Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Side Dishes - Ch. 16 - Partial

Sivilla lay in a sterile Arizona hospital room, feeling more alone than she ever had in her life on that extremely hot afternoon. She had no man in her life and no money. Even though she still held the deed to the duplex Delane had given her, Panella Ferguson - her only tenant – had been promised five years of rent-free lodging for helping Sivilla in her plot against their former landlord.

Sivilla also had no car since the repairs to her white jaguar were too costly for her indigent purse right now. Sadly, she didn’t have any close friends as well, since most females preferred not to hang around a man-stealing woman like her, and she didn’t have any close relatives to come see about her, either.

Sivilla had been distant from her mother and younger siblings for so long that she couldn’t begin to know where they all were now. And she was still estranged from her daughter since Sage had made it abundantly clear a long time ago that she didn’t want anything else to do with Sivilla until she changed her lifestyle. Rightfully so, since her mother’s lifestyle had been so instrumental in breaking up her marriage.

On top of all that, Sivilla was scared out of her wits from her recent diagnosis of IBC (Inflammatory Breast Cancer), a relatively rare and aggressive form of cancer where the usual remaining life span was about thirteen months without swift treatment, and that’s swift as in quick, speedy, and going at breakneck speed to combat the disease.

Sivilla had hardly had a chance to catch her breath for all of the treatments that she’d received. At first, she almost didn’t even want to believe her diagnosis or believe that it was as bad as it sounded since she didn’t feel sick, despite the fact that her body was displaying the typical symptoms of IBC like warm swollen breasts that did not change through the menstrual cycle or respond to antibiotics, skin that was red and dimpled like an orange, pain and itching in her breasts, and some discharge from her nipples.

Sivilla’s cancer did not show up on the mammogram she had or ultrasound. It took a biopsy to recognize it. And because IBC is so aggressive, doubling in size every three weeks or so, her doctors had to be just as aggressive treating her. She’d already had four rounds of chemotherapy which consisted of three chemicals mixed together – called a cocktail – and given once every three weeks by infusion, and now she was facing a complete/radical mastectomy, including the lymph nodes. After that, four more rounds of chemo - not necessarily the same cocktail mix - and then on to radiation.

The chemotherapy with its nausea, weakness and diarrhea, sore muscles and aching bones, and the pending sunburn-to-the-umpteenth-power radiation treatments didn’t spark the same level of fear in Sivilla as the surgery. She didn’t want to lose even one breast, much less two. For so long, they’d been her bread and butter, her meal ticket to riches. Those triple D cups were what usually drew attention Sivilla’s way and kept it her way. They were, in fact, who she felt she was. Now, according to her physician, both of her breasts had to be removed.

I can’t do this alone! Sivilla thought with deep anguish as she pressed the lighted button on the side of the bedrail for the nurse.

When the compassionate salt and pepper-haired caregiver entered the room, the frightened woman in the bed wailed, “Please call my daughter! I can’t face the surgery without my baby girl by my side!”

Then Sivilla gave the nurse Sage’s address which she’d had since a month after the girl left, but had never used due to the manner in which her daughter had left. Because of her lingering guilt at having broken her daughter’s heart in the whole Delane situation, Sivilla had tried to abide by Sage’s wish for independence. But right now, all the reasons not to call seemed irrelevant in the face of her overwhelming fear.

© 2006 Suprina Frazier


Letter to Readers

Upon learning about IBC (Inflammatory Breast Cancer) from a fellow author friend who was currently going through it, I sought a vessel to help get the word out about it. Side Dishes was that vessel.

As stated in the book, IBC is a relatively rare and aggressive form of breast cancer, therefore prompt treatment must be received in order to combat it and increase your survival rates. Unfortunately, two thirds of patients are post-menopausal at diagnosis. Men can get IBC, too, although it is extremely rare, and it has been documented in girls as young as twelve. Of equal misfortune is the fact that African-Americans have a higher incidence of IBC than Caucasians and other ethnic groups.

I’m told by my author friend (Charlene Leonard) that the best resource to learn about this disease is located at www.ibcresearch.org. I checked it out and found that to be true which is why I’m including it here. Interestingly enough, Charlene proclaimed me to be a brave soul to tackle such a complicated subject. I consider her to the braver soul. After all, she’s the one that walked through the dark valley of IBC and lived to tell about it. She’s the one that willingly answered whatever questions I had about the disease no matter how personal or uncomfortable it may or may not have been for her.

I thank you, Charlene, and I pray that together we’ve helped to enlighten more people about IBC, which may ultimately save someone’s life one day. Dear readers, until you hear from me again, God bless.



To read some of Charlene’s novels visit www.charleneleonard.com

To read the rest of Side Dishes, please visit my website (
www.mochainterlude.bravehost.com) for ordering information.

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