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This is October--Breast Cancer Awareness month. Do you know about breast cancer or has the rock you've been hiding under for the past thirty years numbed your brain? How about metastatic breast cancer? No? Never heard of it? Not surprising. It is the only breast cancer that kills yet NO ONE seems to be talking about it.
WE ARE DYING at a rate of 113 a day, yet despite my ongoing blasts of educating about this disease, I continue to meet people who have no clue what metastatic means and often ask when my treatments will end or if I am in remission or if I still have cancer because I look so good.
Here are a few facts to set you straight. If you need more information, go to my website link located at the end of this rant.
- Metastatic means it has spread to another part of the body--the brain, lungs, liver and the bones. Sometimes you get "lucky" and it is only in the bones. You also could hit the complete opposite of a Jack Pot winner and have the cancer cells take residence in all of the above organs. This is what kills.
- Treatments will NEVER end when you are stage IV. We are lifers and will be on some form of medication/chemo/whatever else docs have in their limited bag of meds until this disease takes our last breath away.
- No, I am not in remission. I have active cancer cells in my bones and at any time they may decide to take a road trip and attack some nearby organ or body part (see the above on how rotten that can be).
- Thanks for the compliment of looking good, however, don't check out my insides because it isn't pretty. Hair is on my head and I am not doubled over with pain when you see me but it doesn't mean that the cancer (or the treatment) isn't causing havoc on my body.
Am I sounding like an angry woman? I admit, it makes me furious we are still clinging to the survivor falsehood-despite the fact that 20-30% of initial breast cancer diagnosis will recur to stage IV-- of living happily ever after (treatments). This myth, this story of a "be happy, no worries" attitude prevents delving into the reason over 40,000 are still dying every year. Even with enormous amounts of money raised for breast cancer awareness (enough already, WE KNOW ABOUT BC AWARENESS), research dollars are doled out with a measly 2% towards drugs and treatments for the already metastasized patient. Shame on them for leading us to believe they want a cure. 2% of all that money? Go back to the sentence of the percentage of women and men who will have a recurrence. Give us 20-30% for crying out loud. Maybe then they can shout about a cure.
For now there is no happy ending for the 250,000 of us living with metastatic breast cancer. A dream for a longer life-yes. Reality--no.
Please support the cancer organizations who will donate to FINDING A CURE and please, I beg you, skip the whole pink ribbon cock and bull story. It might make you feel like you are doing something but this will not make our dream come true.
Go to my web page www.onewomanmanylakes.org to TAKE ACTION and force the hand of NCI to put metastatic breast cancer on the forefront to saving our lives. It is what matters most.
Thank you, thank you for reading #492 of 7777 and advocating for us.