I am 37 years old and have been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Inflammatory Breast Cancer. This cancer is affects less than 6% of all breast cancer victims and is extremely aggressive. From what I’ve read, if this cancer goes without treatment I will be dead within months. Well, that simply does not fit into any of the plans I have so we must do something about it!

Let me begin by telling you how it was discovered. On Sunday, May 17, 2009 I discovered a bruise on my right breast by my areola that actually resembled a hickey but I KNEW it was not a hickey J I also couldn’t think of any injury, my son pinching me or anything that would have caused a bruise so the monitoring began. It wasn’t long and we noticed that my breast was getting more “full” than the other and the bruise was getting a little bigger. On Wednesday, May 20th I made an appointment with my OBGYN and was able to get in that day. She assumed, because of how fast this had come on and because we could now feel the lump right above the nipple that an abscess had formed and there was an infection in there. She prescribed the antibiotic, Keflex, wanted me to take it at double the normal amount and come back on Friday for her to examine me again. On Friday I returned and nothing had changed. She immediately called the hospital to schedule an ultra sound to see if there was any fluid in the lump and they were able to get me in that day! So that afternoon I went, had the ultra sound and there was no fluid. Well, this was the Friday before Memorial Day, it was after 4:00 and we could not get me an appointment with a surgeon before the next week. That was the first time anyone has ever apologized to me for it being a 3-day weekend. On Tuesday they scheduled me an appointment for Wednesday. Not bad, this is one week from my first visit. The surgeon, like my OBGYN was sure it was an infection and tried to draw fluid out. Nope, nothing. She immediately did the biopsy but wanted me to switch to a strong antibiotic while we were waiting for the results. She wanted to keep treating it as an infection but didn’t want to stall on the biopsy either. Good girl! She said it would take until Monday or Tuesday to get the results and so the waiting began and I was feeling my breast probably 20 times and hour praying for a change. By Monday, June 1, 2009 I knew nothing had changed and was researching breast cancer online. By the time I got my call at 4:30 that afternoon I was not at all surprised to learn that I have Inflammatory Breast Cancer, I have all the signs.

I really do have to give a shout out to my doctors, they did not waist a minute getting me diagnosed. Kudos to you fine ladies and one gentleman, you are awesome!

On Wednesday I had an appointment with the surgeon to discuss my options. Well, if you think I was sitting around doing nothing the day before you are way wrong, I’ve done nothing at work but eat and breathe this cancer. Of course I was researching where I wanted to have this treated. Because of where I live nothing is real convenient but that wasn’t the problem, I wanted to go where I believe will give me the best treatment. From what I could tell, I had at least 3 great choices in my state but then I dug a little farther. The University of Michigan has an Inflammatory Breast Cancer Clinic, one of just a small handful of these clinics in the county. That made my decision easy. They do nothing but this kind of cancer and they are cutting-edge. Plus, well, it’s the U of M and I’ve been a die-hard Wolverine fan for my whole life so that that’s a bonus! Anyway, I suggested to the surgeon that this is where I wanted to go, she had no problems calling them for me and getting me in. However, she knew it would be a few days before I could get in so she wanted to run more tests here so they could be done before I got there and we could get to treating me faster! Again, massive kudos to her. On Thursday, June 4, 2009, I had some blood work done and my CAT scans taken care of. The results and images are in my hands for me to take with me the day after tomorrow. In less than 3 weeks from my first doctor’s appointment I am going to the University of Michigan Cancer Center to “get this party started”. Not bad.

I’d be a flat out liar if I tried to sit here and tell you that I’m not scared because I’m terrified. This is going to suck and I probably don’t have a clue how bad. However, I know I have no choice but to suck it up, and I will, with a smile on my face. I’m staying positive, looking at the bright side and looking forward to getting this little bump in the road (bump in the breast, whatever) over with. Laughter heals. I believe that full heartedly. Keep me laughing when I get down, because I will. Give me a shoulder when I need it, because I will. I know YOU will. I have best support system in the world. My friends, my family, my co-workers (who are so much more to me than co-workers) and my online friends are amazing. People are coming out of the woodwork to give me hugs and offer support and I haven’t even told everyone yet. You are my rock and I want to thank you now as we begin and I will thank you every day.

Many people have asked me how can they help. First of all, I’ll need your prayers. Secondly, send me quick little notes to that keep me laughing and knowing that you are still there. Yes, I’ll be able to see how many hits this blog gets but I want to know WHO is looking at it. Finally, if you want to do something else, and I have been told many times to make sure I ask, we could use gas cards to help cover the costs of hauling my butt to treatments. Also, I’ve been told that I will have internet access while in the hospital, I hope I don’t have to actually be in there many times but I will have to be some for sure. If a group wanted to get together and purchase a netbook or something of the sort, I would love that. I’m a knitter, send me suggestions of what you want me to knit for you! But honestly, I really just need YOU!

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