Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Breast Cancer Hope - My Sister's Story

I wrote this three years ago this month, but needed to share it again. If you are a woman or a man, you MUST KNOW ABOUT INFLAMMATORY BREAST CANCER! The side bar shows a list of symptoms to look for. Google it, research it, know about it. Below are some links to assist you.


Please read the follow up on Amy's story at the end of this post.


My Sister's Story


Although this is written mostly from my perspective, I write this entry with the permission of my beautiful sister Amy who is a true warrior and survivor.


I remember the day last February that my sister called me.


I was sitting in my car in the parking lot at the community college where I was taking classes. My phone range, and on the other end of the line was my sister, barely able to speak. She was in tears after leaving her general practitioner's office and on her way to a breast surgeon. Her doctor had sent her from his office, directly to a specialist because of the urgency of his suspected diagnosis.


I went home and researched the symptoms she had that caused her doctor alarm and prayed that his suspicions were wrong. The information I found was scary, devastating, and grim. It said that, if her doctor was right, the statistics said that there was only about a 20% survival rate.


She called me that night and confirmed that her general practitioner's suspicions were right. She had inflammatory breast cancer.


The next several weeks were so difficult. There was a complete feeling of helplessness, fear, and hopelessness as we learned more about this type of cancer. As a family we were grieving.


But, soon after her treatment started, we saw that there was hope.


Amy began and aggressive course of chemotherapy. Within four months of treatment, her MRI and other scans showed that the cancer was slowing, retreating, and inactive. She had a radical mastectomy six months after her diagnosis and healed well. Additional scans and MRIs showed that her body was holding up well and responding to treatment. Her doctors are very happy with her progress.


Some of the hope comes from two drugs that are being used in the course of her treatment. The first is Zometa. This was originally used to strengthen bones, but according to Breastcancer.org, it has been shown to help prevent the spread of breast cancer tumors. The second drug is herceptin. Herceptin works by blocking receptors on cancer cells. By blocking the receptors, the cancer doesn't get growth signals, and therefore, stops growing. *


Another source of hope is that she has seen doctors that don't use a 'one size fits all' approach to treating her cancer. Her doctors have taken the time to understand who she is, what her cancer is, and how they can best treat her. Many of them specialize in only breast cancer treatment. From the cocktail of medications in her chemotherapy, to the surgical aspect of her treatment, to the physical and psychological aspects of her healing, her doctors see her as an individual, not a statistic.


There is hope in that there are many organizations dedicated detection, prevention and finding a cure for breast cancer. All over the country, groups gather to walk and run in support of breast cancer research. Corporations donate portions of sales of certain items to breast cancer research foundations. There is hope that each day research is done, is one day closer to a cure.


Although there is an incredible amount of hope in what can be done through people, the greatest hope is in the faith that she has, and that we have as a family. From the moment she was diagnosed, she has had an army of supporters around her. She is loved and prayed for on a daily basis by every one of them. As a family of faith, we believe in the power of prayer and are confident that she will find healing. We know that God is in control of every situation, especially this one.


That day in February started a long and dark night. But, as hope has set in, the sun is rising again, shining bright on my beautiful true warrior and survivor sister, Amy.




Update, Oct 2011. Amy is still fighting - a true warrior. Part of her treatment was a mod-rad mastectomy. She has undergone collectively 24 months of chemotherapy and a round of radiation. She is still in treatment and we still maintain hope in her full healing of Inflammatory Breast Cancer!


To read her full story, Please visit her site:


Amy's journey with IBC can be found at her website.
http://www.familyaffairratz.com/Amy_s_Battle_I.B.C.html


IBC Info:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/inflammatory-breast-cancer/DS00632
http://www.ibcresearch.org/


*Breastcancer.org
If you have a hope story, please be a blessing to someone who is in the battle. Reach out in an e-mail, phone call, or response to this post.


Next post: Cancer Blessings

14 comments:

  1. I want to support, but you already posted my story! :0) Amy

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  2. p.s. You put it much better than I could have.....

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  3. Bruce Sallan (@BruceSallan)October 4, 2011 at 4:24 PM

    Go, AMY! My mom survived a radical mastectomy for a long time and eventually died, at 89, from the effects of a stroke. She was a fighter always...I will pray that Amy does as well or better!

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  4. Thanks for sharing your sister's story. It is really heartwarming to see so many friends raising awareness about this disease. I'm sure Amy is a brave survivor!

    Do check out my post here and support the Breast Awareness Campaign I'm doing this month by spreading the word: http://wp.me/pK0Jw-wW

    Thank you and all the best to you and Amy.

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  5. Thanks for sharing this with us. I really appreciate it. I tweeted this too!

    Blessings to you!

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  6. Please check www.earthclinic.com

    there is treatment for cancer

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  7. I am hoping she is ok. I was hoping to possibly get some info I have all these symptoms of cancer and no one will do anything. I have called susan g komen, gone through cancer service and none of the tests or reports conistent.i think susan g komen ha been fed some bs through cancer services and everything is inconsistent because they have so little funds. but yet the drs can tell there is something wrong and it seeems like all they care about for some reason is their fund and covering eachother.i just dont know what to do and I have the main symptom with the orange peel look, inflamed, dicharge and blood, wollen lypth nodes,pain and swelling in breast and what looks like dermatitis which even if it wa that actually can be a part. my neck is swollen and my voice is hoarse. my email is thomasmone54@yahoo.com. cancer services are so concerned about paying for a biopsy. i have been dealing with crap for about 4 years.the problems starting under arm, in breast then outside with dry patches of skin, constant changes for the worse.

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  8. i dont know where else to go and what else to do

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  9. That word - inflammation - is a scary one. So many illnesses or diseases have a root cause of inflammation in the body. I encourage everyone with a family history of breast cancer or any health challenge associated with inflammation/inflammatory to do your homework on prevention. The key to turning around the state of overall health in this country (that's not good) - is to live a lifestyle of prevention. Much love to your sister. Thanks for sharing :)

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    Replies
    1. This type of cancer is not caused by inflammation. The cancer appears like inflammation because it blocks the lymphatic vessels in the skin. Amy nor I could have prevented it by reducing inflammation in our body.

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  10. Thank you everyone for your comments and support.

    To Anonymous... Here is a link to a a Facebook Page that my sister finds a lot of support from.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-IBC-Network-Inflammatory-Breast-Cancer-Network/144850145588330

    I will pray for you that you find the resources that can give you the answers you need.

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  11. Nice sharing so many interesting and informative links. Very well explained about inflammatory breast cancer.
    Do stay in touch and keep posting.

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  12. We offer multiple treatment options for Breast Cancer treatment including protocol based, IMRT, True Beam, and Partial Breast Irradiation.
    breast cancer treatment

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