One week ago, I decided to join the Jimmy Fund walk to benefit cancer research and Dana Farber. I went back and forth on whether I wanted to announce that I was walking and why and at the same time announce my blog. Doing so would leave me exposed and vulnerable. Ultimately, I decided to post it and I could not be happier, as I know I made the right choice.
In the past week, I have heard from people I have not heard from in years, had people say wonderful things and show so much love and support, had some bring back great memories, opened up my prayer network, had someone share a story of someone living well with this disease, had over 300 hits on my blog, and raised almost $10,000 for cancer research through my team Cabral’s Crusaders!!!! All in a WEEK! To say I am amazed by all of the wonderful people in my life is an understatement.
When I first received this diagnosis, I naturally questioned “Why is this happening to me?” “What did I do to deserve this?” While is still ask these questions daily, this IS happening and I have to make something good come from it. Something that one day my kids can look back on and be proud of. Maybe I can raise awareness of this awful disease.
SO. Here are some facts on Metastatic Breast Cancer: (from MBCN.org)
1. No one dies from breast cancer that remains in the breast. Metastasis occurs when cancerous cells travel to a vital organ and that is what threatens life.
2. Metastasis refers to the spread of cancer to different parts of the body, typically the bones, liver, lungs and brain. ( in my case, it is the Bones)
3. An estimated 155,000 Americans are currently living with metastatic breast cancer. Metastatic breast cancer accounts for approximately 40,000 deaths annually in the U.S.
4. Treatment for metastatic breast cancer is lifelong and focuses on control of the disease and quality of life.
5. About 6% to 10% of people are Stage IV from their initial diagnosis. ( i am in this group)
6. Early detection does not guarantee a cure. Metastatic breast cancer can occur 5, 10 or 15 years after a person’s original diagnosis and successful treatment checkups and annual mammograms.
7. 20% to 30% of people initially diagnosed with early stage disease will develop metastatic breast cancer.
8. Young people, as well as men, can be diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.
9. Like early stage breast cancer, there are different types of metastatic breast cancer.
10. Treatment choices are guided by breast cancer type, location and extent of metastasis in the body, previous treatments and other factors.
11. Metastatic breast cancer is not an automatic death sentence. Although most people will ultimately die of their disease, some will live for many years. (Hopefully MANY, MANY years)
12. There are no definitive prognostic statistics for metastatic breast cancer. Every patient and their disease is unique.
13. To learn more about National Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day on October 13 and to access resources specifically for people living with metastatic breast cancer and their caregivers, visit www.mbcn.org.