Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A light has gone dim

A bright, shining light has gone dim today, as we say goodbye to Susan Niebur who last night lost her five year battle against inflammatory breast cancer. I won't say her light has burned out, for the light of a star which burned so brightly, which illuminated so many, never truly goes out, continuing to shine it's light out through the darkness into the lives of all those it touches, but truly it has dimmed.

From that moment five years ago when Susan told me her breast looked "like the skin of an orange" I have dreaded this day. As a lactation consultant those few words struck fear in my soul, harbingers of a terrible foe, a terrible, aggressive breast cancer that presents without a lump, and all I could do was whisper back please, go to a doctor, don't wait, go now. But in the time that she was given Susan fought with all of her might, and used the time she was given to be - and remain - present in her own life. In the lives of her husband and children, in the lives of her friends, in the lives of her colleagues in planetary science, in the blogosphere, in the lives of other Mothers With Cancer, and in the lives of all she touched. Her legacy, her strength, her grace, the way she fought to remain strong for her young children and keep their lives as normal as possible, her fight to further the research that will someday put an end to this terrible disease, all these and more will continue to shine Susan's light out into the world in the days, weeks, and years to come.

But tonight a husband goes to bed without his wife, and two children without their mother to kiss their brow.

And that breaks my heart.

Goodbye Susan, and godspeed. You will be greatly missed.

And one more thing Susan would want you to remember - please take this piece of information and sear it into your memory - inflammatory breast cancer presents WITHOUT a lump. Please, if you see ANY unexpected changes in your breasts, whether lumps, marks, rashes, dimpling, changes in size, or anything else unexpected, PLEASE ladies, see your doctor, even if just to rule it out. Knowledge is power, and early knowledge is more powerful by far.

12 comments:

Maribeth said...

So sorry to hear this Robin. Sending you and her family prayers and warm hugs.

Mimi said...

Oh Robin, I'm so sorry. This is a very sad post, I have a lump in my throat reading it.
I've never heard of this type of cancer, so thank you most sincerely for bringing it to my attention.

Robin said...

Thank you both. Awareness of IBC and its dangers is one of the most important legacies Susan has left us. Mimi, I've added a link to the Inflammatory Breast Cancer Foundation in the note at the end. I'd be grateful if you'd consider reading and sharing it further.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

So much inspiration and sorrow in this this... Your advice is an important part of Susan's legacy. I've passed it on.

Love to you Robin.

Yaelian said...

I am so sorry to hear this Robin.I have lost of few people in my family to breast cancer(my sister had that) but never heard of this type of breast cancer.Hugs!

Dina said...

Life is so hard for those fighting cancer, and death is so hard for those left behind.
Thank you for sharing Susan's story over the years. Her example is an inspiration.

toby said...

Oh, Robin, I'm so sorry! I also hadn't heard of this, I'll click on the link and pass it on.
Baruch Dayan HaEmet.

kelley @ magnetoboldtoo said...

beautiful tribute to an amazing woman.

Love you sweetie.

x

Fairly Odd Mother said...

Such a lovely tribute Robin. I hadn't heard of that form of cancer until I started reading Susan's blog. She (and you with this post) have probably saved lives for people who wouldn't realize there could be a problem. My heart hurts for her family. She will be so greatly missed.

Frume Sarah said...

Zichrona L'vracha. So sad...

anymommy said...

Beautifully said. If there is one good thing that can come from the loss of someone like Susan, it is that, like many other women, I had never heard of IBC before she began to write about it. The information she has spread with her openness will save lives, but the loss of hers is crushing.

jewaicious said...

I am so very sorry to hear this. Your tribute is beautifully written.