Mastitis Without Breastfeeding

I wanted to write a quick post about something that I recently experienced, in order to educate other women. A little more than a week ago, I woke up with pain in my left breast. My initial thought was that one of the kids had probably elbowed or kicked me there the night before. Those little body parts can hurt! As the day went on, I started getting more and more concerned. I just felt like something wasn’t right. It felt like more than a bad bruise.

The next day when I woke up, I was in more pain. When I checked it out in the mirror, I noticed a red streak that went from the center of my chest, inward. It was on the opposite side where I was experiencing pain (but same breast). I thought that was kind of odd. As the day went on, I kept checking it in the mirror and I noticed a red ring with normal looking skin in the center. Okay, this is the point that I started freaking out a little bit. Of course I did what most women would do (but shouldn’t). I hopped on Google and started researching all of my symptoms.

I have heard that breast cancer doesn’t hurt, but of course I came across a type that does. It’s called inflammatory breast cancer. Once I found this, my mind went crazy and I kept looking for this “orange peel” effect that is almost a sure sign. Once you notice this cancer, it’s usually already in advanced stages. I was praying so hard that it wasn’t cancer and that I wouldn’t even have to go through the tests to find out. You see, just over a year ago, I had to have a mammogram, an ultrasound, and a biopsy on this breast. The whole experience was just terrifying. But, I would go through it all again if I had to, because early intervention could mean the difference between life and death.

The red ring was very close to where my pain was (on the left side, extending outward towards my underarm). When I looked up images, it looked a lot like ringworm. Only, my redness wasn’t raised, flaky, or itchy.

Picture that I found that looks similar to what I experienced before it began to spread.

As a day or two went on, the ring disappeared, and the redness started looking more spread out. It was also extending further upwards. I didn’t have a fever, but I did feel sick to my stomach, and extra tired, and the pain was getting worse. The nausea may have been from my nerves. I wanted to feel for a lump, but I couldn’t due to the excruciating pain. Of course this all took place over the weekend, so when Monday finally rolled around, I called my OB to make an appointment. I got in right away and the doctor saw the redness and the pain I was in, and was able to feel a knot (man that hurt). Thankfully it hadn’t abscessed.

As you’ve probably already figured out from the title, I had mastitis. Who knew! I sure didn’t! I had a feeling though, because this sure seemed a lot like all the times I had it when I was breastfeeding my children. I got it with every single one of them, sometimes multiple times. And if my memory serves me correctly, it was always on the left side. I don’t know why I’m so susceptible to getting mastitis, but it sure isn’t a fun thing to experience. The last time I breastfed was over a year and a half ago.

I currently have a couple more days on my antibiotics, but I’m so happy to report that the pain, redness, and lump are all gone. Thank you Jesus!

Be blessed my friends!

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