Yes it was FIVE years ago today that the hospital finally noticed that I had metastatic breast cancer. Time flies when you are having this much fun, but it is difficult to take in that I really have made it to FIVE years. When they had done the scans, done the hip replacement and were finally going to discharge me I asked that, the 'how long have I got' question ... six months possibly a year. How wrong were they?
Today I had a Tai Chi class this morning and then had to go into work; so how wrong were they again? VERY. My biggest regret is that I wasted months in a blizzard of tears, anger, despair and depression because there just didn't seem to be any hope. At that time I didn't have the internet at home and so I couldn't look for any help in cyber world and there was certainly nothing on offer at the hospital. You become a non-entity when you pass over to the other side of survivorship; the side where the is rarely anything vaguely like a happy ending. That hurt, and to be honest I felt as though I was being placed on the rubbish heap because no one cared and no one wanted to reach out a helping hand. This all goes to Early Stage Breast Cancer and ask just about anyone with Late Stage BC and they will tell you that not only do they feel that they have 'failed' somewhere along the line, but that they are made to feel that they have failed.
When you go on a breast cancer website, other than pink of course, what hits you? Survivors ... life after cancer and treatment ... moving forward. Hmmm. Not sure that anyone with late stage Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) feels too much at home with any of that, or are able to identify with life after breast cancer because by the mere definition of our diagnosis there is no life after breast cancer. That is precisely what we won't have. Somewhere down the bottom of the page, or tucked away at the side you might find something about MBC. However who really needs the help and support? Those who stand a good chance of surviving? Or those who have almost no chance of surviving? I have made it to five years, but the chances of my being here in another 5 years is 2%; or to put it another way there is a 98% chance that I won't make it to 10 years. Them ain't good odds by any stretch of any imagination. If you were offered those odds on a horse race you would laugh at the suggestion that you would make a bet, but ... I am now more of a lottery playing type. The odds of winning may be astronomical but I'm going to give it a flutter anyway.
What I wish most is that no one else who receives a MBC diagnosis should have to take some long to find the inspiration to believe that they do have a future. I am Spartacus! I am Woman - hear me roar.