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.
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:
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.