I am stronger than I ever believed I was and I won’t ever break
Describe your journey to diagnosis:
When I felt my lump, it seemed as though it had appeared out of nowhere. I wasn't too concerned about it, but I did make an appointment to see my doctor. When she sent me for an ultrasound and the tech, looking troubled, called in a doctor to see what she was seeing, that's when I became concerned.
Still, I figured the odds were in my favor. I thought not having a family history and being young made a difference.
After my biopsy results came back revealing it was cancer, and an aggressive form, the next few weeks were a blur of scans and tests and anxiety and clinging to hope. Mentally, I was preparing to "battle". Based on the size of my breast tumor we assumed I might be a stage II or III. A scan and biopsy revealed a single mets to my liver. I was metastatic. I felt like all my hope and fight slipped away the moment I heard the word.
What has been your biggest challenge on your journey?
Acceptance has been my biggest challenge. Adjusting to a new normal. One where my health is in jeopardy after being a generally healthy person. Doing the same thing over and over with no end in sight (treatments) is a daunting thought.
What are you most grateful for?
I am most grateful for community. Community equals support to me and I recognize my need for it, now more than ever. Just knowing I am not alone, that there are others right where I am at and people willing to walk alongside me through this overwhelms me in the best way.
What keeps you going on your bad days?
Hope, the thing with feathers, as Emily Dickinson called it.
It's how I glide through those dark days. Also, my 5 girls. I don't have any option but to keep going with all of their energy around me.
What have you learned about yourself on your journey?
My journey is just beginning, but already I've learned that I am stronger than I ever believed I was and that I won't break - even under the pressure of some universally earth shattering news.
How has MBC changed your perspective on life?
MBC hasn't changed my perspective on life much.
I was already sentimental. I was already incredibly grateful.
I was already aware of life's fragility. I certainly have a renewed appreciation for health and attraction to advocacy.
What do you want the world to know about living with MBC?
I want the world to know that I am living with this, but it isn't my entire identity. And also, if people could not treat me like the walking dead that would be great.
What advice do you have for early-stagers, some who are afraid to learn about MBC?
Recently, I read a comment that said talking about MBC won't cause it to happen to you, just as talking about death won't cause it to come any sooner. These statements are true. I get that I'm living someone's nightmare and it's challenging to look your personal fear right in the face. But looking away doesn't save you, you may end up where I am one day. Looking away kills me. Advocating for a cure can save us both.
Describe life before MBC in one word? Describe life after MBC in one? Explain your words.
Life before MBC? Abundant. Life after MBC? Also abundant, just in different ways. Before it was abundant because family, my children, homeschooling, housework, hobbies, etc. Now all of that is still there but there is the abundance of appointments, fatigue and a hyper awareness of the uncertainty of life...there's also an overwhelming amount of support and love pouring out on me and my family.