from Catherine Pearson and The Huffington Post
Karey was diagnosed with breast cancer when her first baby, a girl, was just 7 months old. In this installment of The Breastfeeding Chronicles, the 31-year-old stay-at-home mom talks about what it was like to be treated for breast cancer right after having a baby, and how she managed to nurse her second child, now 10-months-old, with one breast.
I had just finished pumping for my daughter when I discovered a lump. I’d had major supply issues — at one point, I was seeing a lactation consultant every week — but because there wasn’t enough milk, my daughter basically refused to breastfeed. Neither of us enjoyed it — she screamed every time I put her to the breast. So ultimately, I just pumped for her, and she nursed, maybe, once a night. We also supplemented with formula.
We just assumed the lump was a clogged milk duct, so I went in to have it drained, but they discovered it was actually solid. At that point, I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. I was never properly staged, but it was very large and fast-growing.
My first thought was basically, “My husband and I are not done having babies yet!” But there was basically a 50-50 chance that chemo would send me into menopause. So the first thing we did was fertility preservation. I went through IVF without the actual implementation — they harvested my eggs and my husband and I created embryos. It all went very fast — I was diagnosed February 23 and I started chemo on March 23. They managed to squeeze in fertility preservation within that one cycle. I was very lucky in that sense.