Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Pain in the... breast

I have a very high pain tolerance, and I'm very good at ignoring pain. So good in fact that I almost died a few years ago. I've since learned to listen to my body better, and to make better determinations as to what pain means (ie something is wrong) and when it is time to do something about it.

For about 6 weeks I've been experiencing pain in one of my breasts, the kind of pain that wakes me up in the middle of the night, moaning and clutching at myself. It took me about a month to determine why one breast was hurting more than the other -- a recurring inflammation / skin infection that I've been trying to get rid of for over a year. It hadn't occurred to me that the infection had penetrated beyond the subcutaneous level until I started feeling pain deeper in my breast.

I told my doctor I wanted it excised but she insisted on trying antibiotics again to clear it up, mainly because it didn't look like much on the surface. After 10 days of Keflex and my second-ever yeast infection I told my doc that the infection had no subsided and requested an outpatient surgery appointment. I got one the next day, and when I went in the nurse who did the preliminary examination said she didn't think it would need to be opened up. I just smiled.

When the surgeon examined me and heard my story, he agreed that the infected area should be removed, but didn't think that the infection went beyond the subcutaneous level. I figured once he had the wound opened, he'd see for sure. And sure enough, the infection had reached into the underlying breast tissue, which explained why I was experiencing so much pain. Fortunately, the high dosage of antibiotics had reduced the inflammation, etc, so the debridement was fairly straight-forward.

Now it's just a matter of more antibiotics and careful watching of the wound. And because I'm pregnant, no oxycodone, just Tylenol for pain. Meh.

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