Everyone has been so kind with messages for my birthday. My “bonus birthday” as a cancer sister called it. A term I have heard women use when they lived beyond the time frame thought possible due to their situation. That wording might be a somber thought to some, but to me it is one that brings a sense of deep gratitude.
It was in May, just about the date of my birthday in 2007 when I woke up and realized one breast was different. Everything about my life was changed from that moment.
It might surprise you to think that I am naturally a private person, but my desire to do something for women living with IBC has forced me to step outside my comfort zone and be very public with what I lived through. I do this because I don’t want others to have to suffer months of misdiagnosis, or receive inadequate care, or know that physicians and researchers who wish to study this disease can’t, due to lack of funding. I would have never thought 7 years later, I would not only would still be here, but that my life would put me in a place that could have such an impact on the world of inflammatory breast cancer.
I can barely contain my tears as I write this. In the last 7 years, I have joined in celebrations of great joy and I have witnessed the deepest of suffering. In the last 7 years I have been to more funerals than anyone should ever have to endure and I have seen miracles.
As much as I would like to think of my self as independent, tough, and resourceful, no one is an island and I am grateful for the love, support, prayers and humor, you have all shared with me.
I hope to use my days for others to have many “bonus birthdays”. I hope you will continue to pray for me, and support why I devote so much time to this cause.
With all my love, from someone who is always saying thank you,
please donate, for others, so we can have more bonus birthdays.
Terry Arnold was diagnosed with IBC in her right breast in August of 2007 after months of misdiagnosis. As if an IBC triple negative diagnosis was not enough of a blow, she discovered her left breast had traditional cancer as well. In treatment for almost a year, six months of chemo, double mastectomy, and daily radiation for 6 weeks. Outside of being the best wife possible to her husband Calvin of 34 years and mother (5), mother in law, (3) and grandmother (5 and one more arriving Dec 2014), she is focused on educating every person to learn more about IBC, its symptoms, best treatment plans, and funding research. With one IBC research project funded by The IBC Network Foundation, a 501c3 she founded in August 2011, she has her sights set on funding more research by as fast can donations will allow. She looks forward to the day we can all remember than once, long ago, there was a disease called IBC that is now filed under an archive of past diseases because we have a cure. Hope always.