October of 2021 is the fifth (5th) Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) since my Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) diagnosis in 2017 and that brings me ever closer to the milestone of living five (5) years with MBC. And yet, sometimes I think that looking for the milestones or putting any stock in reaching/achieving them can be counter-intuitive. These milestones are based on averages and statistics, not individual health or prognosis; to put too much emphasis on them can backfire.
And yet, we do look for those bright lines that tell us something. Tell us that we will live longer. Tell us that we don’t need to worry or need to worry. Reaching them or watching others reach or not reach them occupies so much time and energy. We mourn together when someone is lost and we all suffer from survivor’s guilt/shame in one way or another.
Why does one person live for 10+ years while others get months?
I wish we knew the answer to that.
As with the past several BCAMs, I am marking this month with a daily post with information about MBC and what it means to live with a terminal illness. The graphics I’ll be sharing were published last year by Metavivor, an organization that funnels 100% of the funds raised each year to metastatic breast cancer research. It is hard to describe the experience of always waiting for the next shoe to drop. Once a person has received the most horrible news imaginable, every day is different. There is a dividing line between life before the diagnosis and life afterwards.
Welcome to the aftermath of the worst thing that has ever happened to me. I hope you learn a little from my posts this month and I welcome questions and dialogue. Thanks for reading!