I’m trying to get used to the fact that I will have a scan of some sort every 3 months for the rest of my life. With that in mind, I found the whole experience this morning to be less traumatizing than it has been in the past-and really, I’ve only had 2 other scans: the one just after I was diagnosed in April to determine the extent of disease, and the one in November (following the sudden appearance of the cancerous rash) that revealed the spots on my lungs. Maybe the third times the charm? But really, today I do not feel the heaviness that I remember feeling in the past. I suppose a part of me is beginning to accept cancer as a part of my life. There’s a part of me that is resisting that, for sure, but I do believe I am processing the implications of this disease on my life. Both good and bad. Yes, I’m acknowledging there are some beautiful things that are happening for me on an emotional level as a result of this cancer. I’m beginning to develop a tenderness for myself that I’ve never really known. An appreciation for my mind, a detachment from my physical body. Those are good things. And I’m putting work into myself because I’m beginning to act as if I’m worth the investment, even if I don’t always believe it.
I am still frustrated by the lack of awareness around metastatic breast cancer. I do grow tired of having to explain that, no, my treatment doesn’t end (until I “end”), and that unfortunately, at this point there is no “beating it”, it’s something that you live with, until it eventually outsmarts whatever treatment you are on. I’m tired of having to explain that the average life expectancy for women in my position is 2-5 years because it depresses me, but I feel it needs to be said at the same time. I’m not trying to be negative, but I need people to know what I’m up against. Metastatic breast cancer does not get enough attention or funding for research and this is a real problem since this is the version of breast cancer women actually die from. Early stage breast cancer does not kill women; breast cancer that has traveled beyond the breast is what claims the lives of 40,000 per year. What is equally discouraging is that mortality rates for this disease have gone largely unchanged in the last 40 years. This is a serious problem. We are losing our wives, daughters, sisters, and friends to this horrible disease, and the treatment available is not without immense suffering. This needs to change. I can’t help but think if men’s dicks were suddenly developing cancer, there would be more of a sense of urgency for answers.
I want people to be informed about the monster that I’m dealing with, and also have faith in me. I don’t appreciate blind, uninformed optimism, honestly. I need my supports to try to understand what I’m going through, at least cognitively-I know people cannot empathize unless they are in the same position.
Thank you to everyone for your prayers. I can feel the heaviness beginning to lift. Please pray that the scan reveals significant improvement. I don’t have room for bad news.