Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Breastfeeding and the CT Scan

So, I was scheduled a CT scan 2 weeks after Maja's birth to "make sure there wasn't anything obvious" before I went in for the hysterectomy. I had to drink like a liter of the contrast solution stuff that tastes terrible. Meanwhile, I had been breastfeeding and was quite successful at it. I bought all the new tubing and equipment for the double Medela Pump-in-style Advance and was even pumping a little already. If you're not a mother, haven't breastfed, or it didn't work out for you, it might not be as important to you, but I was very set on doing it for at least the first several months. Not only do I feel it's best for the baby's health, but there is quite a bonding that occurs and it just feels natural to me. In short: I LOVED IT.

The Breastfeeding Drama

When I got to the imaging office where I was to undergo the CT scan of my chest and abdomen, Maja was sleeping and I had some stored breastmilk for my sister to feed her if she woke up while I was in the scan. I suddenly realized that I needed to check with the lactation consultants (who had been quite the lifesavers and so helpful) at the hospital where I delivered to see if I could still breastfeed after drinking the solution. I can't believe I forgot about that!!! They said I could breastfeed after the solution, but the dye that would be inserted prior to the scan could not be consumed by the baby. I would have to "pump and dump" for 24 hours after the scan. That meant I would have to feed Maja formula for the next day with no transition period since I only had a few ounces stored. I was so very sad. I had already fed her from my breast for the last time. It's hard to explain the bond a mother has with her breastfeeding baby, but I guess I could say I sort felt a sense of loss when I had to stop. Even though I could have resumed after 24 hours, I decided to stop completely since I would have surgery the next week and various other medical procedures would probably pop up. It would be best to try and dry up before surgery so I was at least a little less uncomfortable.

The Scan

I went into the room where the scan would be performed and was scared sh*tless. Why? I don't know. I've never had a CT scan before and it was a huge tubular vault I was going to have to willingly climb into and remain still and not breathe while some whirly thingy spun around me making a noise that sounded like the aliens from that Tom Cruise movie. Freaked me out. Anyway, it didn't hurt and I was scared for nothing but it would have been nice to have been prepared.

The Results

A couple of days later I got a call from a nurse practitioner at the oncologist's office saying they needed to talk to me about the scan. When I got on the phone with the nurse, she was chewing on her lunch and very nonchalantly says they found some nodules on my thyroid that would need to be biopsied between bites. Holy crap! What??! I immediately hang up and freak out. Has my cancer spread? Where the hell is my thyroid? What does my thyroid do? Do I have thyroid cancer too? If it's in my thyroid and my ovaries, where else did it stop along the way?? More importantly, WHAT DID I DO TO MAKE MY BODY HATE ME?

This was the first time I actually cried about the cancer. This was the first time I felt the gravity of the situation. I had cried a little before when telling people about my situation, but mostly because I didn't know how to tell them and I felt more sorry for them having to worry about me than anything else. That day I went into a downward spiral of worry, wonder, and guilt. I felt guilty that I didn't treat my body better. I felt guilty that I took advantage of my physique. I felt most guilty that there was a possibility that my son and daughter might have to grow up without a mom.


Anonymous said...

People who haven't breastfed probably don't understand just how traumatic it is to have to stop. A mother's ability to nourish her baby is something males can't understand.

Fortunately, you're such a good Mother, you have found other ways to nourish her, to nourish her soul instead. She looks at you with such love, you're the only person who exists in the world to her. I'm a little jealous. :)

cindy said...

I had a CT scan and had to stop breastfeeding for 24 hours, now the milk isnt flowing. I dont know the results or what surgery is in store... should i take this opportunity to stop? she wont take a bottle but she is already 8 months. i am crushed. and frightened that even if i go back now i will have to stop again. i am scared of the results as well.

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