Reality Can Be a Bitch

Normally I try to remain optimistic.  I hope and believe that I can beat metastatic breast cancer.  But the reality is that most do not.

In the last few days I’ve been googling up metastatic breast cancer blogs to read other women’s stories.  To be honest, I usually try to avoid reading much of anything about metastatic breast cancer.  The stories are not always good.  The statistics not so encouraging.  Quite a few of the blogs I’ve found come to an abrupt end – when 3 years or 5 years later the courageous women suddenly get really sick and then – they’re gone.

The reality is that the odds aren’t in my favour.

I think we also need to be clear that stage 4 metastatic breast cancer is a different beast than all other breast cancers.  When you are diagnosed with stage 1, 2, or even 3 BC – the prognosis is pretty decent.  You go through a year or so of really intense treatment, surgery, pain, and drama…  Get rid of the cancer…  And then hope it never comes back.

But metastatic breast cancer has no “cure”.  We don’t just do treatment for a year or so.  We do treatment for the rest of our lives.  Metastatic cancer is more like an intense chronic illness that can take your life at any moment.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to relate to the journeys of other women with earlier stage cancer.  Yeah, stage 2 cancer sucks.  But you won’t have to be in chemo for the rest of your life.  Your cancer will likely go into remission.  Your odds of survival are pretty good.  You’ll likely get your life back again.

It’s different for me.

This article from USA Today actually describes the situation pretty well …  Women With Advanced Breast Cancers Feel Left Out, Forgotten.

All that being said, I still believe in my heart of hearts that I can beat this.

Hubby and I can no longer feel the massive tumors that used to be in my left breast.  I know my fighting spirit, along with my commitment to both eastern and western medicine is working.

I am determined to beat the odds.  To surprise everyone with my “clean” scans.  To be the unexplainable miracle.

I will never give up hope.  But reality is still damn scary sometimes.

Hugs,  – T

13 Responses

  1. Whatever you do, keep up the holistic stuff you’re doing. My father had his cancer beaten into the ground, when he gave up the visualization, Gerson diet, laetril, and other things he was doing. In six months, we lost him, it came back with a vengeance. PLEASE keep it up and keep it up and keep it UP!

    • I concur. Visualization works. Studies show it increases natural killer cell count. (Search for keywords “imagery immune” in Google Scholar.) Good luck Terry! Remember that statistics don’t apply to you.

  2. Like so many others recently, I found the link to your blog via your Dad’s website. I’ve been following your story and am sending positive, healing thoughts your way. I am impressed by the strength and courage you’ve exhibited in the face of this and though I’ve never met you I do feel that I “know” you somehow.

    This morning a friend on Facebook posted a link about lemons and how our bodies metabolize the acidity into alkalinity. There is a link on that page about a woman who has halted her tumour growth in part by paying attention to her body’s pH levels and I thought I’d pass it on to you. It may not be news…but in case, I figured it couldn’t hurt.

    Keep up the good fight…we’re pulling for you. <3

    • Thanks for the info. I read about the whole pH thing in Crazy, Sexy, Cancer by Kris Carr. So yes, I’m putting lemon in water & trying to stay away from acidic foods. I swear the whole diet thing has been one of the toughest for me to deal with. But I’m working on it.

  3. “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” ~ Albert Einstein

    ..It can take a bite out of you some days, that’s for sure…even on those days you bless us with your grace. Fight the good fight, and when you’re scared to look ahead, you can look beside you and your best friends will be there. Thinking of you and sending good vibes and healing thoughts. <3

  4. Reality hits again and it can be quite depressing…You Can BEAT the odds! I have 2 very close friends diagnosed over 3 years ago with stage 4 inflammatory breast cancer and stage 4 metastic cancer and they are both here doing great. It was, and is not an easy battle, constant Dr. Visits, blood work, medicine, and endless tests. They are ALIVE and living one day at a time….after all we all never know what God has in store for us tomorrow, do we?! Sending positive energy your way with blessings! Xoxo

  5. Thank you for your honesty an willingness to be vulnerable. If it’s any consolation, I think the online stats your are reading reflect the fact that most people take a stage 4 diagnosis as a death sentence and carry on accordingly. And you, wise as you are, realize that that is one opinion from one side of the system and that it IS possible to overcome it. That very belief makes ‘miracles’ happen. The mind body connection is indisputable now. And, furthermore, we now know that the stats for ‘spontaneous remission’ are much higher that anything that is actually truly spontaneous.
    So those stats also reflect that it ought not be treated as a ‘death sentence’ …yes, perhaps a stern warning to change your life. But what we do know is that many women are beating this… and so will you…i know that in my heart of hearts too.

    Sending love as always…LM~

  6. Howdy,
    I was dx’d with a low volume of bone mets in 2009. Just wanted to say hang in there, it is a tough dx to get your head around.
    You might want to check out this group for triple positive women:

    Here are some pretty good MBC stories, including Kathy Russel Rich:

    My intro at Johns Hopkins;

    Good article on mets:

    Faces of Metastatic Breast Cancer video, really well done

    Hope this helps

    • Loving your blog! Thanks for the links and for spreading the word about metastatic BC. I recently read Katherine Russel Rich’s memoir – The Red Devil. Amazing. And I continuously hold on to every example of hope that I come across. Thanks.

  7. I’m also a long-time reader of your fathers, and come to you from his website. This is what I have to say, and I hope you can forgive my bluntness.

    You can prevail.

    Not that it is as serious, but I got diagnosed with MS a little over two years ago. Lost feeling in my right arm, right leg, half my face, part of my eyesight, you name it.

    Changed my diet…changed my lifestyle. Used Western medicine and some Eastern.

    Got my eyesight back 100%. Ditto the feeling in my leg and arms and face most of the time.

    Is there fear that at any moment I could have another flare-up and randomly lose my faculties, memory, mobility? Sure. But fear is only as powerful as we make it.

    You can prevail. You have strength in family, friends and strangers, and from what I’ve read, you know what you’re doing for and with your body.

    Warm thoughts from another stranger…

  8. I’ve been wanting to respond to this, and thinking hard about how to say it.

    And I guess – here’s how I see it, and if my perspective helps you, great, and if you think it sucks, well, I’m just this weird guy on the internet, right :-) ?

    Sooner or later, unless we die suddenly, we’ll all find that something is going to kill us, even if it’s just the wearing down that they lump into “natural causes” or “old age”. And when that “something” finally kills us, well… that’s not defeat. Because the goal isn’t to live forever… the goal is to live the life you’re given happily and well.

    And sometimes that means rearing up at some nasty invader, and kicking it’s butt – which I expect you’re going to do :-).

    Hm. I remember another friend who died of a cancer with a much poorer prognosis than yours. And he wanted to go down fighting, which I think is a good, healthy attitude to take. But I wish I’d figured out how to tell him that if the cancer killed him, it didn’t mean he’d lost, any more than he’d have lost if he’d been struck by a car. If he made his choices, and lived his life as best as he knew, he’d won… even if something he wanted to beat killed him.

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