Mothering Forum banner

"Sick" breast?? - Update #2 - it's cancer

1350 Views 19 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  RootSnort
A dear friend's story, any insights? She's really scared. I've told her that it is very likely due to one-sided weaning, but of course to get it checked out. Her MIL was just diagnosed this month with breast cancer, so the timing is especially hard on her.

"My right breast … doesn't work.

I've always joked around with my husband and friends about "the girls," proudly proclaiming that these, THESE are WORKING boobs! They certainly are. They fed my oldest child for 15 months. 15 months, my friends. That's some hard working ta-tas!

But this time around … the right one didn't work. Nothing I could say or do (or sing or dance) would convince my newborn to take it. The doctor, the nurse, the lactation consultant all had ideas … but none of the ideas worked. I tried them. Oh, I tried them! I kept trying (and pumping) for the first four months of Little Bear's life. And then I gave up. On the advice of my lac consultant, I stopped pumping the right one and let it go back to normal.

But it didn't.

It changed, yes. But it didn't shrink. And it didn't soften. Instead (WARNING - graphic content ahead) it hardened. In places. It dimpled. It ached. And the surface? Ewwww, it looks (and feels) like an orange peel, in places. Lumps, dimples, texture, and all. In fact, it had been getting that way for quite some time, but I really hadn't noticed. I've been so concerned about the baby's latch and feeding expertise, I kind of forgot to consider that it might be me. It's looked funny for a while, and it's getting stranger and more orange-peely and lumpy. And now? No milk. None at all. It's an official nonworking boob.

And it feels funny.

So I hightailed it to my OB, who happened to have an appointment open up today, and went in, asking him to reassure me that all was normal and this is just one of those things that can happen upon weaning.

Um, no.

It's not. He's never seen skin changes and lumps like this before in a lactating or weaning woman. And he's also never seen a case of one working and one nonworking, where the working one is able to support a 5 month old child singleboobedly. But he says good luck and more power to me for sticking to it, especially in light of the dietary challenges. And then he wrote me a referral to a specialist. And said to go next week. If I can't get an appointment, he'll get one for me. It's important that I go. And who was this specialist? Not a lac consultant. A specialist down at the Breast Center.

I go next week to get a diagnosis of my own.

It wasn't until I sat down at my computer and looked up the address for the Breast Center, located at one of our local hospitals, that I realized that I had actually been referred to a Breast CANCER Center. The specialist is actually a breast cancer surgeon.

I don't know how to end this post."
See less See more
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
I will say a prayer that all goes well for her. Sounds extra scary. Sometimes a baby will reject a breast because of something not right with it. Sometimes they just dont like lyeing on that side.
See less See more
I have a friend whose left breast never produced milk for her second child. the docs and LC had no good advice for her. She is perfectly healthy and has no underlying illness.

however, the skin changes and texture your friend is experiencing sound serious.

I will have her in my thoughts.
I'm sorry for your friend, that is very scary. I'm glad she got a referall though, hopefully she can get some answers.

A referall to a breast cancer specialist isn't a cancer diagnosis. This doctor specializes in breast problems, and when you think about it, how many lactation breast specialists are there? So that probably wasn't an option for her doc, and this was one of the only people he could refer her to.

While I think that not making milk on that side is probably related I do not think that one sided weaning caused the problem. I think it is an effect of the problem. It could be benign tumor(s), a fibromas.

I would encourage your friend to get information on the types of testing she may need. She needs to know that she will be able to nurse through most but not all testing. Maybe she already knows this, or you do, but here are the basics. She can nurse through xrays, Cat scans, MRI, mammorgram (if she needs the nursing side done too she will want to nurse right before mammogram if possible), fine needle aspiration, and biopsy.

Some other info she might find helpful
See less See more
I also posted this on your other thread in H&H, but I believe the hard, orange-peel thing is a flag for inflammatory breast cancer. No doubt that's what she's going to be checked for.
See less See more
Oh, I will be thinking of her.
It definitely, definitely needs to be checked out by an *expert*...inflammatory breast cancer is a nasty one and often misdiagnosed as mastitis, etc. Hoping the best for her.
She's in my prayers.
However, since she's seeing the doc promptly, which is the best thing she can do, I would try not to worry in advance.

There are a number of Moms who have posted to this site where baby refuses one side or even laughs at it.
Like here:

In most cases, it's just a baby thing. And there are a few single-boob nursing Moms on here as well. It's not unheard of, she's not alone!
Thank you everyone.

My friend has an appointment and is also on the waiting list for a cancellation opening.
See less See more
My thoughts and prayers are with your friend!

Please keep us updated.
An update - my friend was seen by the doctors. She wrote a beautiful post today that I've copied below.

If you have words of comfort to share, would you please visit her at her blog?

Thanks so much everyone.

The Night Before
Monday June 25th 2007, 10:15 am

The night before my biopsy
I didn't sleep at all.

The day before my biopsy
We went to the beach and
Dug in the salty sand

Two days before my biopsy
We picked blueberries at the farm
Cuddled one another close
And the baby cut his first tooth

Three days before the biopsy
I saw a doctor, and I saw a nurse
They said "I don't like the looks of this"
We went for a mammogram, an ultrasound
And took care of business like we take care of the children

Four days before my biopsy
I was tired of waiting for my appointment
My breast swelled, and I noticed that it was warm
The skin had thickened and grown ugly
One side was tender and a little lumpy
So I called a nurse at the Cancer Center

Five days before my biopsy
I tried not to think about what I had been feeling
For I had been worried about my mom-in-law
Newly diagnosed with cancer (Stage II)
We had all been trying to lift her spirits
With calls, little gifts, and funny anecdotes

Six days before my biopsy
I took the children to the park
We laughed, we played, we had a snack
Just an ordinary day - except that when
I lifted the boys, my right arm twinged
And I had to put them down

Seven days before my biopsy
I tried not to think about it
And really, I didn't, because
There was no reason to worry
Was there?

Eight days before my biopsy
My obstetrician took a look and said
"I don't like the looks of this."
And he sent me to a specialist

Nine days before my biopsy
I called my O.B. and told him I was worried
But I wasn't much

Ten days before my biopsy
My breast felt funny.
See less See more
Another update from my friend.
Again if you have words of comfort to share, would you please visit her at her blog?

The diagnosis
Tuesday June 26th 2007, 8:52 pm
Filed under: breast cancer, health

There's no easy way to say this.

I have breast cancer.

I also have a 5 month old son, a 2.5 year old son, a wonderful adoring and supportive husband, a fantastic family, and good friends who love me.

Thank God for that.

I have no time to wait and mope about this, for I start chemo on/about July 13. Two weeks from today. The day my baby son turns 6 months old.
See less See more
Oh no!

I hope they've caught it early enough to take care of it.

That poor Mama, what a shock!
to her.
See less See more
How sad. My eyes are tearing up reading this. Poor momma.
to you and her. I don't know if she's the alternative treatment type, but it might be nice to read about complementary treatments and make a nice gift basket of immune supporting vitamins & such. there is SO much hope, cancer is not a death sentence (I've never had it, but been closer than I care to think about with cervical issues, my mom has skin cancer)... her chemo starts on my dd's birthday so I'll remember to send her healing vibes.
See less See more
I am so sorry for what your friend is going through. Back at the very beginning of this year I had a really bad scare, with what we thought was inflammatory breast cancer. My ds was only 8 months old and pretty much EBF. I was told to wean him immediately over the course of a few days. I went through such immense grief and fear when I had been told that most likely that is what I had and that the prognosis was not good. I cried for a week straight and had severe panic attacks. I had an u/s, saw 2 different doctors, then a breast specialist surgeon. Thankfully it was ruled out and I am okay.This story just brings tears to my eyes making me think of what your friend must be feeling right now. I can't even really type out the words of how this story makes me feel, because it just hits home too closely

I will be sending many prayers and healing thoughts to your friend. She is lucky to have a friend like you watching out for her.
See less See more
I wish I'd seen this sooner. That sounds like pretty classic inflammatory breast cancer. It's a scary diagnosis, but she needs to not read too much about it. Survival rates are better than they used to be, by a lot, but most of what's still out there is about the poor prognosis of IBC.

I'm so sorry for your friend. I know she must be terrified.
See less See more
Thank you everyone for your kind words, and thank you to those who visited her blog. It means a lot to both of us.

I have Susun Weed's book "Breast Cancer? Breast Health!" and am working on putting together an order at Mountain Rose to send to her. I'm also going to send her some Nettles from my stash so that she gets it sooner.
See less See more
to your friend.

I'm glad she didn't wait any longer to get it checked out and wish the best for her with her treatment.
See less See more
I'm sorry she's going through this, and sorry that she's going to have to stop breastfeeding while on chemo. Is she going to get donor milk?
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.