Woman shares shocking details after contracting rare breast disease from hotel bathroom

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By VT

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A Cincinnati woman discovered she had a rare inflammatory breast disease, granulomatous mastitis (GM), in 2017 when she found a lump in her breast after returning from a business trip.

GM, characterized by painful inflammation, caused anxiety for Tami Burdick, 43, due to limited information available about the disease.

"Learning as much as I could about the rare condition, and I saw the pictures, the horrendous pictures of women who are victims of the disease. It’s a deformity," Burdick told Fox19. "It’s a bunch of mixed emotions for sure. You know, I cried. It’s very scary, you know, the uncertainty. You’re wanting answers, but they’re not quite there."

She found solace in a Facebook support group where she connected with other women who had the condition, including Dawn Wade, another GM patient.

"I had a lump in my breast, and then it just grew exponentially from like a small knot to the size of a small avocado within like a week," Wade said.

Both women, driven by their shared experience, dedicated themselves to understanding the causes of GM. Burdick's surgical oncologist, Dr. Kelly McLean from The Christ Hospital, explained that the disease can be categorized into sterile and non-sterile types, with the latter caused by various bacterial organisms.

Wade learned through testing that her GM resulted from a bacteria known as corynebacterium bovis, which likely entered her body during breastfeeding through microtears in the nipple. Wade underwent surgery and is now in the recovery phase, involving daily painful wound treatments.

Burdick's GM, however, was caused by a different bacteria, corynebacterium kroppenstedtii. She underwent surgery and began an antibiotic course aimed at combating the specific bacteria. What puzzled Burdick and her medical team was how she contracted the bacteria, as she wasn't nursing at the time of her diagnosis.

"We can also see mastitis in women who aren’t nursing, and it’s that we all have bacteria under our skin, and I’m not sure why some people become susceptible to it," McLean said.

After months of research, Burdick found that corynebacterium kroppenstedtii is an environmental bacteria linked to water, sewer, and soil. Upon reviewing her timeline and activities, Burdick and her doctors hypothesized that she contracted the bacteria during her business trip to Connecticut in 2017. It is thought that she contracted the bacteria from her hotel shower.

Burdick is now determined to educate others about GM, particularly her version, and the risks associated with contaminated water. She also advocates for more concerted efforts from physicians and surgeons to understand the condition better and develop a more consistent treatment plan and protocol.

She emphasizes the importance of self-advocacy, a sentiment echoed by Wade, who encourages patients to voice their concerns when they feel something isn't right.

While bacteria were the identified cause for both Burdick and Wade, medical studies show GM can arise from various sources, including hormone imbalances, fungal infections, and other complications.

There's also idiopathic granulomatous mastitis, where the cause remains unknown. Treatment approaches vary from person to person, and up to 40% of patients may experience a recurrence of GM, highlighting the need for continued vigilance.

Featured image credit: Team Static/Getty

Woman shares shocking details after contracting rare breast disease from hotel bathroom

vt-author-image

By VT

Article saved!Article saved!

A Cincinnati woman discovered she had a rare inflammatory breast disease, granulomatous mastitis (GM), in 2017 when she found a lump in her breast after returning from a business trip.

GM, characterized by painful inflammation, caused anxiety for Tami Burdick, 43, due to limited information available about the disease.

"Learning as much as I could about the rare condition, and I saw the pictures, the horrendous pictures of women who are victims of the disease. It’s a deformity," Burdick told Fox19. "It’s a bunch of mixed emotions for sure. You know, I cried. It’s very scary, you know, the uncertainty. You’re wanting answers, but they’re not quite there."

She found solace in a Facebook support group where she connected with other women who had the condition, including Dawn Wade, another GM patient.

"I had a lump in my breast, and then it just grew exponentially from like a small knot to the size of a small avocado within like a week," Wade said.

Both women, driven by their shared experience, dedicated themselves to understanding the causes of GM. Burdick's surgical oncologist, Dr. Kelly McLean from The Christ Hospital, explained that the disease can be categorized into sterile and non-sterile types, with the latter caused by various bacterial organisms.

Wade learned through testing that her GM resulted from a bacteria known as corynebacterium bovis, which likely entered her body during breastfeeding through microtears in the nipple. Wade underwent surgery and is now in the recovery phase, involving daily painful wound treatments.

Burdick's GM, however, was caused by a different bacteria, corynebacterium kroppenstedtii. She underwent surgery and began an antibiotic course aimed at combating the specific bacteria. What puzzled Burdick and her medical team was how she contracted the bacteria, as she wasn't nursing at the time of her diagnosis.

"We can also see mastitis in women who aren’t nursing, and it’s that we all have bacteria under our skin, and I’m not sure why some people become susceptible to it," McLean said.

After months of research, Burdick found that corynebacterium kroppenstedtii is an environmental bacteria linked to water, sewer, and soil. Upon reviewing her timeline and activities, Burdick and her doctors hypothesized that she contracted the bacteria during her business trip to Connecticut in 2017. It is thought that she contracted the bacteria from her hotel shower.

Burdick is now determined to educate others about GM, particularly her version, and the risks associated with contaminated water. She also advocates for more concerted efforts from physicians and surgeons to understand the condition better and develop a more consistent treatment plan and protocol.

She emphasizes the importance of self-advocacy, a sentiment echoed by Wade, who encourages patients to voice their concerns when they feel something isn't right.

While bacteria were the identified cause for both Burdick and Wade, medical studies show GM can arise from various sources, including hormone imbalances, fungal infections, and other complications.

There's also idiopathic granulomatous mastitis, where the cause remains unknown. Treatment approaches vary from person to person, and up to 40% of patients may experience a recurrence of GM, highlighting the need for continued vigilance.

Featured image credit: Team Static/Getty