Tuesday, February 7, 2012
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 point...so 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.