About this Blog

This blog started as an online diary and place for me to rant about annoyances in my family.

However since July it has become a place for me to catalogue and express my views and opinions on the treatment I have recieved following the diagnosis of a potentially cancerous tumor in my bowel.

On 3rd August 2011 I was told that it was cancerous. In April 2012 I was given the all clear.

October 15th 2013 I was diagnosed with peritoneal disease and liver metastases. The cancer was back and this time it is inoperable.

It is a little bit out of date as the NHS doesn't tend to have a WiFi connection in hospital and I can only post when I get home and posts take a while to write.

It is NOT about individuals or the nursing profession. It is about some of the inadequacies in the system and the way the NHS is failing some people.

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Wednesday, 30 October 2013

A 6 month old newborn baby

2 weeks ago, an angel arrived in Crawley and proceeded do something no mother, grandmother, parent or carer should have to do. Force a 6 month old baby to do something which goes against all their natural instincts and is completely alien to everything they have known so far.

This is not a bottle bashing, breastfeeding praising post. This is about the pain and struggles that my family, including my mum have been through in the last 2 weeks due to the reappearance of my cancer.

We had bought the formula a few days earlier and tried half heartedly to get Hope to take a little bit from a bottle. Tony had tried using the avent bottles that I had from when I went back to work after having Isaac. She took 3 oz at one point, but that was it. We would offer her the bottle at bed/bath time but if she didn't take it, no biggie, I still had my boobs and she was still more than happy to latch on and feed as normal.

All this changed on Tuesday morning. As soon as cancer, then chemo, then the aggressiveness of the tumours were mentioned I knew that this was it. My fabulous breastfeeding journey was coming to an end. 

When I say fabulous, I mean it. I never intended to be an extended breast feeder. I just wanted to do what came naturally. For Isaac that meant he fed until I was 5 months pregnant with Imogen and he was 16 months old. For Imogen that meant feeding her until I was admitted to hospital in 2011, she was 17 months old. I fully intended doing the same with Hope. 

I love breastfeeding, I love it's intimacy, accessibility, and the ability to be able to offer comfort to my baby. It is no faff, no fuss and quick, convenient and easy. 

I have never judged people that chose to feed their baby infant formula. I recognise that every one has a choice and what works for me, might not to for you. 

When I knew I had to stop, I knew I needed 2 things. My mum and some Tommee tippee bottles from my sister in law. Mum arrived on Wednesday and we sat down a worked out a plan.

The plan had 2 goals, by the following Thursday Hope had to be comfortable and able to take formula from a bottle. Also I had to drop feeds gradually enough to prevent myself getting mastitis or engorged and suffering from any of the painful side effects of stopping breastfeeding as I found out the drugs you can take to stop milk production are incompatible with chemo!!

I won't lie, I spent a lot of time hiding upstairs while Hope screamed at my mum. I sobbed my heart out, repeatedly, I felt guilt, I felt regret, I felt suicidal at one point. But after a little bit of trial and error Mum found that Hope liked a size 2 teat and very warm milk. 

The next step was Hope taking a bottle from me. We accomplished that over the weekend. Then on Monday, when I had my nurse led clinic appointment I took bottles and managd to feed her in the waiting area at the hospital. 

My final step was leaving Hope. I did this on Wednesday when I had my PICC line put in. 

I was heartbroken, I was not Hope's sole carer anymore. Now anyone could look after her. Some people are more willing to give her bottles than others. 

So on Thursday morning, I gave Hope her last ever breastfeeding. I sobbed, I couldn't stop apologising to her for not giving her the same opportunity that Isaac and Imogen had had. 

Now I am in a whole new world. It is like having a 6 month old newborn. I am having to learn a whole new set of feeding cues and associations. I need to plan, I can't just leave the house. I need bottles, formula powder, boiling water. Hope spends a lot more time screaming now because I cannot anticipate when I might need to feed her. Her sleeping is all over the place and I don't know how much she needs. 

Over the weekend she was having 4 7oz bottles a day. Today she has had 3 4oz bottles, 2 6oz bottles and a 2oz bottle. I don't know how many times she will wake up tonight. 

Then there are the nappies, ok so we are weaning as well, but no more lovely smelling breastfed baby poo. Formula nappies are unpleasant and far more frequent than her one every 2/3 days. 

Finally the cost. This is really annoying me. I don't want to feed my baby formula, but added to all the associated increasd costs with cancer I now have to add an extra £10 a week to my food shop, because of cancer.

So cancer, screw you, I will beat you again because of what you have robbed me off.