Three years ago to the day, hearing the words “I’m sorry you have breast cancer” leaves you terrified, angry and speechless. How could this possibly be happening to me, to us. I replay that day over in my head constantly, I can recall every moment of the day on April 23, 2013 as if it happened yesterday. From the feelings of shock, fear and disbelief to the uncertainty of what lies ahead; a feeling of doom. And the look on Matt’s face, which was truly the worst part, one of my first thoughts was how fair was this to him. As if learning I had breast cancer wasn’t hard enough, metastatic breast cancer was my, our, worst nightmare. It is hard to believe three years has gone by, there have been so many ups and downs, so many changes along the way, adjusting to my “new normal” which is changing constantly. Living with MBC is filled with a range of emotions and concerns when your first diagnosed, I was scared, and thought to myself Shit! I am going to die. I spent countless hours searching the internet (yes bad I know and I tell my patients all the time not too, nurses do make the worst patients) for glimpses of hope, trying to find my own statistics for living with MBC as a chronic illness, and not adhere to the “five year survival rate” that was painted across every website and research I could find. I did find hope, and I still look for those stories, I joined chat rooms to find connect and meet other “thrivers.” I am always concerned by statistics I have heard, but I try to keep in mind that every individual is unique. Because statistics are based on the general population, they do not reflect the experience of me personally. I bring a unique set of characteristics to the table that influence how I live with metatastatic breast cancer, including my tumor type, although frustrating it has changed since diagnosis; the sites of metastases which initially was bone, but now liver as well. Metastatic cancer can strip life away from you bit by bit. First, it takes your health. Then it takes your time, your job, and finally your future. I however and determined not to let that happen, I can’t control all aspects of living with MBC but I can do all that I can at every step. Sometimes, horribly, it can even take friends or family, those who struggle with a diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer can drop away. I however have been blessed with the largest support system I could have imagined, MFMS Army grows daily that includes both family and friends, and with their love and support, I keep thriving even on the days when it seems impossible. I was quickly humbled by the overwhelming amount of support from the day I was diagnosed. I learned that I was more important to some people than I had ever imagined, and that these are the only people who count. They send cards, prayers, bring food, and give hugs. Offering to take me to treatments, or entertain me while I am at the cancer center with messages of encouragement, or a corny joke to make me laugh. They bolstered me in anyway I need, and keep my spirits up more than the MFMS army may know. Matt and I are grateful beyond words for the love and support.
As I reflect on the last three years there are many things MBC has taken from me, cheated us out of having a family, I’m now in menopause, the regimen of treatments often impacts quality of life, although I’m pretty stubborn Matt may say and I do everything in my power not to let anything impact how I live; it has added more stress. Cancer has tested my strength in many ways both mind and body, often sometimes when I feel like everything is too much I find a way to push through, relying on mental toughness. Metastatic breast cancer has changed me in some many positive ways, that may sound strange to some but I have always vowed since I was diagnosed to stay positive and fight no matter what I face and the challenges that arise; and I am thankful for so many things living with MBC has taught me. I have relationships that have grown stronger than I thought possible, oddly enough somewhere along the way I have figured out, in the face of adversity, how truly blessed I am. Things that were once so minuscule yet so important we laugh at, not as though their not important but things quickly get put in to perspective when living with MBC, sometimes I would give anything to go back to those days. I work hard every day to stay positive, stay strong and with the army of people fighting along side me and all who help me to continue to raise awareness I am thriving! I am and determined to never quit, I will go to anything length to fight with all my might, MBC you can live with me by MY RULES.
Moore Flight Moore Strong!!