I have an arch enemy. It’s name is yeast. I have been combating this enemy for over a month. I can’t remember what life was like before I was in the throes of battle with this formidable foe. My first formal attack seemed successful but it was just lying in wait, biding it’s time before I stopped treatment and it could advance once again, this time seemingly with more power than before. This war with yeast has completely taken over my life. I want my life back. I want to win this war.
There are many casualties in this war against thrush. The most upsetting casualty is comfort – I’m in pain all the time. Breastfeeding hurts, but it’s the random, burning, itching, shooting pain that takes over my nipple and travels back into my breast at all hours of the day – and most times without provocation – that is getting to me. I’d endure breastfeeding pain much worse than this if I could remain pain free for the rest of the day. The burning and itching are constant but if something rubs against my breasts or my nipple pulls away from my nipple pad it sends lightening bursts of agony through my entire breast and brings tears to my eyes. Many tears have been shed in this war, not just from pain but also from frustration.
Frustration over the second casualty – convenience and time. I spend SO MUCH TIME combating this persistent enemy, it’s insane. Every time I nurse I have to wipe both nipples down with vinegar rinse, then I have cover them (and most of my breast) in a clo.trimozole/hydrocortizone mixture which has to dry before I can put an antibacterial ointment on. Finally all of that should be dry before I put on nipple pads. During this time I can’t bring Isa to my chest, which makes it hard to hold or comfort her. I have to put her down after feedings and leave her somewhere for at least 5 minutes before I can pick her up. She doesn’t like this much and vocalizes her displeasure with gusto. The final feeding of the night is a huge deal as that is our Gen.tian Vio.let attack time. For this feeding Isa has to be stripped down to a simple disposable diaper (we usually use cloth) and slathered (on her face!) with a jelly or oil to keep from retaining a persistent, purple stain all over her cheeks, nose and chin. I have to be completely naked but for some sweats that I’ve surrendered to the cause and our glider and nursing pillow have to be covered in towels that are understood to be further casualties of this conflict (they are both COVERED in bright purple stains). When we’re done I have to wipe Isa’s face off (and man does she hate that) before putting her down to somehow cover my breasts without ruining the bra I’m covering them with. It’s in a huge ordeal and takes forever, which is especially frustrating when it’s midnight and I just want to go to bed.
And then there is the sanitizing. Everything that touches my boobs or Isa’s bottom has to be sanitized with vinegar or boiling. That means I can only wear a bra once before it has to be washed on hot (which is ruining my bras), with vinegar added to the rinse cycle. Nursing bras are expensive and I don’t have a lot of them, plus I have to wear a bra at night when I sleep to hold pads over my my nipples or I’ll wake up in a puddle of my own milk. Needless to say I’m doing a load of “sterile” wash every other day or so. I also have to add vinegar to the rinse cycle of Isa’s cloth diapers. I don’t have an in-unit washer and dryer so adding vinegar means timing a return trip to the laundry room so as to perfectly coincide with the beginning of the rinse cycle. It’s all very stressful and time consuming.
Another important casualty is food. Yeast thrives on sugar so I can’t eat any. I can’t eat simple carbohydrates unless they are accompanied by lots of protein and fat. On my birthday I barely had a sliver of cake. I haven’t had anything sweet – not even fruit juices – in over two weeks. The yeast is so bad I can feel it burning after I’ve indulged in something so sinful as a cracker or, god forbid, bread. I had no intention of dieting this soon after having my baby and I LOATHE these restrictions on food. It really, really bothers me.
The final casualty of this war is money. Man I have spent a lot of money combating this formidable foe. From probiotics to Gen.tian Vio.let to grapefruit seed extract to giant bottles of vinegar to extra sets of cotton nipple pads (NOT cheap) to tubes and tubes of clo.trimozole to Di.flucan prescriptions – I’ve spent well over $100 in at attempt to rid myself of this stuff.
And I’d be okay with all of this if I knew I could win this war, but honestly I feel less and less hopeful every day. I’ve read so many threads online where people voice there experiences of having thrush for months on end, even after going hard core and taking Di.flucan. Di.flucan is supposed to take care of yeast but I’m over 10 days into my prescriptions and it’s hardly made a dent in my pain. Gen.tian Vio.let is also supposed to take it out but again, after my SECOND week of the stuff, the yeast is not even just lingering, but fully present. If a simultaneous attack of Di.flucan and Gen.tian Vio.let can’t make a dent in this thrust, how can I hope it will ever go away.
The lactation consultant I’ve been seeing promises me we can get rid of it. She says that our bodies are made to balance themselves out again. But I’m giving my body all sorts of back-up and it seems totally unable to control this invader. I feel hopeless, desperate and so, so frustrated.
Last night I sobbed for the fifth night in a row, about how much it hurts and how desperate I feel. There is no end in sight and I don’t know how much of this I can take. If stopping nursing guaranteed I could end this, I probably would, that is how bad it is. It’s miserable, painful, stressful, upsetting – just plain awful. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. I feel so sidelined by this – to have motherhood defined by a condition I didn’t even know existed?! AHHH!
I guess I can only take things one day at a time, one minute at a time, and hope for the best. That is really all I can do.
BUENAS NOTICIAS – My sister watched Isa yesterday so Mi.Vida and I could see Inception on the IMAX. SO AMAZING!!!! I highly recommend it.