This has been a hard post to write. Partly because I am such a private person, partly because of raw emotions. I sit writing this in the local hospital's Cancer Treatment Center (hairless by the way) while receiving a full day of chemotherapy drugs. This is my second treatment session. Six sessions in all, each session lasting 21 days...so well into February I will be receiving chemotherapy. Then there will be a mastectomy followed by more months of radiation and chemotherapy. Fifty two weeks in all to rid my body of cancer...or so we hope:)
I tell you this because my cancer did not start as a lump. It started as a redness and swelling on my right breast that looked as much like a bee sting as anything else...but obviously was not:) Four days later I was sitting in a doctors office thinking I had an infection of mastitis. So antibiotics were started...but because my doctor was proactive...he scheduled mammograms, ultra sounds and got me registered in a local program to help with financing with breast and cervical cancer should this be more than an infection. A week later after biopsies, on October 13, I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Inflammatory Breast Cancer. It travels fast and loves to spiderweb to the other breast, to bone marrow and brain tissue. I was fortunate that this was caught before it traveled any further than my right breast and the lymph nodes under my arm. So I am Stage III C IBC. Nineteen days after diagnosis I started Chemotherapy...what a wonderful world we live in:)
I tell you this because...don't take any chances if something unusual and visual happens with your breast. There was and is no pain from the cancer. The first I was aware was the redness. But thinking back...for several weeks I had been easier to fatigue than usual. But when you are sixty...you tire easier:) I put a lot of this on just being older...but was not the case:)
So....run, do not walk to your nearest doctor if these signs show up. May not be anything...thought mine was simple infection...tired to just being older. But neither were routine for me:) The only fighting chance you have with this nasty invader is recognizing it quickly!
If you want to know more about Inflammatory Breast Cancer...click on the title above and go to the research site. Might be good information to keep in the back of your mind...for future reference. I hope you never need it, but at least a seed of knowledge is there. I had no knowledge of IBC. Just thought breast cancer was breast cancer...which is bad enough. My heart goes out to every single person who has had to deal with cancer in any form. Not only does it knock you off your feet mentally and emotionally...it takes your family and friends down the same road.
I can not tell you how much the support of family and friends have meant to me. The support of internet friends has filled in any gaps. I am doing well:) This is the beginning of second of my 21 day sessions...so only four more sessions to go of the hard chemo drugs. I am staying positive, my family and friends are staying positive that this will be a cure for me.
"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself. "I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along."
Thanks for listening....any positive thoughts or prayers are eagerly accepted...my family and friends far and wide will keep me positive and on the path to healing.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!! Some become more special just by the nature of reality. You forget to say I love you enough, thank you enough, treasure each smile enough, each grand childs hug enough...there is always tomorrow you know....but maybe not:)
Thank you Gina, Steph, Harry, Cindy, Birgitta, Viki, Carol Ann and many others for all your inspirational words, healing thoughts and quotations of power of positive thought and living, gifts filled with the power of love...and prayers from lovely people of many faiths that I have never met. I feel the love and the connection...my family feels this love too! I treasure each of you!!
And if I have made any broken promises... please forgive me! I have been somewhat distracted this past month...but if you will remind me...I will correct the broken promise:)