BCAM: October 31st

It’s been quite the month, right? If you have stuck with me this whole month of facts and information about Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC), you deserve a medal! Go ahead and pat yourself on the back for getting to the end of Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) 2020 a/k/a Pinktober a/k/a Stinktober.

And now remember that this every day, every month, every minute of our lives for those of us living with MBC. We learn daily about treatment going well, treatment going badly, someone entering hospice, someone getting diagnosed, someone dying. We wake up daily to side effucks that are chronic, like pain and nausea and explosive diarrhea. We wake up daily to reminders that our lives will never be the same. We wake up to anticipatory grief and preparation for the end of our lives.

Heavy, right?

It’s particularly appropriate to think about death on this All Hallow’s Eve a/k/a Halloween a/k/a Samhein a/k/a All Saint’s Eve. For some, this is the day that the veil between the living and the dead is thinner than usual, allowing a glimpse of the other side. The meaning of this celebration or holiday has changed over the years and in different places in the world.

While we definitely get into the costumes and the trick or treating and the elements of the holiday that attract the boys, I’ve also spent time thinking on this day about the other side, what comes next, and the end of my life. It’s a topic that truthfully never far away from my consciousness now that I carry the MBC diagnosis.

Here’s some final thoughts that I want to leave you with …

LANGUAGE — Language is so important. How you talk to someone who is terminal while they are alive and about them after they are dead, it really matters. Here’s a funny meme that is oh so true:

No one LOSES a battle to Cancer.

Perhaps it’s a little dark, but those of us in the MBC community often joke about haunting people for a variety of reasons, like saying we lost our battle to cancer. Others posit that we should each swallow popcorn kernels prior to death so that the person cremating us would receive a shock. Still others work on preparing their own funeral arrangements to make that ritual easier on those we leave behind.

Death, preparation for death, and what that looks like isn’t always a topic that is comfortable for most. Sometimes, it has to be thrust upon you before you can think about it.

Finally, here’s a meme that has been shared recently incorporating a blessing from The 100, a show that I really enjoy:

While I don’t love the fight language, reminding everyone that love, peace, and hope are concepts that create a life worth living. While those of us with MBC may be living on borrowed time after the bus has flattened us, we are still LIVING. We are still parenting, grandparenting and spending time with our families. We are still productive and valuable members of the workforce and society. We are alive until we are not.

And that life is worth the pain and the side effucks and the struggle to make it possible.

Thank you for taking the time to read my posts during BCAM.


27 thoughts on “BCAM: October 31st

  1. Thank you! I read every post, probably commented on way too many. Between you, the graphics, Nancy, and Metavivor, I learned a lot, especially about lobular cancer. No on has ever explained it that well (or AT all). I learned that I might have longer than I originally thought, or maybe less. No one knows, right? I’ve learned about wonderful orgs set up just for MBC patients, and I donated. Thank you! You are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for a month of great posts, Abigail. You are vibrantly among the living, contributing, educating, making life a little easier for others who have MBC. I wish you the best always, and continue to treasure our new friendship across the cyberwaves. 🙂 Have a hallowed Halloween. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Marsha Ingrao – Always Write and commented:
    Thank you for sharing this month of Breast Cancer Awareness with me. I am so thrilled to have met Abigail Johnston. What a brilliant writer and advocate. I wish her and all of you a happy November, my favorite month. I celebrate my birthday November 7th with the joy of still being alive and a contributing member of society. I didn’t battle, I was lucky and had the surgeries and took the medications the doctors prescribed. But I don’t recommend getting breast cancer, so make sure you check. If something looks or feels a little off, it might be. Get it checked.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve always thought it apropos that BCAM ends on Halloween. It’s frightful how little people still know mbc. And we all will die and become real ghosts of the past. But in the meantime let’s be bewitching and the magical women we all are – beautiful and smart and outspoken so maybe the next generation will not suffer nearly as much. Now back to sleep I’m suffering from delayed radiation exhaustion- I thought they have to be kidding they weren’t kidding.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My sister in law died at the end of October with MBC and my close friend at the beginning of November so I feel the entense time being the one still living… But they live on in the hearts of their families and friends. We each have such a powerful impact on each other. 💕💐💕💐

    Liked by 1 person

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