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Monday Candle Moment at ColloquiumThere is something extraordinary going on in the blogosphere. It is appropriate to observe, at first glance, that members of this diverse cyber-community are coming together to support and encourage one young mother who has been diagnosed with a particularly aggressive form of cancer: Inflammatory breast cancer.

But what’s happening goes far beyond addressing the plight of one woman. Bloggers are taking the opportunity to educate their readers about the danger signs of cancer and urge them to consult their physician if they recognize any of the symptoms mentioned. And in doing so, we just might save some lives.

It all began when Whymommy, who has a toddler and six-month-old sons, could not get her newborn to nurse on one side. She also noticed changes in her breast and, after her mother-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer, decided that she needed to have her doctor confirm that the changes she observed were simply lactation or childbirth-related. They weren’t. And since receiving the devastating news on June 26, 2007, she has been writing about her treatment and, more importantly, feelings at Toddler Planet.

I’m not going to reprint excerpts of her writing here because you really must visit and read her words in their entirety. Not only will you find them educational, as I mentioned above, you will be moved in ways and at levels of your being that no words can describe.

And that’s the other amazing thing about blogging: Whymommy is bravely and publicly journaling about her experiences so that we can all learn from her and empower her to keep fighting to defeat her cancer. About her reasons, she says:

One reason is to help educate other women and young moms that cancer can strike at any time, at any age – and you don’t even have to have a lump! Another reason is because I’ve gotten accustomed to typing out my thoughts and feelings — and I’m very likely to have some on this topic. A few. But the third — the third is very selfish.

I need people to know that I have cancer. I need them not to look away at the sight of my ugly bald head. I need them not to pity me when they see the young woman with the hat slowly moving along behind the two-kid stroller. I need them to cheer me on, instead, and to smile when they see me, and to help me see the good side of life. I need their thoughts and prayers and healing light and good spirits. Because I am not likely to be able to sustain this fight and positive outlook on my own.

Already, the blogosphere is taking note. Already, my friends are rallying. Already, there is a theme.

JHSEsq at Colloquium has joined Team WhymommyCanape at Don’t Take the Repeats founded a Wall of Support for Whymommy and created a badge for all bloggers to display on their sites. Grab the graphic, post it on your site and drop by Canape’s site to leave a comment letting her know that you have joined the team and support the Team’s Articles of Faith:

  • You are not alone
  • We believe in you!
  • You are so strong!!
  • You are the strongest!!!
  • Your body and spirit are invincible!!!!
  • Every day is a great day!

Whymommy has specifically asked that her post, “Because I’m Not Ready to Move On,” be re-posted on as many sites as possible:

We hear a lot about breast cancer these days. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes, and there are millions living with it in the U.S. today alone. But did you know that there is more than one type of breast cancer?

I didn’t. I thought that breast cancer was all the same. I figured that if I did my monthly breast self-exams, and found no lump, I’d be fine.

Oops. It turns out that you don’t have to have a lump to have breast cancer. Six weeks ago, I went to my OB/GYN because my breast felt funny. It was red, hot, inflamed, and the skin looked…funny. But there was no lump, so I wasn’t worried. I should have been. After a round of antibiotics didn’t clear up the inflammation, my doctor sent me to a breast specialist and did a skin punch biopsy. That test showed that I have inflammatory breast cancer, a very aggressive cancer that can be deadly.

Inflammatory breast cancer is often misdiagnosed as mastitis because many doctors have never seen it before and consider it rare. “Rare” or not, there are over 100,000 women in the U.S. with this cancer right now; only half will survive five years. Please call your OB/GYN if you experience several of the following symptoms in your breast, or any unusual changes: redness, rapid increase in size of one breast, persistent itching of breast or nipple, thickening of breast tissue, stabbing pain, soreness, swelling under the arm, dimpling or ridging (for example, when you take your bra off, the bra marks stay – for a while), flattening or retracting of the nipple, or a texture that looks or feels like an orange (called peau d’orange). Ask if your GYN is familiar with inflammatory breast cancer, and tell her that you’re concerned and want to come in to rule it out.

There is more than one kind of breast cancer. Inflammatory breast cancer is the most aggressive form of breast cancer out there, and early detection is critical. It’s not usually detected by mammogram. It does not usually present with a lump. It may be overlooked with all of the changes that our breasts undergo during the years when we’re pregnant and/or nursing our little ones. It’s important not to miss this one.

Inflammatory breast cancer is detected by women and their doctors who notice a change in one of their breasts. If you notice a change, call your doctor today. Tell her about it. Tell her that you have a friend with this disease, and it’s trying to kill her. Now you know what I wish I had known before six weeks ago.

You don’t have to have a lump to have breast cancer.

So today’s is dedicated to Whymommy. But it is also dedicated to her family, especially her two beautiful little sons for whom she is determined to survive.

And it is dedicated to all the other folks who are battling cancer today. I do not know a single person who can say their their family or circle of friends remains immune from its ravages.1

So I ask all of my readers to light a candle, say a prayer, send healing vibrations, etc. for Whymommy and all of the other persons who are fighting for their lives today, as well as for their families and friends that they remain strong and supportive, in addition to the medical community — physicians, nurses and researchers — entrusted with the care of treatment of those battling all forms of cancer and searching for not just a cure, but the keys to understanding why cancer is so prevalent.2 You might also want to pay a visit to The Merits of the Case, Laudat, Killer Boob or Radioactive Girl and leave a word of encouragement.

Take a moment to tell all of the folks you know who fall into the categories enumerated above:

  • “You are not alone
  • I believe in you!
  • You are so strong!!
  • You are the strongest!!!
  • Your body and spirit are invincible!!!!
  • Every day is a great day!”

  1. Most notably in my life, my sister is a recent survivor of colo-rectal cancer and my best friends’ daughter miraculously recovered from leukemia. []
  2. Whymommy also compiled a list of sites where you can read Survivor Stories. []


  1. This is beautiful. Thank you. Blessings to you and all the other women and men (and kids) fighting cancer today.

  2. Greenwoman

    Thank you for sharing this post! I didn’t now about these other forms of breast cancer….

    Blessings to you and to those you/we are supporting with our circle of healing.


  3. Cameron Inquiry

    Breast cancer and all cancers has t obe defeated. Help fight cancer by doing whatever you can to help fight this disease.

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