It started Wednesday evening and escalated incredibly fast. I went from feeling rather achy all over around 7 PM to by 10 PM I felt like I'd been hit by a mac truck and had to drop everything I was in the middle of and go to bed. One area of my right breast was tender, but not especially painful. I woke up around 2 AM feeling incredibly nauseous and in a cold sweat. Grabbed a thermometer and headed to the kitchen. Sat down with a mixing bowl in my lap (I was that close to throwing up) and took my temp, which was 3 degrees above normal (normal for me is about 97.2*F and it was 100.something). I thought if I could just eat something the nausea would either go away or at least temporarily abate after a good retch session. But all of a sudden everything started to fade. Oh, I know this feeling. Quick, head between knees - GO!!!! My hands went all tingly and I wondered if maybe I was having a heart attack. A small part of me thought, well, it would end this misery. Whatevs. >_< I weakly called for my hubby and luckily he heard me and came to my rescue with water. I told him I needed food and he nuked me some rice but I couldn't get any down. Next I tried grapes and that did the trick very quickly (probably by spiking my blood sugar and bottomed out blood pressure). I sat there slowly sipping a glass and a half of water and finally made my way back to bed just in time for Kenzo to start crying and need a feed. By now that right breast was more than tender and the area was red. I was thinking it was mastitis and not contagious, but it's not like we had milk or formula in the fridge to feed the baby just in case. Not like he would take a bottle anyway! Geez, I see how we shot ourselves in the foot there. Whoops! Note to self, start next child on the bottle EARLY!
Thursday morning I still felt totally fluish as far as my whole body aching, but at least the nausea and faintness were gone, so I sent hubby to work and said I could manage with Kenzo. I did manage, but it's not easy taking care of a baby when you feel like sh!%!! I did some googling and asked friends on facebook about how to treat mastitis naturally because I didn't want to haul myself and Kenzo to an ER and I really REALLY didn't want to take a round of antibiotics, especially while breastfeeding.
So here's the advice I got (other than "GET YOUR A$$ TO THE DOCTOR!!!") and followed:
1) Lots of rest
2) Extra fluids
3) Hot compression before nursing; hot shower
4) Extra nursing sessions and/or pumping to fully empty the effected breast, gently massaging the breast while nursing/pumping (apparently the infection is often passed from the baby into the mother, so baby should be fine to drink the milk from the infected boob... sorry baby!!)
5) Increase probiotics and other immune boosters like high-dose vitamin c, vitamin d, raw garlic, echinacea
6) Cut out junk food and sweets (this is not tough when you feel like crap, it's the only time I'm not craving fries and chocolate milk shakes!)
7) Ibuprofen for pain/inflamation
8) Cabbage leaves on the affected breast
9) Someone also suggested the supplement lecithin but I didn't end up bothering with this one
By Friday morning my breast was no longer red and only the slightest bit tender, and the whole body ache somehow consolidated into my head. MASSIVE throbbing headache exponentially so upon standing up. WTF?? Advil to the rescue. This morning (Saturday) I feel 90% fine - boob is not tender at all, and I only have a headache upon standing, but with some Advil I'm at 100%. At this rate I'll be back to normal tomorrow. Hooray!!
So was it mastitis and my super human immune system and cabbage filled bra kicked it's butt in record time without antibiotics?? If so, I blame the culprit on my slightly small underwire nursing bras that I wore on Tuesday and Wednesday because I was behind on laundry and all of my wireless nursing bras were stanky sweaty (TMI, sorry - don't forget - we have no AC!! Can you imagine the situation of my poor bras!?). Never again. I will go braless before I wear those horrendous mastitis inducing bras again!!
Or perhaps it was a random virus that my body had a hard time fighting off, and the tender/painful boob was a wacky coincidence?
The mystery behind the illness is strengthened even more by the fact that I haven't been sick in about two years. Not even a cold. Not even while pregnant when your immune system is supposed to be shot! Let's hope this record continues and it's another two years before my next illness. I sincerely think this is possible, especially if I remain a SAHM with Kenzo. The second he starts day care or school, all hope is out the window and it's HELLO to bimonthly colds for everyone in the family for the rest of his childhood. Am I right? Ughhhh...