Metastatic Breast Cancer. What is it and what does it mean to you?? What feelings does it evoke?? If you have never been touched by metastatic breast cancer these words likely mean nothing. That's what bothers me. People generally don't care about a cause that does not affect them personally. It's easy to put blinders on and not let that dirty, scary, elephant into the room. THIS is the problem!!! I'm the damn elephant in the room! If we simply choose to turn our heads, and ignore the fact that according to the World Health Organization 508,000 people died in 2011 from this disease worldwide, then we are all somewhat responsible for these deaths. Imagine the pain and sadness of losing a loved one and imagine how many people mourn the loss of a single person. Now imagine the sadness and pain amongst the deaths of 508,000 people and all their loved ones!
This pink ribbon bullshit and the term "awareness" means nothing to me. At this point we are all very aware. If you're not, then you must be living under a damn rock!! The fact that we are allocating less than 5% of funds to research, which is the ONLY thing that can lead to a prolongation of life, is beyond disappointing. I can't quite wrap my head around why this has not changed. I'm sick of people and organizations simply trying to make a quick buck off of those of us desperately trying to buy ourselves more time at life.
Last week I rejoiced at my latest PET-CT results that showed stability. This means the cancer is there, but it's on its best behaviour. Perfect. I was almost convinced that it had gotten worse due to the pain, but it didn't despite the pain being directly linked to the actual cancer. Today I had an MRI of my brain. I have absolutely no reason to think my brain is acting up with cancer, but I've been here before, and was "surprised" by shitty news. This is the life of someone living with mets!!!! Scan, treat, repeat. That's our lives. These scans evoke an unimaginable amount of stress. Someone who is healthy who goes for a CT, or MRI would never understand what this is like. These tests can simply deem your fate in an instant. They can tell you if your body is so riddled with cancer that your days are numbered. And just like that the floor beneath you drops. This is the stress, anxiety, and fear that those of us with mets live with. Everyday. Until we die. This is NOT acceptable. Chemotherapeutic agents that prolong our lives are toxic. Sometimes it's these treatments that will kill us, and we demand better!
I don't expect someone whose life is absolutely perfect, and unaffected by cancer to understand. I mean why would they?? Their lives are on an upswing and simply perfect. However, one day you may hear those three dreaded words, "You have cancer," and I can guarantee the floor beneath your feet will drop. In that moment, you will beg for better treatments so you don't have to endure the rigours of chemotherapy where you will lose your hair, your energy, develop mouth sores, become constipated or have diarrhea, lose all the nails on your fingers and toes, become neutropenic, all in an effort to allow you to live a little longer. As someone living with metastatic breast cancer I demand better. I demand better not only for myself, but for my nieces so they can grow up in a world where there is something better due to medical research that was generated during my time. Enough is enough and I demand change, so anyone reading this please don't fall into all this "awareness" crap because if you truly want to be aware go visit the gravesites of every man and woman who has died from this disease. That's awareness. Nope it's not pink and frilly, instead it's reality and it's time to let the elephant out of the closet because we refuse to become another statistic that simply gets branded as someone who "lost their fight." We are dying because our treatments have failed us. We did not fail. We did our damnedest with the little options available. Please help those of us with stage four by showing your support by taking over social media today. This may only take you a minute, but it may help to gain momentum and allow us to increase funding geared towards research. For that, I will be eternally grateful.