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September 03, 2007

A War Worthy of Mommies

Team_whymommyThe press just loves to glom on to any shred of evidence they think they can find to prove the existence of the "mommy wars."  The blogosphere and mainstream media lit up last week over whether Elizabeth Edwards--the wife of a presidential candidate--was a "good" mom because she decided to take her children along on the campaign trail and if Katie Couric--a journalist--was a conscientous mother considering her decision to cover the war from Baghdad.

Believe it or not, most women have more than one plate spinning in the air.  And while the sexier story may be a fight that ensues over which plates a woman decides to spin, the story that deserves attention is about those that are just thrown at her.  One that has been on my mind a great deal lately is inflammatory breast cancer.   

Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is an extremely aggressive form of breast cancer that typically does not present with a lump.  It is not usually detected through a mammogram or ultrasound, it often strikes women (and the rare man) at a much younger age than other forms of breast cancer and is quite frequently it is misdiagnosed.

  • Cancer
  • Aggressive
  • Misdiagnosed
  • No lump
  • Young women

These are words that frighten me.

How is it that so many doctors, and even more women, are unfamiliar with IBC?  This is a question that has been asked by many bloggers recently, and inspired by one courageous woman, they decided to do something about it.

The brave woman is the phenomenal Sam who goes by the name Whymommy on her personal blog and with whom I am honored to be share this writing space.  Sam was diagnosed with IBC in June of this year--while she was nursing her second son who was five months old at the time--and is currently undergoing chemotherapy to treat it. 

Sam decided to go public with her diagnosis right away and has been documenting her fight on her personal blog Toddler Planet.  When she told us about her cancer she asked just one thing of her readers:

"Please be careful in your comments to me right now — I love and need the support and comments, but I will NOT feel sorry for myself, and I won’t have anyone else feeling sorry for me either right now.  I’m in this to win, and I’m going to fight it with every fiber of my being.  I have no time to wait and mope about this, for I start chemo on/about July 13.  Two weeks from today.  The day my baby son turns 6 months old."

Little did she know, but as she was writing these words, her childhood best friend and fellow blogger, Canape, frustrated by the physical distance that separated them, was building a wall of support for her friend.  And that was how Team Whymommy was born.  Canape created a button and asked members of the Team to put it on their site in support of Sam and to get the word out about IBC.  To date, more than 300 bloggers have paid attention and posted information about IBC on their sites.    

Obviously, Sam never asked to get cancer, but as promised she is using every ounce of her being to fight it.  This is a plate that she will not drop.  Beating inflammatory breast cancer is a war worthy of fighting, and one that deserves media attention.

All are encouraged to join Team Whymommy.  Grab the button from Canape, put it on your site, write a post about Whymommy or IBC and a link to your site will be added to the roster.



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