At the beginning of each year, I sit with the experiences of the previous year and look to the next year. As part of this exercise, I select a word for the coming year. Throughout that year, I meditate and look at how that word is working itself out during the year.
For 2022, the word I selected (or selected me) was persistence … you can read about that selection and the words from previous years here.
Little did I know at the beginning of the year that 2022 would be a year of such change and struggle. Not too long after the beginning of the year, we discovered that the cancer in my body had left my bones and spread to my liver. This necessitated a return to IV chemotherapy, Taxotere, which was debilitating and difficult. Additionally, during the time I was receiving Taxotere, we were packing and preparing to move, which meant a lot of work to physically move and also move my medical team.
Each of these changes has required a special amount of persistence to make it all happen, to address all of the circumstances and changes in the best way possible.
Persistence means to me …
- Continuing to pursue knowledge about breast cancer, metastatic breast cancer, the clinical trial process, and staying up on the new medications coming. This involves attending conferences in person and online as well as attending ongoing education sessions like Project LEAD this summer.
- Seeking out the input of specialists (2nd, 3rd, even 4th opinions) to review and interpret the results of genomic testing so that we’re prepared to select the next best treatment. In my view, the more smart people trying to figure out the cancer in my body the better.
- Staying compliant with my chemotherapy regimens — showing up for treatment even when you know it will make you miserable takes a special amount of persistence. One thing I had to do this round was obtain a prescription to help settle my anxiety just walking into the infusion center, a pretty tough thing to admit.
- Pursuing supportive/complimentary care to keep my body working as well as it can while absorbing and handling the often very toxic treatments. From supplements to acupuncture to myo-fascial release, I feel better when I’m doing all I can to ensure that I can withstand the treatment that is keeping the cancer in check.
- Getting up (nearly) every day even when my hemoglobin and iron are low and pain is flaring and all I want to do is lay in bed. I can’t always take the boys to activities but I do it when I can.
- Continuing to use my time and talents to support others in the MBC Community.
We talk a lot in the MBC Community about the need to feel our feelings, to truly enter into this experience and not stuff the hard stuff. My recent really good news (see the picture below) that the rough treatment earlier this year was worth it, has reminded me how important it is to enter in the good feelings too. Whether it was my persistence or otherwise, this good outcome is something that we are celebrating and are so thankful for!
This first half of 2022 wasn’t what I was expecting and here’s hoping that the rest of 2022 won’t require quite so much persistence although if the last five years of living with MBC has taught me anything, it’s that we must be prepared for everything to change, for good or ill.