Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Interesting Information

At least I found it interesting. I think you all know that one of the hardest things, if not THE hardest thing, about my diagnosis was weaning my son before chemo and radiation started. From the beginning I've been of the opinion that if, after this shit was all over, Eli asked to nurse, I would let him. And if he started back up again, that was fine with me.

He hasn't asked, for the record. He does, however, fondly pat my breasts and say they are His Uns. I asked him once if he missed nursing and he said he did.

I will admit to being concerned about the safety of nursing after undergoing such harsh treatments. Obviously it's not safe to nurse during cancer treatments. But what about afterwards? How long after cancer treatments would one have to wait before nursing?

Well, guess what I have in my hot little hands?? The answers! There is a very cool doctor by the name of Dr. Hale who does great work concerning medications and breastfeeding. He opened a center called InfantRisk Center that is dedicated to providing up-to-date, evidence based, information about medications and breastfeeding. There are people available daily to take calls. How great is that?? Here's a link if you'd like to know more: InfantRisk Center

Some people might say this is not important information. Some people might say that extended breastfeeding doesn't matter that much. Some people didn't understand why it was so heartbreaking to me to wean a 3 year old. That it's a waste of time to encourage a weaned child to go back to the breast. I happen to disagree, and I know I'm not alone. With more and more young women diagnosed with colorectal cancer every year, I think this IS important information.

So here's the deal. I was treated with 5FU, Leucovorin, oxaliplatin, and irinotecan (I alternated FOLFOX and FOLFURI for my 8 treatments after surgery...I know not every oncologist does it that way). An important part of safety of drugs and breastfeeding is how long the drug stays in one's system.
5FU is gone in 24 hours.
Leucovorin is gone in 2 days.
Oxaliplatin binds to red blood cells. It takes about 3 months for the body to replace all red blood cells.
Irinotecan is gone in 28 hours.

Radiation was another concern. From what I could gather, the radiation I received was high energy x-rays. According to InfantRisk, this type of x-ray is just in and out of the body and has no effect on breastfeeding. There are, however, other kinds of radiation, so for your particular situation it would be wise to give InfantRisk a call if you need more information.

So, with that information, I would feel safe nursing at this point.

I don't know what will happen. I don't know that Eli would start nursing again. I do know that this information has made me feel so damn peaceful. It's like knowing I CAN nurse if we choose brings everything around full circle. The hard things I went through somehow seem more worth it. I don't know, it's hard to explain.

And maybe this information will help someone else.

No judgment, I think we all do the best we can with what we know. I wanted to share because I'm so freaking happy about learning this stuff. :)


  1. I am so very happy for you and Eli!

    Love, Amanda

  2. So glad you posted this info so it is out there. I keep going back and forth in my mind if I should nurse my baby again after treatment. He will be about 15mths when I could nurse him. But then worry about having to temp. wean for the time I am gone for surgery and what that would to do him. Would it be like the first weaning all over again and harder on him?