What is mastitis? It’s an inflammation of breast tissue, commonly a result of an unresolved blocked milk duct. When you get it, you feel like someone’s holding you down and shoving large needles into you. On top of the pain, you likely develop flu-like symptoms that leave you feeling sick and exhausted.

I had mastitis, and it was awful. But what was worse was the infection that developed on top of my mastitis. I ended up getting a deep tissue infection called cellulitis.

When the doctor prescribed me antibiotics, I was hoping things would get better. Instead, the pain started to spread from my breast to my back. For two days I kept taking my medication with no relief. Finally, at the urging of my mom, I went back to my doctor. The minute she looked at me, she knew something wasn’t right. Then she looked at the bright red patch, or as I described it, the claw. It was taking over the side of my breast with streaks moving along to the back. I’ll always remember the look of grave concern cross my doctor’s face as she urged me to go to the ER. She made me promise her I would go as things weren’t good and I would need IV antibiotics.

My husband and I rushed to the emergency room, and I was prepped for an IV. Unfortunately, things aren’t always straightforward. It took three nurses and four tries to get the intravenous needle in. My veins like to roll which makes the process a “challenge” as I heard the medical staff call it. I had this issue with both Ben and Will, so it was no surprise. Each try is extremely painful. I despise IV insertion! Finally, the head nurse was called in, and I was set to go. Thankfully I didn’t have to stay. I had one round of antibiotics and then was sent home and in the care of the Canadian Care Access Centre (CCAC). For three days I had a nurse come into my home to administer the medication. Yesterday, I saw my family doctor, and she confirmed the infection was now stabilized. I’m now on antibiotics pill-form for the next week.

What an ordeal this has been! I’m almost back to normal, aside from a swollen gland in my armpit. Will is officially done breastfeeding. I was thinking about weaning him anyway, but this experience catapulted plans. Interestingly, he didn’t like drinking from the infected breast (I read the milk can taste salty because the infection causes you to produce more sodium). I’m just thankful I’m back on the road to good health and can lift my baby again. I hope mastitis and cellulitis are behind me for good!