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More cancer: Part 7

April 1, 2021

After the CT scan in December where I read the M word, I began thinking about metastasis more. Years ago, I saw that #MBC had a survival time of 18 to 36 month, and it became my worst medical fear. I carried the “If it spreads, I will die quickly” thought for a long time. A key part of my emotional and mental survival in the last two months has been learning that this is not true.

In the fall, I subscribed to Wildfire Magazine which is for young women who have been through #breastcancer. Their fall issue focused on MBC. When it arrived, I was too scared to open it. But during those days of wondering if I would join their number, I began reading starting with every single contributor’s bio – almost all women LIVING with #metastaticbreastcancer. Some recently diagnosed, but many who have been living with it for a long time. I looked up some of them and was encouraged by the fullness and lengths of their lives. I needed to see that my life wouldn’t end, literally or figuratively, with this diagnosis.

In 2018, I met a lady who had been taking #Ibrance for over a year for MBC. She was doing great – caring for her teenage daughters and going to the gym. I reached out to her in December, and she has been such an encouragement. She has been on Ibrance for 5.5 years now and continues to live a fairly normal life.

The week after I got my news, I happened upon a one-page story in Good Housekeeping about a woman, Beth Fairchild, who had been told at 34 that she only had two years to live! That was in 2014, and her life now is so vibrant and full. I tore the page out and shared it with my family. This can be me too! I found an interview where she said that early on, she would wake up many days and have to say (paraphrase) “cancer might get me, but it won’t be today.” I’ve repeated that to myself many times over the last couple months.

Each of these stories, these women’s lives, are supremely comforting. Many lights in the darkness. It’s too easy to only see the stories of people who don’t survive, so especially in January, but still now, I am collecting these stories. Stockpiling hope.

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