Community Shares: Grieving What Metastatic Breast Cancer Takes Away

Metastatic breast cancer can sometimes feel like a tornado, wreaking havoc on what life looked like before. For many people, there comes a time to pause and grieve all that has changed.

To find out more about how the community is processing these experiences, we reached out to followers of our Facebook page. We asked people to fill in the blank: “Metastatic breast cancer has made me grieve the loss of ______.”

Nearly 70 people responded to this difficult question. Here is what was said.

Relationships

Many people shared that they were most sad about missing out on time with loved ones. For some, that means not being able to watch their children grow up and get married. For others, it means fewer years with their beloved partner. The loss of this time is absolutely something to grieve. It is important to take the time to allow yourself to mourn this loss while remembering that there is still time to make treasured memories with your people.

“The possibility of not being here for my children, husband, and grandchildren.”

“Getting old and watching my kids grow up.”

“Leaving my family earlier than I expected.”

Loved ones

This diagnosis affects so many people. For many in the community, it has already taken the life of someone they love. Some of the respondents shared that they lost their sister, mother, or aunt to this disease. It is always so heartbreaking to have to say goodbye to someone too early.

“My youngest sister.”

“My aunt, who will never know my daughter.”

“My momma.”

Not being able to have kids

For many, metastatic breast cancer means no longer being able to have a biological child. It is common for advanced breast cancer treatments to cause early menopause, making pregnancy impossible.

“No kids.”

“Not being able to have kids!”

Freedom

Living with metastatic breast cancer means that hospitals and ongoing treatment are now a regular part of life. All that time getting treatment can feel like such a weight tying you down. Of course, it makes sense to be sad about the loss of freedom and the ability to be carefree.

“Carefree days.”

“My independence.”

Making plans

There is so much uncertainty when it comes to the future. Quite a few members of the community shared that what pains them most is no longer being able to commit to plans for the future. This diagnosis impacts everything from going back to school, taking big vacations, and even just planning everyday life. It makes people take life one day at a time, which can be very painful.

“Planning for the future.”

“My future.”

Career

So often, we define ourselves by our careers. When that is abruptly taken away, it can be hard to know who we are. Our identity may feel lost. However, it is important to keep in mind that each person is so much more than their career, regardless of what job they held.

“My nursing career.”

“My job.”

Your former self

Overwhelmingly, the most common answer is that people living with advanced breast cancer miss who they were before the diagnosis. They miss their energy, their vitality, and their outlook on life. There is no doubt that life looks different after diagnosis and it is unquestionably more difficult, but there are still good moments and joys to be had.

“The old energetic healthy me.”

“The old healthier me!”

“Me.”

“Who I was.”

Thank you to everyone who shared their experiences with us. We appreciate this community showing up in support.

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