July 19, 2004
Personal Reflections from a Mother about Inflammatory Breast Cancer
The days when I am not busy cleaning or writing my mind seems to snap back to the reality that my little girl might die. Die! I can't seem to comprehend that word and my little girl in the same sentence. All the reading to make sure I understand what lies ahead for her just brings it home to sit in my mind like a vulture and conjure up the idea without her. Her, she, my beautiful child who is so full of loving and caring for other people, and now worrying that her family and friends need consoling. My God, the pain in my breast is like a sympathy pain, if there really is such a thing. My eyes burn from the crying. My mind reels at the thought of her having to go through all the treatments, and then the great possibility of losing her after such an ordeal.
I find my self staring at the pictures of young women on the internet that have poured their stories out in hopes it might help someone else understand this awful disease. These women, and some men, have come together through the Internet and met and consoled and learned from each other.
These people come from France, Germany, Denmark, England, Australia, New Zealand and yes, the United States. There is no trade zone barrier to abide by when we are all talking about one thing. Inflammatory Breast Cancer, and why did I not know about this form of breast cancer a long time ago. We all pretty much say the same thing. Why Were We Not Armed With Knowledge Before Now?
We have a Doctor in the family that actually understands this form of cancer. He has been gentle and kind in his words to me, but honest at the same time. "When young women in their childbearing years get Inflammatory breast cancer, the prognosis is not good. Because they are active and young, their system moves the dreaded cancer cells through their bodies at an accelerated rate and their strength is taxed incredibly soon. Older people don't have such active hormones to move the disease so fast, and have a better chance the chemotherapy can stop the disease in its tracks."
My 37-year-old daughter has made up her mind that this is not going to change her life. She is continuing to work, and do the things she always has done. "Mom, these drugs are either going to kill this thing, or I am going to die. That is the reality of it all." With her chin in the air, a smile on her face and a determination I have never seen, my baby has conjured up all the will, anger and stubbornness she has to keep going forward with the knowledge that the drugs will kill these obscene little marauders and she will come out of this cancer free.
The song Wind beneath my wings replays in my brain until I can't shut it out. Tina is the wind beneath my wings, because through this ordeal she is going through, she is holding everyone up. I just want to hold her tight and cry and rock her as I did when she was a baby. But I know I can't. She needs my strength right now. I can't break down, but it is so hard to hold the tears back.
Yesterday I put my arms around her and stroked her very think short hair. Soon it will be gone, that hair she has always hated. That hair that has always had a mind of it's own. "I bought a blonde wig Mom", she said. "I'm ready to be bald, that doesn't bother me." Loosing her hair doesn't bother me either, but loosing her life is uncontainable.
My hope in writing, is that through the knowledge that even one person reading this might one day shed light into the black hole of misdiagnosis and misinformation about Inflammatory Breast Cancer we can be armed for the conflict instead of being confused.
For more info
Inflammatory Breast Cancer by Patti Bradfield