Cancer progressing

The funny thing about this cancer is that I can watch while it tries to take over my body. Okay, that doesn’t sound nearly as funny now as it did in my head. But it really is rather interesting.

At first, I was freaked out by its progress as it marched over my breast, turning everything red and dimpled.

Two weeks later, I like to think I’m a little more mature about it.

But it’s still marching, and now it’s turned most of my breast pinkish, dimpled, and hard. The texture is quickly becoming hard and stiff, as the cancer nests, or sheets of cancer, build and grow inside. It’s heavy. [Heavier even than they were while I was nursing — but not yet to the just-home-from-the-hospital engorgement stage, for those moms who are wondering.] It’s painful, with shooting pains catching me off-guard as I try to load the dishwasher or push my toddler on the swing. It’s swollen, and pinkish, and looks…not what I’d select for myself, you know?

But looks aren’t everything. I’ve had my first chemo treatment and get my second in nine days. I’ve heard from other survivors of inflammatory breast cancer that I may start to see a change after my second treatment. I certainly hope so.

Because for now, I still have to live with this beast, perched on my chest, transforming a very personal body part into something that I hardly recognize.

And it’s hard to watch.

Let’s not just watch it! I’m trying to stay busy getting the word out about inflammatory breast cancer — and you can help! Simply copy and paste this post on your own blog, or send it to the moms you know, and together we can spread the word.

26 Responses to Cancer progressing

  1. sam says:

    Thank you for posting this! It’s a real eye opener because I always thought you HAD to have a lump in order for it to be cancer!

    You’re a strong and wonderful woman; in your time of need you’re sitting here thinking about others and what you can do for them! You’re truly amazing!

  2. I’ll be re-posting for you on my blog tomorrow. Bless you.

  3. amanda says:

    I hate this pink, I want you to write of white and fleshy, of soft and pliant. I want you to watch your boys grow, not this cancer. I believe that you will. Keep staring it down, we’re still with you, and damnit, soon, that beast in your breast won’t be.

    Fierce mama love to you.

  4. jojo says:

    Hi, I’m new here, but I am praying a prayer for you, and learning from you as well. I found out about IBC on July 13th, via na email. I have not been diagnosed with anything, the only changes being a sudden enlargement. No redness or any other thing. I am waiting for the results of an MRI. I’m sure it will be fine, but it is certinaly good for all of us to get educated. I haven’t blogged on my blog about it yet, because my family reads it, and I don’t want to scare them for nothing. My hugs and prayers…jojo

  5. Jennifer says:

    I posted this morning.

    I continually learn something new every time I visit you.

    Keep kickin butt!

  6. whymommy says:

    Jojo, I’d leave you a comment at your blog, but I won’t since your family reads it and you’re not ready to tell them yet. It’s okay. Don’t panic. An MRI is a terrific first step. You may need a biopsy as well for diagnosis, since that is a definitive test and can help with treatment options too. Don’t worry. You got checked out quickly, and that’s huge.

    Feel free to stick around and browse here, or go over to the Young Survivors Coalition to read about three other women with IBC. Imstell has it too (click on her comments to get there, or see the link at my “Gratitude” post from Saturday). There are others out there.

    Odds are that it’s nothing. But if it is something, come on back here and feel free to talk about it.

    We can go through it together.

  7. MammaLoves says:

    I can’t even imagine how scary it must be to watch it grow. I’m hoping that your being a scientist helps to provide you with a more objective observation…but I don’t know how it could.

    I am thinking about you every day. I’m struck by the fact that I’m thinking so much about someone I’ve never met. But every time you cross my mind, I send good thoughts your way. I don’t know if it helps, but I feel it’s worth a try.

  8. Mama Zen says:

    Like Sam, I haven’t heard much about inflammatory breast cancer. It’s great that you’re getting the word out. Prayers and good wishes!

  9. mod*mom says:

    the time before the tumor started shrinking was thehardest,butespeciallybeforechemostarted(mykeyboardspaceboarisn’tworkingallof a sudden.)
    what chemo drug regimen are you doing? i had adryomycin and cytoxan followed by taxol and herceptin. i had a 10x8cm tumor with spread to lymph nodes, which was terrifying, but i had a complete pathological response, which means they found no cancer after chemotherapy and surgery, so there’s every reason to be hopeful that you will be healed and recovering next year. email me if you have questions. i was breastfeeding when diagnosed.

  10. mod*mom says:

    i mean adriamycin

  11. Jenn says:

    Your honestly, coupled with your bravery, moves me in ways I can’t put into words.

  12. jojo says:

    You are a beautiful person. Thanks you. You have my prayers and support whether I am DX wiht IBC or not. I hear in your voice grace, and am humbled.

  13. Heather says:

    Just found your blog today. Lots of luck with chemo. We all want you to be around for your babies for a long time to come. My DH almost lost his mother to breast cancer when he was 17 years old. I’m proud to say she’s now a 20-year survivor. Hang in there.

  14. Spacemom says:

    Remember, this cancer just realize you are fighting back. So it’s going to try to dig in its heals (not unlike a 2 year old).
    But, in time, you will teach this cancer a thing or two about trying to invade you! You will kick its butt (if cancer has a butt)

  15. ~JJ! says:

    I never thought of that. Watching it. From your perspective. Must be scary.

    Thank you for sharing this and making us all better for it.

    I think you of you daily!

  16. Ally says:

    What a creepy image, watching it grow. I wish that the chemo was equally as visible, making it shrink. I hope that it will by the second treatment, like the others said. And later, off with the naughty breast. Thanks for keeping strong and sharing all of this with us.

  17. LawyerMama says:

    I am going to steal some of your posts. They’re so informative. I’d heard of IBC but I didn’t know much about it. How scary it must be to watch it march across your body like that.

  18. Emily says:

    I love that you start with “The funny thing about this cancer.” You have a way with words.

  19. I wish you had entitled this post “Cancer retreating.” Because that’s what it’s doing.

    That said, it’s gotta be tough to watch. You are a strong woman, getting stronger all the time.

  20. Arkie Mama says:

    That cancer may be marching now, but once the chemo kicks in, I predict it will be hauling ass.

    Stay strong. We’re all thinking of you.

  21. Aimee says:

    just found your blog via a little surfing. it’s amazing how much “the community” has grown a presence on the internet in the past few years. i was diagnosed with IBC in 2003. i had a recurrance in 2006. i don’t know how much of an encouragement i can be because i have one of those personalities that tends to say things that can be hard for some to say. and cancer is tough. IBC is tough. being a mom with IBC is tough. most of the time people, whether fellow cancer survivors or well meaning family and friends, want us to be “rah rah” all the time- you know- in the “cancer butt kicking” mode all the time. that’s not real. well, for me it wasn’t. there was a hell of a lot of fear, especially at the beginning. there was sadness and loss and a whole lot of feeling like shit. if i can give any encouragement it’s that i’m still alive. it is possible to reclaim some number of days from this nasty disease. i’m gonna add you to my ‘blogroll’ and check in from time to time. if you want some more “truth” about cancer (or about my struggle with it), then you’re welcome to read:

  22. NoMommy says:

    Despite the fact that my mother died of breast cancer I have been putting off getting the MRI my doctor suggested (can you say denile). Thank you for the kick in the *ss I needed to make the appointment.

    Take care.

  23. maggie says:

    I’ll post your post in the next day or so. I hate this, for you. And for others. It’s also so weird to me that the first line of defense is chemo, not surgery, so that you have to watch it progress. Ugh. Good luck.

  24. Anna says:

    Thank you for sharing your story, and doing so much to protect and warn others as you go through this!

    I have joined Team Why Mommy and send you all the support I possibly can!

  25. Michelle Montali says:

    I googled “Thomas recall” about 25 minutes ago and II almost forgot what I sat down to do I’ve been so wholly lost in your site and your story and your musings.
    I’m no stranger to IBC. I don’t understand how it’s possible that humans have time and resources to fight each other when we’re under constant, collective attack by the stupid C-Monster. CURE!!!
    Keep up the good fight. You are amazingly brave.

  26. […] I am not worse off than I was when I had my first chemo treatment.  I’m no better yet, but the spread of the cancer since diagnosis has been stopped (whoo-hoo!), and the inflammation is on the […]

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