Thursday, January 24, 2008

A post for Susan and her battle with IBC.

Thank You Lisa for posting about Susan.

When another woman suffers, I feel like I suffer from not being informed. I like to know what other woman's battles are. I do this so I can offer support, love, prayers, hope. What everyone needs when fighting for their life. They need a line of women surrounding them, pushing them, when each one differently can offer some words to get her through the day. Knowing the signs and symptoms could save your own life, or that of a loved one. We have the power as women to make a change, a difference.

Susan at Toddler Planet. Susan is a mom like all of us. She has two little guys that keep her busy and a husband she loves. Unfortunately Susan also has inflamatory breast cancer, an aggressive and often deadly breast cancer, and just underwent a double masectomy. Susan is a brave, brave woman who has so much to fight for, and a wonderful outlook on her battle. Do I know Susan personally? No. But I think we all know Susan in a sense. We know what it's like to be a Mommy and to love our kids like nothing in the world. To cherish all of those moments we have with them. We know that we want to watch our babies go to kindergarten, we want to help them recover from their first broken heart, watch them walk down the aisle, and watch them welcome their own babies into the world.
If you go to Susan's blog she has a link to Team WhyMommy. There she shares her story. She also asks for people to post it. To spread the word. If you are so inclined, "steal" Susan's post and help share her story. Please read on and learn more about the disease. And please pray for Susan.

We hear a lot about breast cancer these days. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes, and there are millions living with it in the U.S. today alone. But did you know that there is more than one type of breast cancer?I didn’t. I thought that breast cancer was all the same. I figured that if I did my monthly breast self-exams, and found no lump, I’d be fine.Oops. It turns out that you don’t have to have a lump to have breast cancer. Six weeks ago, I went to my OB/GYN because my breast felt funny. It was red, hot, inflamed, and the skin looked…funny. But there was no lump, so I wasn’t worried. I should have been. After a round of antibiotics didn’t clear up the inflammation, my doctor sent me to a breast specialist and did a skin punch biopsy. That test showed that I have inflammatory breast cancer, a very aggressive cancer that can be deadly.Inflammatory breast cancer is often misdiagnosed as mastitis because many doctors have never seen it before and consider it rare. “Rare” or not, there are over 100,000 women in the U.S. with this cancer right now; only half will survive five years. Please call your OB/GYN if you experience several of the following symptoms in your breast, or any unusual changes: redness, rapid increase in size of one breast, persistent itching of breast or nipple, thickening of breast tissue, stabbing pain, soreness, swelling under the arm, dimpling or ridging (for example, when you take your bra off, the bra marks stay – for a while), flattening or retracting of the nipple, or a texture that looks or feels like an orange (called peau d’orange). Ask if your GYN is familiar with inflammatory breast cancer, and tell her that you’re concerned and want to come in to rule it out.There is more than one kind of breast cancer. Inflammatory breast cancer is the most aggressive form of breast cancer out there, and early detection is critical. It’s not usually detected by mammogram. It does not usually present with a lump. It may be overlooked with all of the changes that our breasts undergo during the years when we’re pregnant and/or nursing our little ones. It’s important not to miss this one.Inflammatory breast cancer is detected by women and their doctors who notice a change in one of their breasts. If you notice a change, call your doctor today. Tell her about it. Tell her that you have a friend with this disease, and it’s trying to kill her. Now you know what I wish I had known before six weeks ago.You don’t have to have a lump to have breast cancer.

P.S. Feel free to steal this post too. I’d be happy for anyone in the blogosphere to take it and put it on their site, no questions asked. Dress it up, dress it down, let it run around the place barefoot. I don’t care. But I want the word to get out. I don’t want another young mom — or old man — or anyone in between — to have to stare at this thing on their chest and wonder, is it mastitis? Is it a rash? Am I overreacting? This cancer moves FAST, and early detection and treatment is critical for survival.Thank you.


Lisa said...

Thanks for posting, Joani! I agree that we all need to be informed!

Jess said...

Thanks for posting this! I will definitely pass the word along on my blog.

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