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to… mor… row… tomorrow!

right now some of you are appreciating that more than others.  some of you are also doing choreography in your chair now.

tomorrow is my pet scan.   it’s at 10 am eastern time, at the hospital for which my uncle is chief of radiology.  he’ll be having his best pet specialist read it and i’m sure we’ll have the results as soon as he can get them.

so in the meantime, i’ll return you to your regularly scheduled blog reading and holiday preparations as a distraction.   i do hope you’re enjoying some egg nog and the occasional cookie, or three… or four.

nursing is continuing to go well.  nugget’s taken to exclaiming, “mama, beebies!” when she’s inclined to nurse.

 

here’s the big news:  as long as my next pet scan is clean (like the last one was) then i’m done.  no more chemo, no radiation.  done.

what this means for us right now is nugget can nurse again.  amen!

a woman i used to work with messaged me on myspace this week.  i read it yesterday and it absolutely made my day, which i might add was spectacularly craptastic up until then.

“i started working at magic kingdom back in 1997 and only partially knew who you were. you were always cool to me at town square and spectromagic and stuff, but we were only acquaintances.

i happened upon your page through mikki and started reading your blog, “bits of myself,” and i cannot help being taken by how fucking amazing you are.   sorry for the language from someone you do not know, but i can’t think of any other words.   i don’t even remember where i started the “bits,” but i backed up to where you found out you had cancer. by the time i got to your final breastfeeding with nugget, there were uncontrollable tears streaming down my face at how you kept apologizing to her, for something that you did not ask for.

i don’t know how much all of this means coming from someone you don’t know, but i just had to get this out.  i was driving day parade floats when you were at mk with your baby girl, and i saw you two days in a row.   knowing how painful it must be, there you stood in the sun, in a tank top, bald… smiling and waving.

i hope i didn’t weird you out with all this, but know that you have touched one more individual’s life.  you are the strongest woman that i don’t know.”

i just needed to thank you for that and let you know that your kind words have touched my heart.  thank you for reading my blog.  and thank you to all of you who continue to do so.  i hope you’ll all stay tuned for the exciting conclusion to this chapter of my life.

the motherwear breastfeeding blog

today, the motherwear breastfeeding blog is running a compilation piece of mine.  i’m so honored and excited!  if you haven’t subscribed to that blog yet, i highly recommend it.

and since we’re already talking about me, here’s what some other people have had to say about me recently:

going for the gold – world breastfeeding week 2008
pure love
you’re going to cry
what love looks like

 

i miss nursing my daughter.

jaundiced nugget in the hospital 

 two months old    all plumped up on mama's milk    happy as a clam

 sleepnig beauty  nugget nirvana

 pensive princess  i see you!

flight to new orleans

peek-a-boo

mother's day 2008

       

       

       

 one last nursie

good night

oh, how i miss the simplicity of our nursing days.  life without breastfeeding is hard, and cancer certainly isn’t making it any easier.  crying was limited to brief moments following boo boos and over-tired minutes post car seat strap-ins.  it was never part of naptime or bedtime.  a balanced diet was effortless.

i never knew the struggle of naptime.  now i have to walk and rock nugget in my arms or in a peanut shell while she chews on a pacifier, maybe holds her blanket and always twiddles at least one nipple.  at night we lather, rinse, repeat or if i’m really lucky we just lay down and she holds on to each boob, binky clenched between her teeth and drifts off, dreaming of nursing i imagine.

i never knew a picky toddler.  whenever nugget was hungry or thirsty the milk bar was always open.  trying new and different foods was fun instead of stressful.  nugget’s tummy was never upset.  her favorite snack was always handy.  we never had to pack a meal to go out.

i did at least have a few weeks and the foresight to work in the concept of “kisses make boo boos all better.”  nugget still kisses my port and scars everyday.  recently she’s added my breasts to her fix-it list and kisses and hugs them all day long.  she’s trying her best to make mommy all better with her kisses, because she knows that’s when she can have her nursies back.

today is the motherwear breastfeeding blog’s 17th carnival of breastfeeding and the theme is pumping.   while i didn’t choose to submit for the carnival, i am chosing today to write about pumping.

i’ve written before about my love hate relationship with the pump… well, mostly about the hate portion.  its rhythmic sucking makes me sing little songs to it’s always irritating tempo.  then they mix around with the gymboree songs already stuck in my head.  then i realize how badly i really do need the prozac and ativan.

i don’t know for sure how long it’s going to last.  i’m trying to be realistic about the prospect of having cancer, undergoing chemo and pumping for (hopefully only) six months.  it’s kind of like starting out nursing.  i tried to limit my expectations of myself.  i said i’d aim for six months and then see if i could go for a year.  that seemed ridiculously long to me at the time, much like pumping for six months does now.  but a year came and went and well, here we are.

nugget daddy stayed down at my parents’ last night so nugget and i have been left to fend for ourselves for the majority of the past two days, save for a playdate and lasagna drop off yesterday afternoon.

i didn’t get to pump at all yesterday.  i can’t pump in front of nugget.  that would be like asking your pregnant best friend to take you to happy hour.  i meant to pump last night once she went to sleep, but i fell asleep, too.  my boobs had been angry ever since.

nugget likes to have her naps with me in the peanut shell, but this limits my options for the duration of naptime as to what i can actually accomplish with twenty pounds of sleeping toddler strapped to my chest, lovely though as she feels snuggled against me.  her grandmamie puts her to sleep in the stroller and i bribed her into it with chocolate chips this afternoon so i could pump, finally, and subsequently blog about it.  lucky you!

i was so angry the first few times i pumped after starting chemo.  it was like rubbing salt in the wounds.  i couldn’t nurse nugget and i had to stand uncomfortably in the bathroom watching my milk fill up plastic bottles instead of a happy baby.  and then as i would dump the ounces of heartache down the sink a new wound would appear like a gaping mouth to catch my salty tears and sting my aching soul.  what a waste.

you won’t find much if you google “cancer” and “breastfeeding” except for articles about nursing after breast cancer.  “chemo” and “breastfeeding” yields the same contraindication tagline over and over, and “cancer” and “breastmilk” mostly just points you to article after article about this guy who drank breastmilk to fight his prostate cancer.  those, mostly sensational and local news, articles mention milk banks selling milk to cancer patients when they have excess available to sell.  it costs $3 an ounce.

i’ve had plenty of time to think about that guy and those $3 ounces while making up songs to the pump’s rhythm and calculating how much i’d just poured down the drain.  warning!  here comes the crunchy freaky part.  squee!  maybe you want to stop reading, uptight next door neighbor guy or old school grandpa, maybe there’s a golf game you’d rather be watching. okay, so seriously, why the fuck would i want to keep dumping my milk down the drain when other cancer patients are paying good money to get their hands on it?  i don’t know what exactly it might do for me, but it sure won’t be doing anything at the bottom of the sink that’s for sure. so i sucked it up and sucked it down.

it was sort of gross at first, though why exactly i’m not sure.  i think it was the temperature.  i can’t think of any beverage i regularly consume at body temperature.  but now i’m used to it and pleased by thought that i might actually be doing something to help save my own life.

so, now i have a new goal.  i want to pump twice a day for the whole six months, or however long it might be.  i know i might get sick.  i know i might have to stop if i do.  but if i approach it the way i did breastfeeding, then maybe i can make it through.  maybe if i tell all of you about my plan then i’ll be hell-bent on reaching my goal.  maybe some mother out there trolling the interwebs for a glimmer of hope will find my blog now, instead of all the other useless crap i found.

 

 

today i picked up a nasty and costly little bottle of magic mouthwash from the pharmacy.  I don’t have any ulcers thankfully, but i am experiencing some mouth pain that i could certainly do without.

 

here’s a photo of me from last thursday during my first treatment.

 

here’s a photo of our last nursing session just before i left for treatment.

the first night after my treatment was awful.  nugget sobbed hysterically in my arms, giving way to heavy sighs between her defeated attempts for true comfort until she finally fell asleep.  i cried, and cried, and cried.  and between the tears i apologized over and over to my sweet baby girl for being sick.

last night was thankfully less painful.  she fell asleep with my mother and only had to be quietly lulled back down once.  thank god for small miracles.

as for me, i felt pretty nauseated yesterday and today, and the meds for that make me tired.  today, i really started to feel exhausted.  we went out for some quick errands this morning, but i’ve since spent the remainder of the day in bed.

yesterday afternoon, shortly before 12:30pm, i nursed my sweet baby girl for what i can only pray was not the last time.  i sobbed silently, my tears dripping onto her curls while a swarm of my closest friends and family buzzed around the kitchen.  i was losing my religion in the living room and the day was only halfway over.

my mother is back and she stayed with nugget while nugget daddy worked from home.  barbara and martha took me to chemo.  despite having loaded up on ativan, i cried most of the way there.

i wore a top that would provide easy access to my port, which had been slathered with the emla cream and covered in saran wrap for at least an hour.

patients are only allowed to have one guest accompany them to the treatment room.  i had two, two that would not be taking “just one” for an answer.  marla, my oncology nurse, happily pulled up another chair to accommodate my posse.

then another, and senior, patient, as all the other patients seem to be, swung the treatment room door open and announced, “well!  all the good chairs have been taken.”  i wondered if i’d gotten one of the good ones.  i hoped so!

marla drew the curtain so she could access my port.  i told barb and martha that they would be watching, because i couldn’t really get a good look at the action and wanted to be sure my friends suffered along if there was indeed any suffering to be done.  there was not.  i think it was worse for them.  then the two of them chatted about how they’d like to be nurses except for, well, all of the gross stuff.  cute scrubs had been really, really appealing, but simply couldn’t trump dealing with blood and needles.

the dynamic duo was relentless in their efforts to keep me entertained.  as i was showing them my phone that nugget had rendered the antenna unretractable on, martha cracked, “you’re phone has an antenna?”  i replied with a smart, “shut your trap!” which sent senior patient #2, coughy mchacksalot, into a rage of laughter and then into a, well, fit of coughing and hacking.  note to self – keep wiseass cracks down to a dull roar in the treatment room or suffer the wrath of coughy mchacksalot.

treatment went fairly well.  i had no reaction to the test dose of bleomycin.  i took the extra dose of ativan she offered.  (duh!)  at one point i was having some pain, almost like a burning sensation when i took a deep breath.  so marla switched my iv bags and checked my lungs.  whatever it was, it subsided and i finished up my day 1 of treatment with no real issues.

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