I'm sitting at home Tuesday night, my husband's at his Spanish class, and I randomly put my hand on my left breast close to the breastbone. There's a pronounced lump very close to the surface. I could see the lump in the mirror and the site was kind of red and irritated. And I felt sick like I had the flu but very lightly.
In the morning, the redness was worse and I called in sick to work. I made an appointment to see my new Kasier doctor (the short story of switching to Kaiser was that now my health is stabilized and Blue Cross was acting more and more like an HMO, I thought I'd just switch to one). She could see me that morning.
I thought for sure it was a cyst since I've had those before but the lump was hard and it really came out of nowhere so I was stumped. As I waiting for the doctor to come into the room I looked at myself in the mirror and the skin was now really red. She came in and instantly declared it mastitis. What? You don't think it's a cyst because I've had those before? Don't you want to do a needle aspiration? What the heck is mastitis?
The doctor just said it was an infection. I asked, "An infection of what?" Now she answered "the skin" but my further internet research told me that was bunk. Anyway, she prescribed some antibiotics and said I'd be feeling better by Friday.
My flu-like symptoms went away by Thursday and I was already, thankfully taking Thursday and Friday off from work so I was able to relax at home. The lump is still there and it hurts to press on it but I try to avoid that expect when my husband's cousin hugged me too hard and I yelled out in pain.
From what I understand, mastitis is most commonly a Staph infection of the breast tissue. And only breastfeeding women get it and in rare cases, non-breastfeeding women can get it too. So the cruel irony is that you don't have to be breastfeeding to get a breast infection. I had a massage about seven hours before the lump appeared so I can only assume it came from that. You know, lying on your stomach, warm table, maybe not washed since the last client. We all have Staph on our skin that's friendly to us so this must have been foreign Staph.