The Gang's All Here!

The Gang's All Here!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Technology Tantrums

I forgot to mention that on Friday I managed to shatter the screen on my iPhone. That's just an inappropriate way to start a weekend in my opinion. It's not like I threw the phone across the room, it just fell off an end table. I ran over to the the Apple store on my way to treatment. Of course they won't fix the phone, instead they could give me a new phone for $200. I'm getting cheap in my old age, so I walked out, thanks, but no thanks, I'll figure it out. My phone had a spider web type shatter but it did still work. So, I decided to see how annoying it would be to use the phone as is. I sat down at my treatment and began wasn't too bad other than not being able to see some of the words. Not that different from autocorrect which changes at least half of the words I'm trying to type anyway (I really can't stand autocorrect). The real issue came when attempting to play "Words With Friends" (a completely addictive mobile version of scrabble). I nearly sliced my finger off trying to move the letters to make a word. This would not be the best time for me to have a flesh wound. Steve found a website that supplies new screens so we ordered one for $70. Last night Steve was able to fix my phone. Yay for handy husbands and alternative solutions!
On another completely random note, I can't stop eating. I'm starving and it's obnoxious. I'm in no way saying that I would ever choose to have cancer or any of the awful side effects, but I thought one of the "perks" would be losing weight. Oh no, not with my chemo drugs. According to the staff, my chemo drugs typically cause some weight gain. GREAT! That's just wonderful. We are going to need to stage an intervention in this house and the peanut M&M's are going to be the first to go. Followed closely by the bread and chips. GAH!
To make myself feel better about the current goings on, I decided that fresh bedding for our master bedroom was the perfect solution. Surely a girl can't feel too poorly with a lovely new duvet and coordianting shams from Pottery Barn. They REALLY need to stop sending me catalogs. The duvet should be here this afternoon: squeeeeee!!
My Kindle died today. REALLY people, I can't make this stuff up. I'm currently waiting for the TV to burst into flames or the computer to blow up. Nothing would surprise me at this point. In the meantime, I think I'll stick to sitting outside and enjoying the warm weather.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Rice & Beans

I began my weekly Herceptin treatments on Friday. Herceptin is the drug designed to specifically target my cancer (HER 2 Nu +). Each treatment is only 30 minutes which is nice. I am happy to report that I am feeling great, no side effects from the Herceptin! I would venture to say that I am feeling normal (potentially a dangerous thing) and like myself. It's strange, really, because I keep waiting to feel bad. Each morning when I wake up and open my eyes I have to remind myself that I have cancer because I don't feel any different. So far I don't look any different. My chemo drugs are supposed to cause hair loss, so it's only a matter of time before my appearance does change. I'm not sure how I really feel about it. On one hand it will be my first visible sign of battling cancer, proof that I'm actually sick and putting up the fight for my life. On the other hand, it's an opportunity to try something new, maybe curly hair? Or red? So am I stressing about losing my hair? I'd be lying if I said I didn't think about it. But, I'm just going to focus on losing my hair as a fresh start, a new lease on life. Most women don't get that chance, or at least not without seeming completely insane and shaving their heads in a fit of rage (sorry Britney, it was a bit crazytown). And who knows, maybe I'll go blonde, they're supposed to have more fun, right? Just kidding, I went blonde once and it was bad, really bad.
We had a good weekend that included a family photoshoot. A friend suggested we do a family photo, sort of as a "before" type of thing. I thought it was a great idea and we had a fantastic experience with our photographer! Despite my best efforts, the queen of "no naps"(aka: Stella) decided to pull an ultimate rebellion and didn't sleep a wink. As you might imagine, she was in RARE form for the photoshoot Saturday afternoon. Whose poorly behaved child was running without shoes on around the park like a banshee screaming no? Anyone? Oh wait... that was MY child. We were "those people" with the screaming toddler. Le sigh... Taking her out to dinner afterwards was also probably a poor choice. I did apologize to the staff at Chipotle for the mountain of rice of the floor. Oh, and the stray beans on the window. These are the days... or something like that.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Random Craptasticness

I'd like to start off by saying that it is February 23rd and I'm wearing shorts and a t-shirt. What on earth is going on with the weather? This post will probably go downhill from here, as I don't really have anything valuable to say, but here are a few (very random) thoughts.
I've been doing a decent amount of reading this week. And no, I'm really not sure how I've had the time because I'm up to my eyeballs in the terrible twos. Stella's current trick is getting out of her bed at naptime. We went through this in the fall and it was maddening. At that point I was 13 months pregnant and fatter than a cow, so hoofing up and down the steps was laughable. Why don't I just ignore her? Ah, well, the sound of my ceiling being bombed by toddler books and lamps upended is enough to send anyone running. I honestly would not be surprised to find her swinging from the ceiling fan with a book in one arm laughing and saying "wheeeee!"... Aughhh, off topic again! My point is, I should be "resting" and perhaps reading, but instead I am doing a stairclimber workout that would rival Jane Fonda. I just returned from a trip upstairs that found Stella sitting on her changing pad (that she had ripped off the dresser) stacking lotions (how did she FIND those?) and books. Seven trips upstairs and counting today...
Anyway, I have found a little time for some reading. My brother and his wife sent me a wonderful book, "Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book". It's been a very interesting read, I highly reccomend it, especially if you're looking to learn more about breast cancer. Steve and I ordered some cancer awareness things (bracelets, etc) and they arrived on Tuesday. In the package was a printout of some chemo tips. Normally I wouldn't take the time to glance over something like that, but I'm really glad I did. The tip sheet was great, finally someone with some cancer humor!! My favorite tip was: Precaution! You will not get every symptom listed for chemo! Finally, some stuff that I could relate too. After reading all of the literature the doctors gave me on the 520 drugs I'm taking, of course I was convinced that I was going to either stroke out, have liver failure or a heart attack, never mind cancer... It's such a small thing, I know, but it was really nice to read something from someone who could see the humor in this mess. I put the sheet in my nightstand for when I'm having a bad day.
The other big project for this week has been placing an add for a nanny. Apparently M. Poppins is not available (so rude) and we're going to have to find someone else to run this three ring circus. Steve was kind enough (I'm giving him mad props, I have not been particularly enthusiastic about this) to write and place the add online. When I checked our email this morning, we'd had a lot of interest. I'll just say this: If you cannot bother to write a complete sentence or spell at least 75% of the words correctly, it's probably not going to be a great fit... good lord! There appeared to be several interesting people, so I'm optimistic that we'll find a good match.
In other news over the weekend, Steve and Matt (my brother-in-law) decided that my cancer needed a name. I rolled my eyes, I mean, seriously? But, I thought about it and really, why not? They made a good point, if my cancer had a name, they could trash talk it until the cows come home. If our family does nothing else well, we do humor like a bad habit. So, they named my cancer Kyle (sorry if that's a particular favorite). It's a long story and alcohol may have been involved. Kyle is getting no love from my family. Poor, poor Kyle, it's probably time you hit the road running, buddy!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mary Poppins & Other Drugs

Mary Freaking Poppins, where are you with your magic umbrella? I could really use your help right now, especially with your wonderful organizing solutions and exciting chalk drawings! I'm sure my kids would love you! I could also REALLY use a spoonful of sugar to help this medicine go down, can you help a sister out?
I kid, I kid (mostly). I'm honestly feeling okay, which still surprises me. Do I feel great? No, not really, but I don't feel too bad either. The best analogy that I can come up with is that I feel pregnant (this is so not cool considering I just had a baby...I've done my time!). That first trimester crazy, tired haze. I believe it's "medically" referred to as "chemo brain". I feel like I could sleep forever, yet when I have the chance to sleep, my mind just keeps on rolling. But, I don't feel sick, which I am so very, very thankful for. All in all, I'm just tired and a little dizzy. The dizziness is a strange feeling, like walking on a ship that's leaning. Part of me wonders if I had some wine (to counteract the dizzy), maybe I'd feel like I was standing up straight. Or, I'd just go ahead and fall all the way over...nevermind!
We enjoyed some much needed family time over the weekend. The distraction was great (4 kids under the age of 3 will do that...) and chaos reigned supreme. Steve headed back to work today and I have resumed my role as stay at home mom (aka: keeper of the Dora stickers and everything else not nailed down...). How has Stella turned into the terrible two tornado overnight? She's a whirling dervish (a cute one, but still, holy cow!), how I am going to keep up with her? Simon is demanding more and more attention, mostly by smiling and not screaming anymore at least. So, yeah, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. Not to worry, we'll get some help and I know that. But that's also been one of the toughest aspects of being sick for me: Asking for help. I take so much pride in doing things independently, working hard to do right by my kids, my family. It's tough to take the high road and admit that I may not be able to do it all, that I may need some help. I'm working on it. Yanking in my pride is a bitter pill to swallow for sure. So, Mary Poppins, if you're listening? I'll take that spoonful of sugar now, and a big glass of wine to go with it, thanks! :)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Reality Bites

It's chemo day, can you hear my excitement (read: sarcasm)? So, I'm writing this from my chemo recliner. I'm happy to report that I'm feeling like myself (that's maybe a good thing, I'm not sure) and doing okay. Steve is here with me today which is awesome. I'm not sure how I would have managed by myself, at least for this first treatment.

What I've realized over the past day or two, is that this battle is going to be as much mental, if not more so, as physical. I really thought that I had dealt with the worst of my emotions; fear, doubt, and anger. However, yesterday when I reported for my chemo class, I felt them all come raging back. The nurse was talking about my treatment and showing me all of the literature. I was listening but I really couldn't hear her because my heart was racing, the room was starting to spin and I felt like I was suffocating. Oh my god, this is me she's talking about! I have cancer and tomorrow I begin chemotherapy. My life is literally no longer in my control. It took every ounce of strength I had to not get up and walk out, thanks but no thanks, I'll figure something else out. Of course I stayed and I made it through the session but my heart wasn't in it. Reality has set in and like it or not, this is set of cards I've been dealt. It would be so easy to fold my hand and throw in the towel. But, I'm made of stronger stuff than that and this fight isn't just about me. I'm doing it for my family, especially Stella and Simon. They deserve to grow up with a mom and a dad. Who else is going to embarass the daylights out of them? I'm going to fight because I've got something to prove, to myself and everyone else battling cancer. Last night was tough, and all I really wanted to do was wallow (and play Angry Birds, but I digress...). Luckily for me last night, we had some family arrive in town to help us out, complete with my two nieces who are too stinking cute. It was the perfect distraction, along with a glass or two of champange. Liquid courage is important too! So, Stella and Simon are at home today having a blast and it's so great to know they're having fun.

The overflow of love and support, prayers and hope that we receive each day is just so wonderful, especially on days like today. I can't express truly how much the texts, messages, calls and Facebook rally cries really mean to me. I re-read all of the posts and messages today and it feels like you all are here with me, which is such a cool feeling. So, thank you to everyone for helping me through when I've needed it the most. I'll be honest, when my chemo started this morning, I just cried. This has been such an overwhelming two weeks for all of us. But, I had Steve here by my side and through my tears I felt another hand grip mine, my nurse. I don't share this to make you sad, but to express just how grateful I am to have so much support, offered whenever I need it. That's a pretty fantastic feeling.

So, as I sit here letting the drugs invade my body, I thought I'd mention that my chemo experience hasn't really been anything like Samantha's on Sex & The City. No one was sitting around eating popsicles looking fabulous, but that's okay. I have a pretty good view of the Atlanta skyline which is nice. I'm on some of the same drugs as Whiteney Houston, that's pretty wild, right? Don't worry, I'm not going to throw down some shots and jump up onto a bar, I don't have the time... It's been great to sit back and listen to music. I've always used music as an escape. I was trying to think of a song that would apply to my situation and I've found many.

My treatment is almost complete for today and I'm ready to hit the road. I'm anxious to see how I'll feel over the coming days. Lastly, a big shout out to Steve for being the most loving, tolerant (me, moody, are you kidding???) and patient husband alive. I know it's cheesy, but if I could call up a radio station and dedicate "I Won't Give Up" by Jason Mraz to him I would do it! That song is just so us right now. He would be mortified but we could sure use a good laugh right now...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Why, thank you, Cancer!

What exactly am I talking about? And no, it’s not the chemo talking. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over the past two weeks (scary for many reasons!). Of course, I’ve asked why this is happening to me, why now, why my life, why why, why? After all, no one in my family (extended or otherwise) has had cancer, zip, nada. That alone should put me at the bottom of the risk pile. Add to that I’m fairly active, I eat “reasonably” well, and I don’t smoke or do drugs. So really, what the hell? Was it something I did, something I ate? Obviously, a person can’t “catch” cancer, but it would almost be of some solace to know that I somehow caused the problem. I could literally ask myself this 1,000 times (and maybe I already have), but at the end of the day, I still have cancer.

I basically had two choices when I was diagnosed with IBC: I could wallow in it, feel sorry for myself and whine until everyone stopped listening; or, I could put on my big girl shoes, dust myself off and deal with whatever comes my way. I will say that it was really tempting to wallow, especially at first. But honestly? Wallowing just isn’t my style. I’m a stubborn, persistent, moderately organized perfectionist. I’m working on the perfectionist part because I even annoy myself with that one. I also had the choice of keeping this to myself for as long as possible or letting people know. I chose the latter because I don’t want to fight this battle alone. The outreach and support our family has received has been overwhelming (in an amazing, fantastic way). I can’t possibly begin to explain how much the kind words, offers of support and most importantly, the optimism and hope mean. With that said, I really do have to give a shout out to cancer and here’s why. Cancer has put me in touch with people from every stage of my life, from pre-school on up through present day. It really doesn’t get much better than that. I’ve been able to reconnect with so many people from my past and present and I’m so very, very grateful. Reconnecting with friends from high school, college, work, summer camp, it’s been so wonderful that I almost feel greedy because I’m so happy!

Cancer has also made me really angry. I made the choice to stay home when I had Simon, so that I could spend time with both he and Stella. I’m furious that my time with them is being interrupted, that I’m giving up a year (at least). But, the other side of the coin is that at least by giving up this year, hopefully I’ll have many more to spend with them. Cancer is sneaky; it makes the fear and doubt rise up just below the surface. I’ve gotten fairly adept at kicking it back down, but every now and then, when I’m not paying attention, the thought that maybe I won’t be here, maybe I’ve got a time limit brings me to my knees every.single.time. I can’t imagine not being here, not growing old with Steve, watching our kids grow up. But, the fact remains that even if I do have a time limit, whether it be a month, a year or 50 years, I’ve lived a fantastic life. I have a wonderful family and two beautiful children. I have the most amazing friends a girl could ever ask for. I’ve been to some pretty cool places and events. Most importantly, I’ve had the chance to meet and marry the love of my life. So, thank you cancer, for giving me the wake-up call I apparently needed. I’m going to appreciate each and every moment, past, present and future that I’m given. I don’t want to miss anything, especially embarrassing Stella and Simon in their teenage years! I’m so lucky to have this chance, this opportunity to change my life for the better. I’m damn lucky.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Ready, Set, Chemo!

It's Monday! I was going to say happy Monday, but that just seems like an oxymoron. We had a good weekend and managed to get a lot accomplished without feeling completely insane. Steve is turning into an excellent Mr. Mom and domestic goddess :). The highlight of the weekend for me was a visit from some very good friends that we don't get to see all that often. It felt so great to catch up and laugh! In fact, it felt just like the "old days". What exactly are the old days? You know, the days before kids, mortgages and responsibilities. Oh right, thooooooose days. Don't get me wrong, I adore my kids. I'm not sure I would say that I adore my mortgage, but I do love my house. I don't think anyone adores responsibility, but it does make us who we are. And, I am so far off my orginial purpose of this update that even Jillian (the completely annoying lady that lives in the GPS who constantly says "recalculating") can't help me...

We met with my oncologist this morning. I was glad Steve had a chance to meet her today. I really do like her. She went over all of my testing from last week and overall is pleased with where we stand as far as treatment. It was interesting to hear her talk about how obsessed she and the other doctors on my team were about getting the results. Apparently I am the talk of the cancer and breast surgeon communities these days! She said, we were thrilled that you're HER II positive (a partial description of my cancer's make-up), we have the antidote for that one. "We're all rooting for you, you're going to beat this". Yay for antidotes and treatable cancers! I brought my notebook full of questions (once a teacher, always a teacher) and she was able to answer them. She even gave me hell for being so organized, she said her patients that are teachers always are. She saw Steve smiling and correctly assumed that for all of my obsessive organizational tendencies, Steve is what I like to refer to as a "time management rebel" and clocks be damned!

So, the testing is done and reports are complete. There's nothing left to do but stand up and fight. Chemo begins this Friday. While I am 100% dreading it, I am also anxious to get started. The sooner we start, the sooner we win. I'm a terrible loser and not gracious in the least. I've got no choice but to win. One, two, three, four, I declare a cancer war. Let the ass kicking commence!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Human Pin Cushion

Yay, it's Friday and all of my testing is finally finished! Thursday was a very long day. I had my port insertion and a PET scan (the first of many). If you've met me, then you know that I am normally fairly organized and well researched on whatever it is I am going to do. In other words, I'm a planner. It makes Steve crazy. However, since my diagnosis (well, let's be real, since I had Simon) I have been flying by the seat of my pants and I'm lucky if I know what day of the week it is. So, I was COMPLETELY unprepared for my port insertion. It's not that I didn't think it would be a big deal, I just didn't realize it required actual surgery...whoops! So, I went by myself. After I checked in, they took me to a pre-op room. I was still somewhat oblivious, probably because I wasn't allowed to eat anything after midnight. Not eating was also most likely the reason for me almost passing out when they put the IV in. Strange, because I never have a problem with IVs (I've had more than a few with both pregnancies and the drama that ensued). I didn't really think much about anything because I've been really trying hard to "go with the flow" in all that's been going on for the past week. I didn't realize I was having surgery until I walked into the OR. Then I was like, "Oh crap, I'm having surgery and I didn't even know it!". At least when I made a joke about not letting me run away when they taped me down to the table, the nurse laughed. And, while lying there all I could think about was that the operating room didn't look much like the one's on Grey's...

The surgery was quick and painless. I was actually awake but completely out of it, sort of like being on my 4th glass of wine ( or so), I felt great! They did "twilight anesthesia" and a sedative, so no wonder I felt like a million bucks. I was lucky enough to be taken right to my PET scan after the surgery so I didn't have to wait around. The PET scan was easy, much more pleasant than an MRI.

I was amazed at how good I felt until the drugs started to wear off. By the time we arrived home, I felt like I had been hit by a truck. Welcome anesthesia hangover! Seriously, one of the worst headaches I've ever had. It's my personal belief that if I have to have a headache that bad, I should have had enough fun (read: wine) to derserve it. Oh, and the port was placed right under my collarbone. The pain was almost identical to when I actually broke my collarbone in the car accident from 4 years ago. Super! The percocet was kind enough to help with the shoulder pain and I slept off the headache. I'm happy to report I'm feeling almost normal today.

Today I had another blood draw (at the rate they're taking my blood, I'm not going to have any left) and an ECHO. Both were easy and quick and I even managed to squeeze in a quick visit to a friend being held captive in labor and delivery. The good news is that I've spent so much time at Northside Hospital in the past two years, that I know every inch of the building. I even know how to score the best parking rates. Maybe that's just sad...

On my way home, I stopped by the dermatologist to have my original biopsy site stitches removed. It was strange walking in, my entire world had changed drastically in the week since I'd been there. Both the nurse and dermatologist were waiting for me with hugs, eager for news. It was kind of nice to have them so anxious to know how things were going. I thanked them for the early catch, told them my prognosis is good. I felt like we were old friends, chatting and catching up. Funny how cancer does that, makes you appreciate the little details. As I was leaving, my dermatologist told me she was crying when she recieved my biopsy results. She's my age and she has a two year old, so she could totally relate. "I'm amazed at your positive attitude" she said. "You seem so calm and driven". Well, I have to be. I have a two year old too...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Chemo, Surgery and Radiation, Oh My!

We spent the weekend in South Carolina at the Hinman Family Compound with both my parents and Steve's parents. Ironically, we had planned this weekend together months ago, so the timing was perfect. It was wonderful to escape reailty for a few days and spend time with our family. Stella had a blast running around collecting shells on the beach and only attempted to run into the ocean about seven times...

I met with my oncologist on Monday. She's amazing and just the right person for me to work with. We have the same sarcastic sense of humor, so I think we'll get along well. We discussed my treatment which will include chemo first, then mastectomy and finally radiation. Chemo will be 18 weeks, starting as early as next week. I'm not really nervous about it, but I am anxious to get started. Is it sad that I'm more worried about feeling terrible than I am about losing my hair?

Tomorrow (Thursday) I head to the hospital to have my port insertion and PET scan. On Friday I go back to the hospital to have an ECHO and to do some baseline labs. Monday I meet with the oncologist to finalize our plan and get things rolling. Everything is moving so fast, but that is probably a good thing. Bring it on, I'm ready.

Breasts Behaving Badly

Steve and I went to my appointment with the breast surgeon on Thursday morning. It is safe to say that it was the longest doctor appointment ever. We were there for over 5 hours! It was an interesting experience that included a mammogram, ultrasound and another biopsy. I was youngest patient in the office by about 20 years and definitely got some looks from the other patients. I wanted to scream, "I have breast cancer, that's why I'm here!!". Of course I didn't, but I think it would have been kind of awesome if I did...

The tech doing the mammomgram was funny. She kept checking to make sure she wasn't hurting me with the positioning. It didn't hurt at all, it was maybe a little uncomfortable, but certainly not painful. She then proceeded to tell me that some women would tell her that the mammogram was more painful than labor. It took me a second or two before I said, "WHAT?!?!". She started laughing and told me that she had to step out of the room when they said that. I remember my labor with Simon vividly and I was in an incredible amount of pain even with the epidural!!

After my mammogram and ultrasound I met with the breast surgeon. I had heard really great things about her and was anxious to meet her. She entered the room and said, "So I hear your breasts are behaving badly!". Heck yeah! How could I not love this doctor, she's hilarious! We had a great meeting with her and I began to feel more optimistic. Great news, she said, the cancer hasn't spread into your lymph nodes. I immediately felt 20 pounds ligher (too bad that was metaphorically speaking). She said that we had caught the IBC very early, the earliest she had ever seen it. She had her colleagues come in to see for themselves. They were all stunned, none of them had ever seen IBC present the way mine had. All agreed that they would have said eczema or mastitis. They all thanked me and my doctor said, "Thank you for showing us. You may have saved another woman's life today because we've never seen IBC like this before".

Her comment spun around in my head for the rest of the afternoon. Maybe this is what I'm supposed to be doing. Maybe my job is to get the word out there about Inflammatory Breast Cancer. If I can make an impact on just one woman and that woman goes to her doctor because she's concerend about a rash she's had, maybe she'll catch her cancer soon enough to get treatment. I might have to battle this cancer head on, but at least I can go in with my eyes open and know that I did everything I could so that the next person diagnosed with IBC can recieve the best care possible.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Diagnosis

I gave birth to my son, Simon on November 9, 2011. His delivery came as a great relief to me because I was quickly becoming the fattest pregnant woman ever. I was H-U-G-E!! You know you're uber pregnant when the office staff at the OB says things like "Oh honey!" and "You must be due any day now". Of course, I was only 34 weeks at that thanks everyone! I delivered Simon at 35 weeks due to pre-eclampsia and he was 8 lbs. My OB told me that if he'd delivered at full term he most likely would have been close to 12 lbs. O.M.G. Luckily, Simon has done well for being early and my recovery was quick.
Over Christmas I noticed a rash on my right breast. I didn't think too much of it since I'd just had Simon and my body was still recovering from having a baby. I mentioned it to my OB at my post-partum check-up on the 5th of January. We both thought it was most likely eczema since I have had issues with that in the past. She told me not to google "breast rash" as the internet is full of horror stories and inaccurate information. Well, if you've met me, then you know as soon as I got home I jumped on google to see what the hype was all about. She wasn't kidding about the horror stories, holy cow!
My OB had asked my to keep an eye on the rash and if it hadn't improved in a couple of weeks, to give her a call. After completing freaking myself out on google, I did keep a close eye on the rash. It didn't really improve but it also didn't get any worse over the next few weeks. Being the worrier that I am (and now that google had scarred me for life) I called my OB after two weeks and she recommended that I try an anti-fungal cream, as fungal infections are common in the breast after having a baby. She suggested that if that didn't help, I see my dermatologist. The fungal cream didn't seem to make much of a difference, so I decided to make an appointment with dermatology.
I figured it would take at least 6 weeks to get an appointment with my dermatologist. They were able to get me in the next day, which I thought was ironic, looking back. On Monday, January 30th I met with my dermatologist. She looked at my rash and said, "I really think that's eczema". I also had mentioned to her that I had been surfing on google and was "slightly" concerned that I could have Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC). She said she had never seen a patient with IBC but just to be sure (and ease my mind) she decided to do a tissue biopsy to rule out anything strange. She said she'd give me a call when the results came back in a week or so.
Needless to say when the dermatologist called the next afternoon and asked if I could come in ASAP I already knew what she was going to say. I called Steve and he met the kids and I at the dermatologist. It's funny, I knew what she was going to say, but to hear her say the words, "I'm going to cut to the chase. The results came back and you have IBC". I was listening to her say the words but I could NOT believe she was talking about me. Surely there had to be a mistake, a mix-up of some sort. I was completely numb. Luckily for me, she took the initiative to schedule an appointment with the best breast care doctor in Atlanta and she was able to get me in Thursday, February 2. She was upset that she couldn't get me in any sooner. I thought that was actually pretty quick!
Tuesday night Steve and I just sat and stared at each other. We both had things we wanted and needed to say but neither of us wanted to say anything. Saying those things would make this nightmare real. Wednesday passed by in a blur and yet, I was aware of every minute of the day. If you google IBC, it presents a pretty grim picture of treatments and survival rates. Once Steve and I started talking, we couldn't stop. What would we do with the time we had left? How much time did we have? The questions went on and on. I realized what the doctor meant by wanting us to have an appointment the next day. The waiting was by far the hardest part.

Hello, my name is Erin

I'm 34 years old. On Tuesday, January 31, I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer. The news came as a complete surprise and as you can imagine, we were devestated to hear the word cancer. The first 48 hours were by far the worst and nothing had even happened. I felt fine, how could I be so sick and not know it?
This is my journey, my own personal battle against breast cancer. I've decided to share my story, one of many in the war against cancer. Perhaps by promoting awareness and determination, we can make a difference. Courage and hope will be my own personal weapons; courage to fight and face each day head on; hope that one day I'll be able to say I beat cancer, I'm a survivor.