Four months into my pregnancy I started to notice changes in the skin of my breast. I initially thought this was just normal hormonal pregnancy changes. As the next few months passed by the changes in my breast got worse. I started asking friends and medical colleagues if they thought the skin changes looked suspicious but everyone reassured me I was fine. Statistics state 1 in 3000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer during pregnancy. I was exercising before and during the entire pregnancy. I ate mostly organic food. We didn’t own a microwave and I was having a great pregnancy. Surely it couldn’t be breast cancer I thought.
After showing my ob/gyn the skin changes he reassured me it was likely pregnancy related but sent me for an ultrasound to rule out anything scary. That ultrasound lead to inconclusive results. I felt rushed at my appointment and was brushed off. I was told to follow up next month after delivery. Feeling uneasy I scheduled an appointment with a breast center in a neighboring large city teaching hospital. I was diagnosed with breast cancer 2 weeks later. I gave birth to my son at 37 weeks via c-section the same day of my diagnosis.
The following week I was devastated to discover I had Inflammatory Breast Cancer. In my months of research prior to diagnosis I stumbled across IBC statistics. I knew 1 in 3 women had metastasis at diagnosis. I felt my world had shattered. I feared I would die without my newborn son ever knowing his mother. I sobbed throughout the halls of this large cancer center clutching my 6 day old 6 lb baby.
It has been ten months since my diagnosis and my infant’s birth and we both are thriving. I am so thankful that I trusted my instincts and sought a second opinion. So often pregnant women are brushed off and so much is classified as symptoms related to pregnancy.