Well, she's done it again... That Whymommy. Just when I think she can't overwhelm me any MORE, she goes and does something ELSE:
Apparently, I make this extraordinary woman smile. I simply cannot think of a higher compliment. Thank-you AGAIN, Whymommy...
And, in case you all are wondering, Whymommy is doing GREAT THINGS these days...
Hopefully, many of you went out and bought October's Parents Magazine, as they did a feature on Whymommy and provided information about Inflammatory Breast Cancer (yes, amidst treatments and recovery, and on top of spending quality time with her beautiful family, she found the time to GIVE AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW... Trust me, people, it's worth the read).
Her cancer is also responding to treatment, which is the most incredible news!! In her words:
I didn’t know I’d live to see the Fall.
When I was diagnosed on June 16 (a date that will be forever etched in my mind, as the day my world came crashing down) it was somewhat of a death sentence. Although the outlook is not as bleak as it once was, survival rates for women with my cancer — inflammatory breast cancer — are only 25-50% at 5 years; survivors at 10 years are still recounted by name (”Well, there’s Susan D, and Sally X, and they did it!” said in a falsely chipper voice). 90% of IBC survivors will suffer a recurrence. Treatment is an ardous melange of chemotherapy, masectomy, more chemotherapy, perhaps a prophalactic masectomy on the other side, and radiation. Often, the treatment goes in cycles, with survivors fighting the cancer and surviving chemotherapy for the rest of their lives.
Sometimes, there is no rest of their lives. Because of delays in diagnosis and treatment, it is not uncommon for IBC survivors to not make it 3 months past diagnosis.
I have survived 3 months. I am doing … well, I suppose, in that today I am not worse off than I was when I had my first chemo treatment. I’m no better yet, but the spread of the cancer since diagnosis has been stopped (whoo-hoo!), and the inflammation is on the retreat.
I am tired. My arm and upper chest hurt, from nerve damage or sheer muscle fatigue of hauling around this heavy cancerous tumor that once was my right breast. My hair is gone. My arms are bruised from the weekly needle sticks and IVs that are essential for the treatment and monitoring of the treatment. (I don’t have a medi-port put in, for valid reasons having to do with the spread of IBC through cut skin. It would make treatment easier, but perhaps less successful. The survival rates for this disease did not rise from zero until they stopped cutting first and started treating with neoadjuvant chemotherapy, which means chemo first, then sugery. So I have chosen not to have a port put in, to improve my chances.) My fingernails are discolored and weakening. My gums are dry and tender. My eyebrows are falling out.
But I — me — the I inside — am doing well these days. I’m up and around and going to playdates. I’m holding my baby and hugging my child. I’ve cared for my kids myself the past several days, with WonderDaddy’s help but not all the time. I even cooked last night.
I’m getting better.
To top everything off, Whymommy has just announced that she will be taking part in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Hunt Valley, Maryland next month! I would give my eye teeth to be there with her (and given my psychotic aversion to dentistry, this is really saying something, people).
Although I confess to wistfully looking into babysitting, arranging passports and airline flights... I know in my head that it will take something akin to magic to actually get me to Maryland for a weekend next month.
So, my girlies and I are taking matters into our own hands. Tomorrow is our public school's annual Terry Fox Run, which raises money for the Canadian Cancer Society. We have decided that we are going to do the run, all four of us, in honour of Whymommy. We're getting a big pink sign ready to pin to the front of our stroller, and I will be fully prepared to answer any and all questions I get from parents, teachers and students alike, about our own little "Team Whymommy". Because spreading information about Inflammatory Breast Cancer, its signals and symptoms, is an enormous part of the life-saving process.
We're running for YOU, Whymommy... Because you're not just fighting for your own life, you're fighting for ALL of us.
Thank you... We love you--
xo CGF and Girlies 3