IBC Taught Me to Live
by Theresa Corbin
Weston, Florida

In August, 2001, I turned 57 years young, but in December 1999, I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer. This was followed by six chemo treatments, a modified radical mastectomy, six more chemo treatments, and 38 radiation treatments. In the beginning stages, just after diagnosis, I made myself sick with fear of the unknown. I was afraid to go out in public because I just knew I had this “C” in the middle of my forehead, and the world would know I had “Cancer.” I was also scared to go out for fear of catching a cold and dying from it! With the help of my family and friends I began to venture out for dinner in the late afternoon to avoid crowds. I returned to work after seven months of treatment, and then I decided to retire and enjoy life.

Today I have decided that if I have to entertain IBC, then I must treat it a pest that just won’t go back from where it came. I let it tag along with me to Sunday Mass, to Gilda’s Club support groups and lectures, to dance classes every Wednesday night, to dinner and dancing on Saturdays, and to the ocean twice a month. I also let it accompany my wonderful dog, Tiger (a cross between a rottie and a chow), and me on our morning walks. I have learned to cope with this pest and to not let it get me depressed. I do have my days, mind you, but I shall continue to fight this pest with all I have.

I shall enjoy my life doing the things I used to dream about. In the last six months I have made a trip to Maryland to visit my family and to Las Vegas to visit friends. I am planning another trip to Maryland and a trip to the Caribbean. I have two grown sons with whom I spend a lot of time and who are very supportive. I have been blessed with my children. I have my dad, sisters, a loyal dog, and many, many friends. As crazy as this may sound, I am happier now than I have been in many years, and it took something like the big “C” to make me realize what I have and how happy I could be. As for positive thinking, I shall send an updated story once a year for at least the next 40 years!!! But, on to the ocean tomorrow morning!! And to Salsa lessons when I return!! What a life!!!!

Story Submitted 2001