A movement is starting to trend for metastatic breast cancer. Many of us are beyond frustrated with misinformation and ignorance of metastatic breast cancer, and breast cancer in general. Facts are now being spread to help people realize that any early stage breast cancer can develop into stage 4, even stage 1, we just don't understand why or how. This has been "triggering" some, apparently. I'd try to empathize but this is reality, you don't get to keep your head in the sand. No one wants an early stage breast cancer survivor to find out they're now metastatic, but the truth is 20-30% of them will. And that doesn't even include those that are diagnosed stage 4 denovo (from the start).
Being stage 4 has not just flipped my world, it's made a lot of it crash and burn. I've lost my hair 3 times now as stage 4. Last night I went to wash my hair and it came out in clumps from the radiation treatments for the tumours in my brain. I looked like some massacred doll when a 3 year old found a pair of scissors. Yes, it's "just hair" but having hair makes you feel a little normal for that split second that you see your reflection. Now I've got a shaved head so I don't look like a living Halloween decoration.
I've gained 50 lbs because of treatments this year. 50 fucking pounds. I've never weighed this much, even pregnant. I'm fat and I hate it for more than one reason. Don't say it's just weight, don't worry about it. Being fat makes more complications in my life. For one, clothes. Nothing fucking fits and I'm not about to walk around in muumuus. Another thing is it makes my back and shoulder pain worse from the non cancer shit I get to deal with, so that's more fun. It puts more pressure on my lungs, you know the ones filled with tumours and now with pneumonia because my body hates me that much. And I already have tumours in my liver, I don't need it to start getting fat. Not to mention just body image in general. I even gave up on having breasts because I found out the cancer was growing around and under my implants. It was just better to take them out for easier monitoring the cancer, plus it was causing pain with the pressure that would happen from compressing the tumours.
Lungs, yeah. I miss breathing. Coughing constantly because of the tumours and now I have pneumonia for the third time this year. I can barely do anything without becoming breathless and sounding like a 10 pack a day smoker.
Independence. I used to be so independent. I could do whatever I needed, myself. Then the car accident. Then cancer. I can't drive now because of the risk of seizure until I get a clear MRI of my brain. I can barely walk because of the extra weight killing my back and my lung refusing to process oxygen. So I get to ask for help with.. everything. I can't even cook well right now because of the energy and effort. I'm so tired of needing to ask for help. I hate it. I hate it so much. I really don't think people understand how much it kills my soul having to ask for help. A lot of it, I know, is rooted in the fact that I never want to be like my mother, but that's another rant for another time.
I'm constantly on the edge, wondering if the treatments will work. The list of options is getting shorter. I constantly get to try to figure out if I should try to live life and push treatments or take treatments and miss out on events. I get to be the one stressing over am I asking too much? Will pushing a chemo make me progress to the point that I cannot recover? Will I regret not being able to be a part of something that I could try to attend but only if I push treatment? Constant fear of fucking up is a part of my life. And making the wrong decision could make that life a lot shorter.
Having cancer has eaten away at more than just my body, it's taken away a lot of our finances. Yes, even though we are in Canada and a lot of my treatments in the hospital are covered, there's still a lot that costs us and takes away from everyday finances. There's prescriptions for one, constantly getting drugs to help with the treatment. From pain killers, antinauseates, steroids, constipation, diarrhea, and so much more. Then gas, parking, trying to keep up with daycare, food because you just cannot cook for various reasons, hospitalization messes up the finance plan, and so much more. People ask how they can help and it's hard because, really, you need financial stability and no matter how many things you try to cut or save on, something always depletes all your money. Our savings died long, long ago.
So this is life now. I put this out there to let people have the opportunity to understand. I hope that it helps.