The leaves outside the nursery

November 11, 2007

The leaves outside the nursery window have changed from green to yellow to yellow-tinged-with red.  The acorns have fallen off the trees at the playground, and the sidewalks in our neighborhood are littered with maple and oak.  We have had a long and pleasant autumn in D.C. this year, and I have enjoyed almost every moment of it. 

Defying earlier expectations and the outcomes of some with my disease, I have not only survived but become more healthy this fall.  I can now go to playdate in the morning, and, after nap, play with my children and perhaps do a load of laundry in the afternoon.  I can feed my baby formula — from a cup — and pick him up and cuddle him when he’s done.  I can cook him bite-sized vegetables (he just started eating peas and carrots today — and he loves them!), and play with both the boys over a long lunch.  I can go out to dinner with my husband, and put my baby or little boy to bed when we come home.

My tumor is shrinking.  The inflammation is much less, the redness subdued, and the weight much lighter.  The swelling is going down.  My chest still hurts, but the pain is more controllable and has lessened greatly.  I’m still nauseated, but nothing like I was in August.  I’ve lost my appetite, but I remember what foods I like and I can certainly make myself eat when I must.  My nose and stomach are not yet healed, but I can keep food down now and I’ve stopped losing weight. 

My hair — even my hair — is starting to grow back.  This afternoon, as I was putting Widget down for nap, he pulled my cap off, looked critically at me, and asked, “Mom, is dat new hair?”  I smiled and said yes, for there is new peach fuzz all over my scalp, coming in thick and strong.  He looked again, thought, and asked, “It grow long again?” 

Yes, honey, it will.

As I rocked your little brother to sleep tonight, I noticed that the leaves outside the nursery are still changing.  I am determined to be here to watch them come back in the spring.


Yep, we’re aware!

November 1, 2007

Today is the last day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2007.  I’ve been collecting links to your awareness posts all month and linking them over at the BCAM link over on the left over there if they mention inflammatory breast cancer.  60 of you have played along and posted something about IBC and breast cancer on your own sites this month.  You are awesome.  Here’s a recap of what you’ve written, with links of gratitude to each of you. 

To kick it off, I’d like to share something neat that Canape’s friend Boo is doing to celebrate this month.  She’s playing in the Symphony of Hope, in memory of her good friend Wendy, and in honor of me and another friend.  Canape herself has “pinked” her blog and added “ask me about IBC” to the header.  I’m moved beyond words. 

BonCandyGirlFlies, Jenn, Jessica, C.E., and other blogfriends are walking and talking to raise awareness.

Here are some posts celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month:

Hopes and Prayers for a Cancer-Free-Tomorrow (9/24).  Two Shews hit a double-header (9/26) with her post against Facebook’s censorship and for breast cancer awareness. !

MultiTasking Mommy says, “My blog is going pink for you this month!” Kristen at Motherhood Uncensored went pink tooThe Hatfields went pink for October in honor of their mother’s very recent breast cancer diagnosis.  Colloquium urges us all to go pink.  I wish I could, but on, I’m sadly limited.  My review blog, Review Planet, tried to go pink, but it’s really rather purple instead.  Temporarily Me, Gaining Balance, and a ton of other blogs went pink successfully!

Here are some other great blog posts for Breast Cancer Awareness month; every single one talks about IBC: Joy in Chaos (9/28); Dr. Savta (10/1); The Lady Speaks (10/1); The Tardy Teacher (10/1), Gift of Green (10/1) and Mom Chatter (10/1) also went pink; It’s An Insane World (10/1); A Hug Around the Neck (10/2); Tales from the Carpool Lane; Alpha+MomToddler Drama (10/4); The Individual Voice (10/4);  Twintastic (10/5); Phoenix Says went pink for me (10/7); Mamanista (10/7); Lipstick to Crayons (10/8); Fitlinks (10/9); Imposter Mom (10/11); Mommy and the Marine (10/16), Verb (10/16), The Dairy Wife (10/19); Skywritings (10/20); I’m getting finger cramps trying to keep up with all of you wonderful people!

Magnetobold dedicated her 100th post to me.  Mommy’s Getaway is talking about the Virtual Walk, which is way cool.  Not Just a Working Mom joined Team WhyMommy and wrote about it recently.  The World Through the Eyes of Me is walking and writing in support of her mother, fighting recurrent breast cancer.  The Life and Times of a First Time Mom hosted a pink playgroup, and let me know about it because she went to get a lump checked out because of (little old) me! 

The Hotfessional is doing something fun!  She also wrote thisMy Little Drummer Boys and Baby Talkers joined Team WhyMommy on 10-7 and posted the 7-23 post on IBC!

MSN had an interesting article on The Pink Campaign; thanks to my friend Joanne for including my comments and the words inflammatory breast cancer both there and on her Pundit Mom site!  She also asked her blogfriends to click for her birthday (10/15).  Way cool.  Marlene on the Run joined Team WhyMommy and posted the 7-23 post on 10/18.  

My friend at And Then She Said wrote a great post on 10-5.  Her mom died of IBC, and my heart breaks for them, that she never got to know her beautiful grandson.  He is adorable.  Go click and see!  StrollerDerby celebrated Breast Cancer Awareness Month on 10/10 by posting links to many of us fighting for our lives.

Fizzledink is back.  On 10-10, in one of her first posts, she joined Team WhyMommy and talked about IBC.  Welcome back, Fizz!  My virtual friend Lynn actually started her blog, Organic Mania, on 10-11 with a post about us, IBC, and her friend Susan.  Also on 10-11, The Ramblings of a Woman posted a cute one about Waddling for the Cure and Imposter Mom reminds us to take joy in the little moments as she goes pink and donates to help find a cure.  Changing More Than Diapers did a nice post too — and check out her cute kids!  Mountain Momma went pink and has a link to IBC research on her page.  On the other hand, Moms Speak Up wonders if going pink is enough (10/25) and remembers her friend who fought breast cancer for 8 years.

Crunchy Domestic Goddess reminds us that breastfeeding can help lower your risk of breast cancer — and your baby girl’s risk too!  MommyK in the Great Walls of Baltimore just had a 26-year-old friend diagnosed, and she wants us all to do our self-exams or remind the women in our lives to do them.

Killer Boob gives props to the Breast Cancer Site and publicized our Fox 5 media clips on 10/24!  Gorge Mamas and Papas saw the blurb about me in Parents Magazine, visited Toddler Planet, and wrote a nice post for their readers on 10/25.

Stimey wrote a beautiful post about me on the DC Metro Mom Blog (10/25) and the media attention that IBC is getting on Fox news.  Her piece was crossposted on the Chicago Moms Blog and the Silicon Valley Moms Blog too!

A series of strange coincidences have reintroduced me to a woman near me who gave birth at about the same time I did, in 2004.  I just recently re-met Mel from Stirrup Queens, and I am grateful for that and the posting on her blog (10/27).   Whirlwind used ME as her pink item for Photo Hunt Saturday (10/27)!  What fun! Amanda at Incredible Life also posted my IBC post (10/29) and has a note about a woman she knows who was diagnosed with IBC soon after being pregnant.  My heart goes out to her.  Slacker-Moms-R-Us is on the ball with a post about breast cancer and IBC and motherhood, all wrapped up into one (10/28)  She’s also doing a Pink for October giveaway on Halloween, so go check her out if you haven’t already. 

There are some really great links and activities in the comments on this post!

Thanks for playing along for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, everyone!  Don’t forget to do your breast self-exams, this month and every month!  I’ll leave this little doohickey over in my sidebar to remind us.


This page and all its links will also remain posted on my sidebar, under “Read This!”

I’m back

October 31, 2007

“Your nurse today will be the witch,” the E.R. triage nurse said, as he left me in a little white room with no curtains.

That’s not the first time I’ve thought that, I thought to myself, snickering a little, before I remembered that today is Halloween. 

Sure enough, in walks a 5 foot 5 witch in full regalia, down to the fingernails.  She’s toting an IV pole and a tray of needles, enough to scare anyone.   She speaks.  “We’re going to draw some blood and start you on some fluids while we wait for the results.” 

Ah, a vampire as well!

But her actions belied her true nature, as she drew 5 vials but left 3 on the tray for later tests.  Surely a true vampire would have taken the vials with her.  For a snack.  Or something.

I’m back home and ok.  My white counts have actually recovered this week, and I’ll be able to go back to the hospital in the morning for Chemo #9.  Thanks for your lovely comments.  It is helping.

Off to Chemo #8

October 25, 2007

I am stronger every day.  I know I’ve said that before, but I really do believe it.  Excepting the fact that I’m up today writing at 4 a.m. (hi, Robin!), I’ve felt great and slept deeply all week.  My aches and bone pain have been (mostly) bearable, and the nausea wasn’t too bad this time around.  I think the weekly chemo is more do-able than the once-every-three weeks protocol, but it may also be that this drug (Taxol) is much less severe than the first (AC).  In fact, I know it is.

As proof, we spent the last two days visiting Williamsburg, VA, and having grand adventures.  Well, WhyDaddy was at a meeting.  But I had grand adventures, driving up the river to a peaceful retreat near a tiny beach at Yorktown, shopping at Prime Outlets sans kids, reading The Other Mother for DC Moms Book Club, and resting my achy body in the hotel pool.  We had an intimate dinner at the most fabulous Italian restaurant , Maurizio’s, and we talked all the way there and back.  I had not planned to go along with WhyDaddy on this trip, but at the last minute we decided to try it, to give me some time away from these four walls and hopefully all the thoughts of cancer and responsibility that surround me here.  It was dreadful leaving the children for an overnight, but they were very happy with Grammy and Grampa, and we all were thrilled to see each other when we came home.

I love those kids.

In other news, I was, um, on the news last night.  Here are the clips of the pieces that Fox 5 ran on inflammatory breast cancer yesterday: Video Clip 1, Video Clip 2, and Video Clip 3 (this one features Team WhyMommy and our attempt to spread the word about IBC through blogging!).  The first two ran in the morning news hour, and the third one (which you and I were on) was part of the evening news.  I also went down to the studios to do a Live WebChat on Fox 5’s website.  We had at least 27 people sign in during the news program, and we don’t know how many more viewed the chat but didn’t sign in to talk.  The producer was really happy with this number, and invited me to start a blog over there to continue the discussion.  I’d love to do that, but

I have to go to chemo in two hours.

And so I’m having trouble sleeping.  I know that chemo is saving my life.  I know that it’s a miracle, and I am ever so grateful for it. I am, 100% of the time.  But it also temporarily dulls my senses and makes it difficult to write.  Last week, I spent much of Saturday night writing — emails, web posts, book reviews — anything, to resharpen my mind and make the words flow again.  It’s a weekly challenge, forcing my brain to remember how to string the words together and share an experience cogently and with care.  I can do it, don’t get me wrong, but it takes a couple days to regain what chemo steals from me as it simultaneously gives me new life.

So every week I ride this roller coaster and wait for the tumor to shrink enough for surgery.