I am a 23 year survivor of breast cancer.
23 years ago, before pink ribbons and all the marches, we were fighting for research dollars, fighting to have our voices heard.
We were naive back then. We thought we’d see breast cancer cured in 10 years if we just shouted loud enough. We didn’t know breast cancer is not a one headed monster but a 10 headed beast…different in different women.
Though we don’t have a cure….something new has happened. Women LIVING WITH breast cancer have arrived. Frankly, they didn’t live long enough to be “in the room” 23 years ago, but they are here now…a strong presence. They may not be cured but they are asking to be heard and we need to listen.
We need to SEE our metastatic sisters in this battle…and the way I see it..we need to make sure they get their fair share of funding they need for stage IV research.
A METS friend of mine joked at the conference…you don’t want to end up in the metastatic room. I went anyway. Maybe it’s my curious reporter mind… I want to know. And, you never know. Any breast cancer survivor can find themselves in METS land.
As I said yesterday, none of us knows how long a “ride” we get, but we want it to be the best ride we can get. How do we do that when our bodies have turned against us? That’s the question. Mets survivors struggle with it every day.
We have a great deal to learn from METS survivors about living…living with uncertainty…an urgency. And if you ask me, I figure if we can find a way to stop or slow metastatic breast cancer that has spread in the body then we will certainly be able to find the cure for early stage breast cancers.
I hope my METS friends will take it to the streets……scream like bloody hell….just the way we did 23 years ago. If you do, I’ll be with you.