Crushed by the lawn mower…

Not physically thank goodness, but emotionally. It’s a bit strange sounding I know. But, it’s how I’m feeling today.

I was advised by a friend of mine (she’s really a second Mom to me), whom is also a writer, that I should write about these small life moments affected by my cancer. Originally, I felt a great responsibility to just share info about my cancer and all the facts. The important things are the scientific and medical news I can share, right? But, I’m learning that this journey isn’t just about medical stuff. There is definitely an illogical and strictly emotional aspect to it. And it certainly is affecting my life. This is just one of the many ways…

So, I’m sure your wondering about the lawn mower.

I really like mowing the lawn. I couldn’t sleep well last night. (I never can the night after my taxol chemo because they give me steroids that make me wired). While I was staring into darkness my mind was actively thinking about how I was going to mow the lawn the next day. I have a large yard and it is not easy to mow. I’m in the middle of the woods and we have just under 2 acres. It is hilly everywhere and it’s pretty much a nightmare in the fall with the leaves, but it is a fun challenge in the summer for me. Except, my riding mower broke. We have a push mower, though. It’s been a couple weeks since we mowed and I knew it would be a challenge to mow because I get easily tired. But, I was so excited!! I figured I’d only do the important parts: the clearing at the end of the road, the area around the kids trampoline and the small section around the shed, the parking area and the front yard. Ok. So that sounds like a lot more when I wrote it down, but that’s seriously only about half of it!

I changed to shorts, and a tank, strap on my trusty mowing shoes and throw a bandana on my peach fuzz head. I make a huge water for myself and eat a banana on the covered porch. I’m stoked, it’s a beautiful sunny day and it’s gonna look so much nicer when I’m done. I love the fresh grass smell and I love yard work. (Minus leaves. Yuck.) I go out and fill the tank with gas start it up and get going, it’s cutting great. I mow a few minutes and notice I’d rather stick to a small section rather than walking so much. Getting tired already. That’s fine. Pulling this mower across this terrain that’s a bit bumpy is doing a number on my back, I’m gonna move to a flatter area. Okay. This isn’t much better. Going towards the trampoline area which has been ignored since the last time on the mower because it broke. It needs to be done, this will be motivating, crap. I don’t know what these strange weeds are and I don’t want to get some strange hives or something. I think I’ll just mow in all directions from me making a path like a fan. Back and forth. Didn’t see that big stick. Crap. Stop mower turn it over and clear underneath. Flip back over and start it up. Back and forth. Fuck, this is hard work. But it needs it, I need to keep going. Exhaustion. Dizzy. Push through it. Then my brain argues saying I can’t do that. I need to watch it. I argue with my brain cause I want to mow so bad. I keep going. I get dizzy. I can’t possibly it keep going. I turn off the mower. I need to sit. I wobble to my glider swing about 10 feet away. I flounce down and realize this isn’t going to work. I m panting heavily and the world is spinning. I barely touched the lawn. I couldn’t even mow enough to make it worth going in and recovering and going back out. It would never get done at this rate.

I go inside and my frustration and disappointment get the better of me. I feel the lump in my throat and my tears well up. Fuck. Damnit. Not the lawn. I love mowing. I feel normal when I mow and I feel like it’s good for me physically and for my soul to be out in my beautiful woods and getting some healing healthy exercise while beautifying my home. Damnit why did the rider have to break. Shit. Today is my good day, when I have the extra energy boost from the steroid in me and I can get things done. I only mowed for 15 minutes and almost passed out. I must surrender that I can’t mow again till chemo is done. By that time, it will be mid October and the leaves will be falling and I can’t win that battle with a healthy body and a working riding mower. So, I have to give up on my yard for the rest of the year.

This is the first thing that I have had to completely give up due to cancer. I have had times where I can’t walk up and down stairs for a week and a half during my FEC chemo, but I knew I’d be able to after that. That was temporary. And that was for laundry. That brings me no joy. Lol. Mowing does.

Sure, my husband will now take over…when he can. He has so much on his plate and I started mowing originally because it was harder for him to get to it then me. And I realized I enjoyed it and that was that.

I called my husband crying. I hate crying, and I hate feeling weak. But I also know that I needed him. I needed him to know why the dumb lawn wasn’t going to get cut. I needed him to tell me if there was a magical way of fixing the rider, or if there was no hope. I needed him to tell me that I was being silly. I knew I was. I just needed him to explain to me how silly I was. To hear it so I got better perspective I guess. Why was I crying because I can’t mow the lawn? How is that important in the big picture? It’s not. But it still hurt. My wise and loving husband reminded me that I am fighting a war and I have chemicals inside of me that are poison. He sweetly said that I may not be able to mow the lawn but I am still able to be be an awesome wife and an awesome mother and I am in the process of kicking the shit out of a rare form of cancer. He also made it clear to me that even if we somehow get the best rider in the world before the end of the season that I am not to use it. I have conserve my energy to fight cancer. This is both true and wise, but also a bit annoying because if we do get a super awesome mower I totally want to play mow the lawn. But, he is right. And, I felt better talking to him.

I feel this blog is both the silliest blog I can think to write about and the most real. I’m torn about throwing it out there, but I am going to do so anyways. There are so many people fighting cancer and Im sure every one of them has a thing or two that they really felt emotional about having to stop doing. It’s the little things that make up life and right now my little thing is my getting crushed by a lawn mower. Read more

A warrior Makeover

Everyone whose hair is going to fall out due to chemo should have one.

I had long hair prior to it all coming out due to chemo. My oncologist suggested I have it cut prior to my hair falling out on its own. Not a bad suggestion. Keeps my vacuum and hair drains from being thrown into overdrive and clogging up. Sure, why not. I’ve always, ironically, donated my hair. I grow it long, get sick of it, and donate the standard 10 inches to locks of Love. I’ve done this for years. Because of this, I have always gone to a fancy spa and gotten my hair cut. Why? Because it’s a free haircut when I donate. So, why not?

Well, my husband suggested I go to a friend this time for my haircut. So, I messaged her and told her the situation. She said she didn’t feel comfortable charging me and said she had an idea instead. She said she would cut my hair, of course, but would also have a professional makeup artist and photographer. She asked how I felt about it to which I replied it sounds fantastic but I’m not sure I understood what was happening. That’s when she used the words a warrior makeover or session. That I would get my makeup done, and my hair done and have the photographer take pics of it. It sounded great me to and it was making me excited thinking about getting my hair cut instead of having dread and depression. Having your hair fall out, especially as a woman for something super crappy anyways, is indeed depressing. But, just the idea of having a makeover sounds fun. Having my makeup done sounds great. Being pampered sounds luxurious. I loved the idea instantly. And it touched my heart that she was going to put something like this together. Truthfully, she wasn’t really a close friend. She was within a circle of friends that I have. Someone I’ve seen a large gatherings. Sure, we’ve talked, but to put this love out there for someone you didn’t know very well is awesome indeed. Well, she’s my friend for life now.

Anyways, the day of was very special. My husband and Mom joined me. I must say first am foremost that the dynamics of that room were great. I had a great time. Emotionally I cried a few times. Touched by the generosity and outpouring of love from my angel volunteers.

First, I had the makeup artist apply my makeup. It was fun. She used airbrush makeup which I always wanted to try and she made me feel beautiful. She made sure I was happy and was super sweet. She left me with extra tissues for my random tears and extra lipstick. I felt beautiful. The next step was my hair. We agreed ahead of time to be badass and get a Mohawk with the inflammatory breast cancer colors of pink and orange. It turned out great. I was so nervous about this. The process took time and we just enjoyed one another’s company laughing along the way, with my hairdresser sharing one hilarious story after another. All the while, the professional photographer was just snapping pictures . Nothing posed. I liked that. It’s nerve wracking enough to feel like the center of attention and getting such a dramatic change. She quietly and smoothly joked and snapped pics.

Now, this is where it got a bit more interesting You see, while Jess, my hairdresser, had been describing in our texts what her vision do the day had been, she mentioned that she thought it would be like where I’d be all isle of wonder woman. I told her I though that was great because I have a fascination with swords, and I even have one. So, I had let the cat out of the bag already. My husband packed the sword that morning while leaving the house. The photographer caught wind and it was all over. I had to pose with my sword after my new warrior makeover. I am a secret dweeb who like swords, but I didn’t want the world to know this. Well, it’s all over now. I was instructed to look bad-ass. But, I could only giggle at myself. It was fun. We were by a roundabout with plenty cars driving by while I’m standing in the middle of field holding a sword. All I could do was giggle.

It was empowering, pampering and loving. There is something ceremonial about shaving your head for chemo. It can be somber, heart breaking and sad. If you have a friend do it with you, it can be less lonely and can strengthen relationships.

But, I must say, my own Warrior Makeover made me feel loved, blessed and ready to face the challenge ahead. It gave me confidence. It made me gain friends…beautiful selfless women who reached out and held me steady. It was unexpected and beautiful.

I believe everyone who has to go through chemo hair loss should have a Warrior Makeover. Not just breast cancer women, but anyone. It should something that catches on and is done. I shouldn’t be the only person who had angels during this normally traumatic experience! Share the idea!

Hello…..I have cancer

This is not how I like to start my conversations. I cringe when I hear the words in my head, even. I’m still struggling with this. Unfortunately, I had to tell this to those I love.

The days following my diagnosis, I wanted nothing else but to hurry up and call everyone, tell them about my cancer and get it over with. It’s not something I can keep a secret and I’d rather them hear it from me directly.

It’s bittersweet calling the people you love and throwing something like this out there. It’s joyous to have that connection again, but it’s so hard to interrupt that time and tell them about the awful news. We would catch up quickly on our families but then, I had to throw an emotional hand grenade at them. Every time I had to tell someone, I felt their heart breaking for me. It was so hard for me to do this. Normally, I try to cheer people up. Don’t get me wrong, I bitch about life just like anyone does, then, they have a turn and we try to cheer each other up by offering helpful advice or just laughing at ourselves. This is friendship and love. But, having to throw a big bomb like that was the opposite of what I would ever want to do. Everyone handles this part differently. Some people tell only immediate family and then those people tell more people from there. I’ve even heard of people saying nothing to their family members, even going through chemo, etc. without saying a word. I can’t imagine this. I can’t imagine trying to hold all of, well….everything in. All of your emotions and your physical side effects. I could never do this. I’m a pretty open book. I try to be open and honest with people, and I hope to get that in return. I see my friends and most of my family not as often as I would like. Between kids, distance, and just life in generally, this happens to the best of us. But, personally, if I was on the other end of the phone, I would be grateful to have received a call directly instead of hearing through the grapevine. Or worse yet, seeing it on Facebook. Ironically, I post on Facebook every once in a while. Not frequently at all. My children still look like infants on Facebook. (I might be exaggerating a tiny bit) and still appear still 25 pounds lighter. You get the idea. (A bit ironic since now I am blogging about my life on the internet for the world to see).

It would have been easier to tell people that I had ‘breast cancer’. I didn’t have to say Inflammatory Breast Cancer. But, I started my calls with my siblings, of course. They live in different parts of the country so had to call them to tell the news. They were the hardest to tell. I replay those conversations in my head and they break my heart. They had never heard of it. Then I called my two friend I have had since I was a toddler and the other since I was 8. Neither had heard of it. Then, friends I see more frequently. Never heard of it. It snowballed. I was determined to tell people about this deadly shitty rare breast cancer that no one had even heard of. We didn’t know skin changes on your breast could have anything to do with breast cancer. We didn’t know that an MRI was a better diagnostic tool tool and that mammograms can be useless for this kind of cancer. Those things alone are scary. Unfortunately, the more they learned, the more scary it is. By the time I was done, I was exhausted. I felt better though. I felt as if I had a tiny support system. Everyone offered help and prayers. Some people, whom I didn’t expect, have forward and have become closer to me. Other people I don’t talk to often enough send me flowers, or a gift card. Simple text messages come daily. They warm my heart. Just a simple hi… a simple check in. These little things make me feel stronger. And I need strength these days.

The beginning…

My Journey started when I glanced into the mirror before jumping into the shower. It was April 2, 2018. The lower portion of my left breast was white and raised and hurt like a rug burn at the slightest touch. My nipple wasn’t raising all the way, either. But, I have a history with rashes. I have something called dermatographism, which essentially means I get itchy hives from hard pressure and scratches. So, having a raised rash isn’t exactly new to me. What was new was that this rash hurt. It didn’t itch. I decided to take my shower, thinking maybe my bra rubbed it wrong or something. During my shower, I was surprised at how sensitive my skin was. I couldn’t use the loofa on my skin. It was too tender. It dawned on me that I had pain the night before in my breast. It was not unusual. I am prone to tender breasts right before my period and I had started this morning. It was more extreme though. I had even laid on my back and searched my breast for lumps it had hurt so much. Of course, this proved useless, as it always had. I have dense, fiberous breast tissue. I have lumps everywhere. I had even freaked myself out when I found a lump once, about 5 years prior. It turned out to be nothing, but they did inform me that mammograms wouldn’t be very effective due to the dense tissue, and that, in the future, I would very likely always get an ultrasound as well to see better. But, I had been 32 year old then and didn’t expect to need any mammograms anytime toon.

I called my mom after my shower. My skin was still raised and white. Nipple still flat. It seemed like maybe there was something more going on. I didn’t know what it could be. After talking to my mom, I called my obgyn office. My mom told me she thought it didn’t sound right and told me to call. I have no problem calling and getting things checked out. I don’t put things off if pain is involved. I have had chronic conditions my entire life. All of them involve pain. I’ve had back surgery and I have rheumatoid arthritis. I have enough pain. Now my breast? No thank you. It’s gonna get looked at and then I can get it fixed and the pain will go away.

I called and immediately asked to speak to the nurse. She told me that I needed to come in that day. I told her that I had to go to work. They spoke to the dr. and then informed me that she would stay after hours to see me. I was surprised by this. I guess they always worry at breast changes. Oh well, I was going and truthfully didn’t think much about it except that I was going to make the pain stop.

Straight after work I drove to the Dr. office, she looked at me and told me that I need to call every hospital or women’s health center in the area and see who can get me in the soonest to rule out Inflammatory Breast Cancer. I was shocked. I was shocked that she had used the word cancer. I hadn’t had any tests done and she just threw it out there. I took it steady as a drum, but I was shaken inside. She told me that the symptoms were consistent, and unless I develop a fever she doubted I had a breast infection. There is no ruling it out unless testing does. She told me a friend of hers had been treated for a breast infection by her obgyn and she had inflammatory breast cancer. By the time they were done treating her for an infection, it had metastasized and she didn’t make it. She didn’t want to make the same mistake that doctor had. Better to be safe than sorry.

Now that the word was thrown out there, I was now in a rush. In a rush to eliminate this ugly word as a possibility. It was difficult updating my mom about what the dr. had told me. My husband more so. That evening, my father sent me a link to an inflammatory breast cancer oncologist in Chicago, whom seemed to be a leading expert. I dismissed the suggestion with disgust. I’m not ready to think about that yet. How can he go there in his mind already?

I called to three local hospitals and breast centers. I told them specifically that I needed to get tested to check for inflammatory breast cancer. They moved me to the front of the line and I got in the next day to the same breast center that had done my mammogram 5 years prior.

My husband drove me to the mammogram appointment the next day. I was a nervous wreck. I sat down with the radiation tech and explained that I was there to rule out inflammatory breast cancer. She asked if my breast was red. I told her no. She looked confused and dismissive, like I was crazy. She then told me that it can’t be inflammatory breast cancer, because my breast is not red. In fact, the next day, my breast didn’t have as much white rash as it did, either. It had a small amount of peau de orange, which just means the skin was stretched and swollen so the pores were farther away and more noticeable, like the skin of an orange. But, the color itself was better. My nipple remained more flat. She told me that my breast would be red and wouldn’t get better if I had inflammatory breast cancer, so, it can’t be and your dr. shouldn’t have said it could be to you, that was just mean. I told her, well then it should be easy to rule out then. I hate it when people act like that. But, my fear was that they would do a mammogram, see nothing and not even do an ultrasound. I knew my breast tissues being dense were already an issue, and further reading at home led me to think maybe a mammogram wouldn’t be able to see this type of breast cancer at all. I just needed to talk to the radiologist and get her to do an ultrasound. This was my goal today. A conclusive answer with a better test. I felt like I was wasting my time with the mammogram anyways. The tech’s dismissive attitude did not help me feel like I was going to be thoroughly tested. I felt like I was holding my breath and I’d pass out before leaving this place without an ultrasound and talking to the radiologist. During my mammogram, the tech got quiet, then suddenly very sweet. She then excused herself to talk to the radiologist. She came back and said she needed more pictures. I guess I should have been alarmed, but I wasn’t. Instead, I felt that the mammogram wouldn’t show anything, but, that it was instead the radiologist being extra thorough. After taking more pictures, I sat, seemingly forever in a small waiting area/hallway. I was alone with my wicked thoughts and worries. I couldn’t say truthfully how much time had passed, but it felt way too long. Finally, I was asked to speak to the radiologist. She was young, around my age and sweet. She was concerned and wanted to do a biopsy already. She didn’t even do the ultrasound yet. She explained how she saw areas of skin thickening and micro-calcifications. I asked her if, because my skin was not red, would that eliminate the possibility of inflammatory breast cancer at least. She said no. I have atypical presentation from what I may see when I google pictures, but she is basing her information from what she is seeing inside my breast, not outside. Makes sense. But, not what I was hoping for. She then did the ultrasound and said there is suspicious lymph node sizes as well as a few areas that she’d like to biopsy. I then met with a nurse navigator. I had just done that part a few months prior with my mother in law. She called me one day and asked me if I could accompany her to an appointment the following day get breast biopsy results. It caught me off guard, but I of course agreed to go. The moment I stepped into that office I knew she had cancer. She had a folder sitting there with a ‘your guide to breast cancer’ across the front. Not too tactful if you ask me. It felt strange and unexpected to sit in a different nurse navigator’s office for ME. I didn’t even have a biopsy yet. And I felt like I was being told I had breast cancer. I rejected this feeling outright and just felt completely uncomfortable being there at all. I wanted to leave. ASAP. My husband was there with me and that saved me from acting on it. It’s funny how he was there for me to lean on, yet, I remained strong for him in that moment. (And many more moments to come).

My biopsy was scheduled for the following day. That evening, my husband convinced me to call his sister. One of his sisters is a clinical oncology pharmacist. I had previously decided to keep things quiet and not to tell anyone about things until we knew, so we didn’t put other people through worrying they didn’t need. He pointed out that we should call her only just to see if the local hospital would do things correctly or if there is something that we should insist that they do instead.

K (my sister in law) looked at my mammogram and ultrasound reports and spoke to an oncologist co-worker. She told me that I should have a skin punch biopsy as well as the other biopsies done. At least two skin biopsies she said. The oncologist co-worker suggested I go to an oncologist that works in Chicago, at northwestern. (About 30 miles from us) He said he is a leading expert in inflammatory breast cancer in the nation. He added that he went to school with him and that he would contact him and see if he would be willing to meet with me. He happened to be the same doctor my dad had emailed me about the first night after discovering the breast rash. Ironic. When we asked what she thought about the results from the reports we shared, she said “it’s looking like a duck and quacking like a duck. It’s probably a duck. But, I hope I am wrong”. That was the birth of the phrase ‘the duck’. After that, we would talk about how we hoped it was goose or a woodpecker, but not a duck. Duck was the new easier way of saying inflammatory breast cancer. We weren’t ready to use the c word. ‘Duck’ worked for us instead. More accurately, ‘fucking duck.’

We heard back from the oncologist that he would meet with us, and to schedule through his nurse and gave us her email. My sister in law did so for me. We waited for a response. In the meantime, I was advised that the doctor would likely not want me to have the biopsy done before seeing him. I was scheduled the next day to have my biopsy done. I needed to know if I should do my biopsy or not. And I was very reluctant in putting it off. I decided I would keep my appointment if I didn’t hear from him.

In the meantime, I called the local hospital and spoke to the radiologist. I explained I wanted to also get two skin biopsies as well. She agreed that she would like to do them, but that she couldn’t because of a hospital policy where radiologists aren’t allowed to. What?! They can take core biopsies which are much more invasive, but not a skin punch biopsy. I asked if anyone in the hospital could. She suggested I talk to a dermatologist outside of the hospital. I still do not understand why I couldn’t get skin punch biopsy done from that hospital.

That made me nervous to say the least. I understood now that biopsy is only as good as the person removing the biopsy and the person reading the biopsy. I had a potential to go to a leading university hospital with the nations foremost expert in this rare deadly breast cancer. My other option was a hospital that agrees a I need a test but is unable to perform this simple test. Sigh.

I already mentioned that I am my own health advocate. No one cares about my pain as much as I do myself. I learned that a long time ago. So, I did a silly thing. I threw a Hail Mary. At 6:45 pm, I searched the internet, found the expert oncologist’s email and I emailed him. I pleaded with him to take me as his patient and to also please tell me if I should get my biopsy done tomorrow locally. I hadn’t met him, he didn’t even know my name from earlier. I passed all the professional help I was being offered and I just directly approached him because I felt desperate I didn’t think he would get the email. I certainly didn’t think he would respond in time. I was wrong.

I heard back from him at 9:30 pm. He told me not to go to my biopsy. The following day, but instead, travel to see him instead. The next day! Holy shit. I was gitty. This big wig oncologist just responded to my online plea and now he can get me in TOMORROW to see him! I’m still floored by this. What a good man. The hubby and I zoomed there the following day. I had called the local radiologist before we left and I told her what was happening. I could hear the relief in her voice when I told her that I was going to see this doctor at Northwestern. She told me I would get the best care there and she was relieved.

When we got to Northwestern, we got right in to see the dr. He walked in and said “you email me and ask for my help and here I am, the next day!” He seemed as excited as me to meet. He was direct and kind. I learned that an MRI is the proper visual test for IBC, not a mammogram or ultrasound. He needed to get good pictures of my breast without biopsies holes. And guess what, that wonderful doctor then was able to schedule my MRI for the following day.

My MRI came back as skin thickening, overall breast edema (swelling), 6 small tumors, 3 auxiliary lymph nodes, and an internal mammary lymph node all highly suggestive of inflammatory breast cancer. So, that sucked. The radiologist was awesome enough to call me the same day at home. My results sucked of course, but the radiologist calling the same day was super great.

The next step was the biopsy. Unfortunately, I had to wait over a week for that. I thought I would go mad from waiting. Mind you, I thought I was going to get my biopsy over two weeks before. The biopsy sucked. It was painful. It was invasive and it was already to the point of panic attacks with anxiety I had never experienced. They took 6 core biopsies from three different areas. That is 18 pulls of tissue. They take a lot, but it is not all at once and it is nerve wracking. The used the MRI visual results as well as a fluoroscope to take out the tissue samples. Then at each one, they leave a marker. This is important because they use these markers to follow up and see exactly where the cancer is and they can use it to see if it is growing, shrinking, etc. the lymph node biopsies were actually the most uncomfortable for me. I felt light headed and just this sickening feeling of they shouldn’t be there. It is impossible to describe. It wasn’t comfortable though. It is, however necessary. The pain lasted a few days with some nice bruising.

I got a phone call the following day saying that I do indeed have inflammatory breast cancer. It’s a fucking duck.

Diagnosis: inflammatory breast cancer/ invasive ductal carcinoma.

I had a pet scan after that. Cancer in breast, and three auxiliary lymph nodes. This is awesome news. When getting diagnosed with IBC, about 1/3 already have a distant metastasis. That was my worst fear. It was a huge relief to find out it wasn’t stage 4.

Another relief is that the abnormal looking internal mammary lymph node is not cancerous. So, I am a a stage 3b. This is the best case scenario for IBC diagnosis. More good news comes the next day: the cancer is estrogen receptor (ER) positive and progesterone receptor (PR) positive. Most IBC is ER/PR-. What this means in English is that estrogen and progesterone feed the cancer. The good news is that I can remove these hormones and then it will stop being fed from them. (Downside is early menopause and possibly getting my ovaries removed) but, it is worth it. I will have a decrease likelihood of reoccurrence. As an IBC patient, this is needed, because the reoccurrence rate is unfortunately higher in IBC than it is in non-IBC locally advanced breast cancers. Truthfully, I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to fully relax about it until 5 years from now, when the reoccurrence rate chills out a bit.

So, there it is. My novel long tale of one month of anticipation, anxiety and finding out that I have a duck. Exactly one month from my breast appearing strange with shooting pains, I had my first chemo treatment. I notice my breast changes on April 2, 2018. My first chemo treatment at Northwestern was May 2. It was a long month.

Truthfully, because my breast never appeared red, and because the white raised skin lessened instead of getting worst, it would have been very easy for me to have missed this. I may have gone to my obgyn and she could have treated it as a breast infection. Then after taking antibiotics, because my breast outward appearance lessened, we may have thought that it was better. This could have gone another way, for sure. But, because my own obgyn had a friend pass from this awful cancer, she was aware of it. She took no chances. And because she said the words inflammatory breast cancer to me, I was able to get in quickly to the women’s diagnostic center, and even look up an IBC super awesome oncologist who met me the next day because I told him inflammatory breast cancer. That simple act saved my life. I don’t feel sick. I would have no idea I had cancer. It’s a scary thing and people took it seriously because it is. But, knowledge was the key. What you see on the internet isn’t always the picture you will see in the mirror. Any skin changes on your breast should be looked at right away. I had no idea. Spread awareness. It might save a life.

Now I have a long journey ahead of me. 6 months of chemo to start. I’m on a chemo called FEC-T. Then I will have a radical mastectomy, and radiation. It’s going to be a very long year. I will post blogs about each step.