Now that I have your attention, it’s time to turn this conversation to a serious topic. I am sure you can guess with all the pink swag running around that this serious conversation is about breast cancer.
According to the Susan G. Komen website, 231,840 new cases of breast cancer will happen in the United States alone with 40,290 deaths. Despite these deaths, there is a 99% survival rate with EARLY detection.
Now, we are probably a lot alike in that we’ve heard the stats about breast cancer many times. We know we are supposed to do self-exams with our “fun bags” monthly to check for lumps. For me at least, I really didn’t take that seriously. I mean, I have implants, so I move my implants around every day to prevent scar tissue from building up. To move my implants, I have to touch my breasts. So, that counts as “checking” yourself right? No. Not at all. At least not until this summer.
My world was rocked in July when all of the sudden, my friend found a very hard lump the size of a golf ball in her breast. I was with her when this happened. In fact, I felt the lump even before her husband. I tried to remain calm and positive for her, but in my heart and my gut, I knew this lump was bad. Within two weeks, my friend had been diagnosed with stage two breast cancer. For me, the “numbness” and blasé attitude toward monthly self-exams disappeared.
Fast forward a few months when I suddenly was educated on a form of breast cancer that not many women know is out there—which is deadly because with IBC, inflammatory breast cancer, a diagnosis starts out at stage three. This form of cancer, typically the most aggressive and fastest growing, doesn’t typically form lumps because the cancer forms in sheets in the breast tissue, and symptoms can literally come on overnight.
For me, the first noticeable sign was aching and tenderness under my right arm and in my arm pit followed by swelling in my right breast and extreme nipple tenderness just on the right side. Within a week, I began feeling a tingling sensation in my breast that felt similar to milk “let down” when I was nursing. Additionally, I developed an itchy and painful rash—this actually turned out to be shingles. The concern for the doctor was treating the shingles first and then screening for breast cancer saying that “The shingles virus lives in everyone who had chicken pox, but the immune system must be low or suppressed for the virus to actually be able to surface.”
So, as I wait for the shingles to go away—and to get home from a business trip—to be screened for breast cancer during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I ask you to please, educate yourself on IBC so you know what to look for in this aggressive and often “lump-less” form of breast cancer. I also ask that you take breast health seriously by religiously checking yourself monthly for abnormalities. Schedule a reminder in your phone if needed.
For information on IBC from the Cancer Institute: http://www.cancer.gov/types/breast/ibc-fact-sheet
~Ashley Wise is a life transformation and change expert who has not only studied human behavior and the power of thought for the past decade and a half, but has also learned from experiencing multiple traumas and abuse first hand—not only living to tell the tale, but learning to be passionate and thrive again in life. Her energy draws people to her like a moth to flame—and She is honored and humbled to be trusted to help. She lives to be of service to those in need. Visit her website for more information http://www.ashwise.com/.