What started as IDC (Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma) in 2011, then turned into CHF (Congestive Heart Failure) in 2013, probably partially caused by chemotherapy along with a genetic pre-disposition. Here we are now in March 2016 and I am newly diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer in the left breast and liver (LMBC - liver metastasized breast cancer).

So the focus has shifted yet again, BUT... I continue to THANK YOU for your prayers, love & support. I receive them with open & loving arms. My wish is that I will gain strength from you, will provide helpful information and strength to others & will help to strip away the fears we each experience.

I am strong. I am loved. I am healthy. I WILL SURVIVE!

Have you or your loved one had their annual mammogram? PLEASE, don't put it off. Speaking from experience, I highly recommend monthly self exam as well. And if you are now cancer free of breast cancer, do everything you can to insist that your doctors follow up with an occasional PET Scan and labs for tumor markers.

Contents may be uplifting, sad, funny, scary, downright depressing ~ THAT IS CANCER .... at it's best, at its worst.

PLEASE ~ Feel free to share this blog with anyone who is interested to learn about my journey. While I welcome their support, I hope that by sharing this experience freely to the universe I may help to support others by breaking down some of the barriers and fear associated with breast cancer and the treatment.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC)

I just learned about a rare breast cancer that is often misdiagnosed, often not reported or suspected as cancer by patient, and is very agressive. It is Inflammatory Breast Cancer.

During this, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month of October, Please, PLEASE, become aware of the signs and symptoms of IBC and share with other women and girls.

In a nutshell, here are some of the things to watch for:

Inflammatory Breast Cancer is rare and the vast majority of women do not have any idea what it is. In fact, some doctors have never seen a case of IBC and they may not properly diagnose the condition. A mammogram will not normally detect IBC since there is not a lump in the breast with this type of breast cancer. If symptoms crop up, an infection is what leaps to mind, not cancer.

Here are what the symptoms are:
1. redness of the breast. (The skin may appear pink, reddish purple or bruised.)
2. swelling of the breast
3. a feeling of one's breast being warm
4. peau d'orange (skin that looks like the peel of an orange)
Other symptoms may include:
  • an ichy feeling, or suspicion of a bug bite. 
  • burning sensation in the breast
  • heaviness of the breast
  • aching
  • increase in breast size
  • tenderness
  • having a nipple that is inverted
  • swollen lymph nodes
These symptoms do not necessarily imply that a woman has inflammatory breast cancer, but the symptoms should suggest that IBC is a distinct possibility. Typically, IBC will not show up on a mammogram and a breast MRI and a punch biopsy are required to make a definitive diagnosis.

Because of the way inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) grows and spreads, a distinct lump may not be noticeable during a clinical breast exam, breast self-exam, or even on a mammogram. However, signs of IBC can be seen on the surface of the skin, and skin thickening often shows up on a mammogram and can be seen during a clinical breast exam or breast self-exam.

Symptoms of IBC can develop very quickly, so women should pay attention to how the skin on their breasts looks and tell their doctors about any changes in skin texture or breast appearance.
In women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, breast redness and swelling is more often caused by an infection than by IBC, so doctors might try treatments like antibiotics for a short time first. The possible diagnosis of IBC should be considered more strongly when a woman who is not pregnant or breastfeeding comes in with these symptoms. Breast infection is less common in women who are not pregnant or breastfeeding, and even rarer in women after menopause. When infection occurs it is usually associated with fever or other signs of infection. 

Following American Cancer Society guidelines for early detection of breast cancer can improve a woman's odds of finding most types of breast cancer early, when it can be treated most successfully. Unfortunately, because IBC grows and spreads so fast, screening is not generally helpful for finding this disease early. 

This link to the National Breast Cancer Foundation is a good one about IBC. And another great link from American Cancer Society here.

Debbie... aka the cancer SURVIVOR, AND now the Cardiomyopathy warrior!!!


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