Caroline: Spreading the Word About Inflammatory Breast Cancer
"This is a part of my life I would like to go away — I know it can’t, so I’m creating a new vision of what my life will look like that includes spreading the word."
Caroline McGuirk, diagnosed with stage 4 inflammatory breast cancer (IBC), is committed to teaching others that there is more than one symptom of breast cancer. When she noticed redness and swelling in her right breast, she didn’t think much of it until two lumps appeared a few months later.
"My breast was swelling so subtly that I didn’t notice it at first," she recalls. "About a month later, my skin on that breast began changing, with some redness and dimpling in places. Because I was 31 and healthy, I never imagined it was cancer."
Caroline underwent 20 weeks of chemotherapy, a modified radical right-side mastectomy with lymph node removal, and six weeks of radiation at Dana-Farber, away from her work in southern California. Her sister Katie, a former employee at Dana-Farber, was a major source of support.
Nadege: A Nurse Staying on Shift During Inflammatory Breast Cancer Treatment
"I'm not going to let this diagnosis take over my life and keep me from making a difference in the lives of others."
As a nurse, Nadege Vilnaigre has devoted her professional life to helping those facing serious medical challenges. Her determination to stay on the job hasn’t waned — even in the face of her own experience with inflammatory breast cancer.
"I believe I've always been a compassionate nurse, but now I see myself as a different person because of what I've been through," says Nadege.
By responding in this way, Nadege — whose own stepmother was also a nurse — has set an example for her twin daughters. High school seniors during their mother's first year living with cancer, Kalina and Katrina share a goal of becoming the third generation of nurses in the family. Like their mom, they have a good role model.
Learn more about Nadege's journey with IBC and how it has deepened her commitment to her patients.
Watch Nadege tell her story on WCVB News Center 5.