My husband, Maguire, has been poking around my cre8buzz profile, checking out my friends' pictures and their blogs. He gets into an absolute clicking frenzy, I tell ya. His favorites, so far: moosh in indy and Oh, the Joys! He thinks J at Oh, the Joys! is hot sex on a stick and has also decided that having a girl wouldn't be so bad after all, based on the hilarity that is the moosh.
And now for the segue that will make your head spin: This all brought us to a discussion about breast cancer.
While clicking on everyone's blogs, he asked me, "Hey, why aren't you on Team WhyMommy?" Good question, my man.
For a long time, I saw the Team WhyMommy button popping up here and there and thought it was just one more lame social networking thing for stay-at-home moms or something. Then one day, I finally clicked on it and realized that it is actually a support system of sorts for a fellow blogger that has inflammatory breast cancer. Aah, breast cancer...
Every woman in my family has died of breast cancer. I would say that the exceptions, of those that have died, are very few. It is astonishing. Deep in my heart, I think I do believe it will be how I die. As it is close to me, I support breast cancer charities, peev people out by donating to charities at Christmas in their name (I know, roll your eyes if you must), and have a button on my Links & Blogrolls & Buttons - Oh My! page that, once clicked, will provide a donation toward free mammograms, at absolutely no cost to you other than a couple of clicks of your mouse. Really.
Needless to say, I was just trying to find the right time to sign on to Team WhyMommy. I figure tonight is as good a night as any. I'm just in the mood.
Here's how it works: You copy the Inflammatory Breast Cancer post at Toddler Planet, WhyMommy's home. Add the Team WhyMommy button, and link back to both Toddler Planet and the Team WhyMommy RoundUp at Don't Take the Repeats. And/ or just add the button and link to your sidebar and let your readers figure it out. And then you spread the word.
I'm all in. Particularly because despite all of my experience with breast cancer, I didn't know about inflammatory breast cancer, either. She just might have ultimately bought me some time. Here's her story, if you haven't already read it:
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.