A difficult day

I don’t want to have breast cancer.

I don’t want to lose my hair, to have clumps fall out every time I run my hands through it, or take a shower, or just take my cap off for a moment because it bothers me.

I don’t want to hurt. I don’t want to have to learn to live with the pain, to deal with it, to smile through the aching and the shooting pains in my breast. I especially don’t want to have to mask it for the sake of my babies, lest they know what’s wrong and toddle over to me, patting me on the shoulder and saying, “It’s okay, Mom-Mom.”

I don’t want to be angry. I’m not an angry person. I’m a happy person, and I have always striven to be full of light and encouragement to my friends and colleagues. But the pain makes me hurt, and when I hurt I get angry.

I don’t want to lie in bed. But I’m so tired from the chemo that is killing the cancer that there’s not much else I can do some days. And the days that I do get out — like today, for playgroup — I come home, take a pain pill, and lie on the couch for hours trying to recover.

I don’t want to be a cause. But I’m starting to get interest from newspapers and a magazine, and I’m reluctantly agreeing to cooperate, because it will bring IBC awareness to more people, and more moms will know that it is a possibility — that when they are told that it’s just mastitis — but they know that something else is wrong — that they’ll push for a second opinion, and maybe a biopsy, just in case.

I don’t want to be the person that needs help. But I am, now, and I have to learn to admit it, and to ask for help from my friends when I need it. I asked a friend to babysit Widget the day after chemo this week, and I’m so glad I did, for he needs attention and playdates even if Mama is sick in bed.

I don’t want to be that bald woman at the store who people look at sideways if her cap slips a bit. Or the friend who says, “Oh, have you heard my news?” over email and then has to say, “Cancer,” when perhaps they were expecting “Baby.”

More than anything else, I just want to be normal again. I want to work, and I want to play, and I want to jog to the park with my kids and go out to dinner with my husband. I don’t want much, really. But there’s one thing I definitely don’t want.

I don’t want to have breast cancer.

Well, Internets, you asked for honesty. Here it is. Raw and uncensored. I’m blogging every day until I’m cured. And then I may blog out of sheer joy. Today is not a good day. But tomorrow I go back to chemo and get one step closer to remission. And that will be a very good day.

58 Responses to A difficult day

  1. lynda says:

    i want to let you know i’m thinking of you and your family.

    i found you thru a link at http://luchalee.wordpress.com/ and you commented on how you can’t wait to write that you have good news and that your cancer is going away.

    i want to let you know that i can’t wait for that post.

    and it may seem like a long way off, but it’s coming. and i’ll be here to read it.

    and smile.

  2. Spacemom says:

    You don’t have to miss sunshine everyday. Let the anger out.
    It is hard to depend on others, but you can’t do it all yourself. Let others help. Get your rest….

    Thinking of you always and everyday

  3. I don’t want you to have it either.

  4. Sanne says:

    Sending you and your family loads of positive energy from abroad. You’re carrying out an important message. I did not know about the existence of this form of breast cancer until I read your blog. I hope the knowledge that you’re doing real good work brightens your day a bit.

    Reaching you a helping hand:

  5. canape says:

    You are normal. You are a normal woman with cancer. It sucks. It sucks right now. It will get better.

    You are not, however, a cause. You are a friend. A person who could use a few hundred shoulders to lean on right now.

    The cause is IBC education. You have it. We now know about it. And we are going to make sure that millions (yes, millions) of other people (not just women) know about it too. That is the cause.

    Now go kick some more cancer ass tomorrow. With your jammin’ tunes.

  6. kami says:

    It sucks. It really really sucks and you have a right to be totally IRATE! Rest. Be Irate and Fight. Rest. Be Irate and Fight. Rest. Be Irate and Fight. You are winning.

  7. Monica says:

    It sucks that you have it. But it couldn’t happen to a better person. And by that, I mean think of all the good you are doing by getting the word out. I know that doesn’t make it all better, but just wanted you to know you have a whole world of virtual friends pulling for you that are proud of your advocacy.

  8. MammaLoves says:

    You’re not a cause. You’re a force!

    Thank you for this honesty. I’m sorry today sucked. I’m sorry you’re in pain. I’m sorry you have to deal with this.

    Cancer sucks!!!

    It makes me angry to have to hear this. But I want to. I want to hear what you’re experiencing. We all need to hear it. The world needs to hear it, so maybe someday no one will have this story to share.

    What you’re saying is important even if it’s an earsplitting shriek.

    And your anger? It makes you completely normal. If you weren’t angry, something would be wrong.

  9. Jenster says:

    The most truthful statement I’ve ever heard is “Cancer Sucks”. It doesn’t get more real than that. I’m not an angry person, either. But I still have my moments of rage at the insidious evil of the disease. And I think that’s okay. That’s what makes us fight so hard and want others to know what’s going on.

    You will hate cancer for the rest of your life. Even after you have kicked its butt and have accepted your “new normal”. Because I’m here to tell you, you will never be the same again.

    I’m not saying you’ll be worse. Just different. Physically a little different – especially if you have a mastectomy. Emotionally a little different. But you will never be exactly as you were before the beast.

    You will be even stronger and probably more compassionate. And however much you appreciated the little things in life, you will be amazed at how much more precious the simple things become.

    You can snub cancer knowing that your sweet revenge will be a special type of beauty from ashes.

    BTW – I finally posted your IBC post. Already I have people thanking you for letting them know. :o)

  10. Mrs. Chicken says:

    I don’t want those things for you, either. Thinking of you and yours today.

  11. Stimey says:

    I love your honesty. None of us want you to keep all the pain to yourself and lead us to believe that it’s all smiles and sunshine. You are so important, to many people and for many reasons. If we can help you by letting you share your hardship, by spreading the word, and by bringing the love, keep on with the raw and uncensored. Good luck tomorrow!

  12. Danielle says:

    I wish you didn’t have to go through all of this and you aren’t a “cause”. If you had a friend who was going through this, I’m sure you would be happy to help out in anyway you could. Same goes for those in your life.

    I’m so glad you are getting the word out on IBC. It is important. And you have touched me. I read your posts and I’m full of hope and inspired by your honesty and your determination to fight this ugly cancer. Keep on Keeping on.

    Mama DB

  13. tori says:

    I know how you feel. The good news is that I was where you are now (although no chemo for me) and am now right back in the happy part of regular life. I have never been so grateful of just being normal as I am after having been through cancer. I will continue to keep your family in my thoughts, and if there is anything specific I can do to help you, please let me know.

  14. Trisha says:

    I’m angry for you. I’m angry for your kids and your family. But I am so, so happy you keep fighting, even on the bad days.

  15. It is MORE than okay to be angry… if you weren’t angry, it wouldn’t be normal! And we are only too happy if you will do us the privilidge of letting out some of your feelings, so that we can help you carry some of that emotional weight. We are learning SO much from you, Whymommy.

    You will get through this, “this, too, shall pass” as my Scottish Grandmother used to say. The Remission Day is coming… I’m sure of it. No matter how exhausted and angry and crappy you feel, with every day that passes, you get a little bit closer to victory!! And when that wonderful day comes, you will be the centre of a celebration that will span the globe. Other women will look at YOU and say, “She did it!! So can I!!”

    Right now, because of YOU, breast cancer awareness is taking massive leaps forward.

    You are not a “cause”.

    You are, quite simply, amazing. And very, very loved.

    CGF xoxo

  16. heather says:

    my name is heather and i found your site through a million paths. i have even though my mother has thyroid cancer and ovarian cancer i have somehow never heard of inflamitory breast cancer. i don’t know how this is possible in this day and age. i have put up a copy of your post describing your cancer at my place and will begin doing what i can to spread the word. thank you so much for posting about this. my thoughts and prayers go out to you and yours.

  17. Robin says:

    Here for you on the good days AND the bad days…

  18. BetteJo says:

    Your strength is helping so many others – even when you don’t feel like being strong. You have an incredible network of people supporting and loving you – but know how many many more lives you are touching by sharing. I am more than grateful to have the opportunity to help spread your message. It just sucks you have to suffer so – really sucks.

  19. Lena says:

    Cancer does not define you. Not to us. You’re still the amazing writer and mommy and wife and friend. I know that’s why I keep coming back.

    We don’t want you to have cancer either. And one day soon you WON’T.

    Continue to be honest. It is a gift.

  20. jtcosby says:

    You are special, regardless of your cancer. Your outlook on life is awesome and your strength amazing. You are beautiful without hair…because your beauty is not about your hair. You are God’s child…He loves you just the way you are…lovin you here in Tennessee…

  21. Kelly says:

    Get it out, and then again, and again. You don’t have to be up for us, but we’ll be up for you.

  22. Jenifer says:

    We will be with you every step of the way!!

  23. kgirl says:

    I wish you didn’t.

  24. amanda says:

    Canape is right, not a cause, you dear ffriend are a because.

    Because of you: we are checking ourselves.
    Because of you: IBC is being written about.
    Because of you: people are learning.
    Beacause of you: we are all a little more thankful.

    And because of you we come here every day. For you. With you.

    Impetus. Catalyst. Warrior. You.

  25. coolbeans says:

    I wish you didn’t, I look forward to the day you don’t, and I love you for your honesty in the in-between.

  26. Kristin says:

    Just found your blog and have been reading how you found out about your breast cancer. I’m really so sorry about this. The same thing happened to me during breastfeeding (one breast worked, another didn’t). I’m so glad you followed up with your doctor on all of this.

    Know there are many of us out here supporting you. Hang in there, and keep fighting this thing.

  27. Hugs to you on the difficult days as well as the good days.

    (We don’t want you to have breast cancer either.)

  28. Jennifer says:

    I don’t want you to have this either. Hugs to you, as always.

  29. deb says:

    I wouldn’t want to have cancer either. And you’ve spurred me onto go get a mammogram to check out the lumps in my breast. Thank you and I hope tomorrow is better. I know from bad days. The good thing about bad days is they pass, unless a few pile up and attack all at once. Good luck sweetie. I think of you often.

  30. Be the person that needs help – just temporarily. No one is keeping score. And, with that in mind, use PeaPod by Giant for delivery of your groceries – I did and it was worth every (slightly inflated) penny.

  31. LawyerMama says:

    I’d be angry as hell too. You’re human. And I’d think you were some strange android if you were never angry, tried, and just plain pissed off. Cancer sucks.

  32. Ally says:

    You definitely have the right to be angry. Cancer does suck. And it shouldn’t have happened to you, or to anyone. Take this anger with you to chemo tomorrow and show that little cancer brat who’s boss!

  33. K says:

    What a talented writer you are. I’m just sorry that I had to discover you through a cancer-related link. My thoughts are with you and your family. I too will keep reading until I see that “cancer is gone” post…and then I’ll keep reading some more. I think anger is the most normal reaction to this inexplicable situation you are in.

  34. mayberry says:

    You’re so right. This sucks and it isn’t fair. But just by talking — even on the bad days — you are making a HUGE difference. I had never heard of IBC before and my own mother is a breast cancer survivor. Now I’m telling everyone I know.

  35. Matt says:

    I think of you every day. And you are not a cause. You are a strong, intelligent, beautiful woman who is fighting the fight of your life – for your life. And yet, you have found a cause and are pursuing it with all the grace and dignity at your disposal. And just think, tomorrow you’ll get another shot at it. Another chance to kick cancer’s ass to the curb. Keep kicking. We’ll all be helping all we can.

  36. Jen E says:

    Huge Hugs, Hon!!! Day by day. Each day is one step closer to freedom. Hugs!

  37. Kristin says:

    Thinking about you. Just you. Not a cause or a cancer or a baldness. Not even a breast. Just the woman who talked to me when I was scared even though she had all of this on her mind. It meant a lot to me. I wish I could do the same for you.

  38. jen says:

    i don’t want those things for you either. for you or for anyone. peace to you.

  39. ohamanda says:

    I don’t want those things for you. I don’t believe God does either. Always praying.

  40. Gwen says:

    Thoughts and prayers from across the globe. Your fight is speading like a bushfire. As for the cancer, “This too will pass….”

  41. Alice C says:

    I once saw a magician take a huge heavy man and sit him in a chair. Then he asked ten people to come up to the stage and each place one finger tip under the chair. And I saw the chair rise up off the stage.
    Each of us reach out to you and together we will lift you however heavy you feel. Then you can use your energy to fight that cancer and live your life.

  42. E :) says:

    We don’t want you to have it either…

  43. Susan K says:

    Bad days are to be expected. Don’t let your disappointment or frustration about the fact that you are HAVING a bad day make it worse. Accept it and expect that tomorrow will be better – because it will.

    Thinking of you always and sending you strength.

  44. One of the most impressive things about your strength, to me, is your willingness to be honest and “weak” (even though it is obviously not weakness!) I think it takes a lot more courage to be real, and sometimes angry, and sometimes sad, and to put the words for all of that out here. So, hoping you find what you need to get through this day in your own way.

  45. ~JJ! says:

    You do what you feel is in your heart. If it’s being alone, being with your family or NOT being a cause…Do it for you. You are what’s most important right now.

    Stay strong. Even when you are not feeling it.

    We are here to listen to whatever you want to say.

  46. sam says:

    I heart you WhyMommy. You’re in my thoughts honey!!

  47. Maya says:

    Your honesty is so pure. Thank you for being so honest about it.

  48. You are an advocate and an inspiration (because of you alone, I proactively scheduled an exam). You continue to be in our daily thoughts and prayers.

  49. Kristen says:

    Thank you so much for these wonderful posts…you really are doing such a great service to all of us by blogging about this. Many of us are praying for you daily!

    And on a different note, I wanted to mention I had a friend who went through chemo and when her hair began to grow back in, it came in with these gorgeous, curly ringlets, where it had been stick straight before. Don’t know if that’s typical but I thought it was pretty cool!

  50. Tracy says:

    Not a cause….just simply AMAZING!!! Because of you there are so many more of us who “now” know about IBC & for that we thank you! You are one STRONG & COURAGEOUS WOMAN sharing your story with us…thank you for being so honest! As always you are in my thoughts & prayers…sending love & strength!

  51. girl says:

    You’re so strong. And your honesty infectious. Cancer sucks.

  52. bon says:

    i’m sorry i wasn’t here yesterday…because i would have said, like everyone else did, ‘i don’t want you to have it either.’

    and i don’t.

    it is right that you’re angry, that you don’t want this. i hope that rejection will make it feel unwelcome and kick its ass out.

    i hope that so much.

  53. Ana says:

    I hear you loud and clear… We don’t want this for you either and stand behind you in whatever will take the sting out of the bite.

  54. You have every right to be angry at it. Hell, *I’m* angry at cancer FOR you, for every woman who has had to fight this fight. I’m damn angry.

    You have to let it out. Get it out. You’re entitled. Let us take it for you. We’re here. And not going anywhere.

    Thinking of you every single day. And praying.


  55. Damselfly says:

    I don’t want you to have breast cancer, either. Thinking of you and praying for you….

  56. honpolf says:

    I’ve been away, out of town and am only now trying to catch up.

    Thank you for being real and true. Thank you for not putting on your best face. Thank you for telling us the way it is. Thank you.

  57. My mother is a breast cancer survivor and I recognise how you feel – she must have felt the same, although she never talked about it. Wishing you the same recovery, willing you every strength. Thank you for your honesty.

  58. Kristin says:

    I can’t imagine… i just can’t. I know you don’t want to be a cause, but I am praying for you and your family… for your health and strength.

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