When Metastatic Breast Cancer rudely entered my life in June 2015, I immediately went into panic mode and started predicting my morbid future, afraid that I wouldn’t even make it through the next year.
I’m blessed to have a huge support system and quickly I started to learn to take my life one moment at a time, hour-by-hour and minute-by-minute. Just as though life has no guarantees, neither does the diagnosis of MBC. It’s been over one year now. This diagnosis is a full-time job that has changed frequently and continues to have too many bumps to keep track of. Some days are steady where I feel some moments of normalcy; other days I have panic attacks that take over the calm I try so hard to maintain. Having this disease is mostly scary and part of the fear is never really knowing what is coming next, but, when you think about it, none of us are able to predict the future. We can simply live the best life we can in the present. So although my children are still only 9 and 12 years old and I fear how much time I have left with them, I do my best not to waste any time worrying about something that I have no control over.
I wish I had the magic potion for surviving MBC but that doesn’t exist (yet) so I will tell you a few things that have helped me move forward, even on the days that are the hardest.
As my Memere used to say, “there is nothing so bad that something good doesn’t come out of it.” This is especially evident when living with a disease such as MBC. You can find something positive; sometimes you may just have to look at it with extra strength binoculars.
Try not to let one set back determine the future, perhaps it’s a bump in the road and not a death sentence.
I’ve been open with sharing my emotions and although it’s not always pretty, it’s always real. Let yourself cry if you have to, share your emotions and don’t feel like you have to fight those tears that come naturally. I would urge you, however, to only wallow for a short time, vent, journal, meditate and then move on. I personally benefit greatly from going to therapy weekly.
So many share this disease, but each person’s story is different. My story is unique and how I react to it is as well. Learning to have hope and faith in my own journey continues to be a challenge for me, but with the love and support I receive, there has been some progress.
I started this blog entry at the start of the month to post as part of raising awareness through Metavivor. Because I don't always have the energy or stamina to write, I didn't quite make it to the deadline and thus it has become my own post. Hopefully it will be a source of some awareness for those who can benefit.
This Monday we will be driving very early to Dana Farber. It's that time again for more scans, definitely not a time I look forward to, in fact, it scares the poop out of me. It's actually a challenge for me to hold it together this weekend knowing Wednesday my oncologist will share the findings of the latest tests with me. This is when I do my best to remain hopeful and positive because it is not helpful to do otherwise.