If it were me, I would wean.  Your body is going to have a lot of healing to do in the next few weeks, and as much energy as possible needs to be sent that direction, in the hopes that you are around to see your children grown.  9 months of nursing is a wonderful gift.


"Listen, are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?"~Mary Oliver

RT knitting mama  to 3 (& 8 who didn't make it) wife working on 13 years to a silly man who drives me crazy.
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