So the thing about Inflammatory Breast Cancer- it's unlike the breast cancer story of my grandmother (a tiny pea-size lump was found) and many other women I've heard of. This may be due to how rare it IBC is. I thought about posting photos of what it looks like, but will refer you instead to ibcresearch.org for those pics and other information.
The breast specialist doctor in Boise I went to, who diagnosed me with mastitis rather than IBC, spent a lot of time explaining how important self-breast exams are. He said, "A lot of women won't exam themselves because they are afraid they might find something. But that's not the point. If I had my way, it would be called a 'breast self-awareness exam,' in that the woman would become so familiar with her breasts that she immediately can tell if something abnormal does come up and seek medical help in a timely manner."
So while I am so, so grateful to have dodged a breast cancer "bullet," and it is funny that Bag Balm (of all things) cured my ailment, let's all take breast health seriously.
And be pro-active about your health. I went to five doctors before I got a definitive diagnosis. If your "gut" is telling you something is wrong, keep seeking medical advice until you get an answer. The body doesn't lie. Many of today's healthcare providers are so bogged down with meeting government regulations with reporting, that they don't have the time they once had to be up-to-date with new or rare illnesses. It's not their fault- I truly believe they are doing the best they can. So that places the responsibility on each one of us to actively participate in our own health care.
Finally, I have to share this...
You never go wrong taking good care of yourself...
A 50-something woman comes home to a place she's never been before.