Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day
Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day is October 13th each year, designated in 2009, after multiple decades of October being designated as Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM). To read more about how that happened and why, you can access this article, which I found very helpful.
My mother is a survivor of DCIS and we faced many an October/Pinktober together as a family. Most of the time before my diagnosis in 2017, we celebrated her response to treatment and continued No Evidence of Disease (NED) status. We don't use the word "cured" any longer now that we know a little more about breast cancer and the germline mutation I share with my mother. But there is much to celebrate since cancer hasn't been a present issue for my mom in so long.
October was a month dedicated to gratitude until 2017, when I was diagnosed de novo with Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer.
And then, we had no idea what to do with the month. The rug was literally pulled out from under us.
Over the years, I've done different things to "celebrate" October and, particularly to mark the one day that is dedicated to Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer, October 13th. Imagine my surprise after celebrating in October for so many years that there is only one day dedicated to those of us who will give our lives to this disease. There's no pink boas, or glittery bras or dancing that happens in my world.
I'm not bitter at how those of us who have MBC are sidelined, I'm pretty angry about it.
I'm not sad about all those years that we celebrated and continue to celebrate with my mom. It is very likely that old age will end her life, not cancer, and I'm so thankful for that. I'm thankful for the medication that has allowed her to enjoy decades of NED. I'm thankful for all those people who participated in trials to ensure that she has that chance and that I have been able to live for five (5) years with MBC, which only about 28% of us get.
What I AM sad about is that October isn't about those of with Stage IV, that we are still the pink elephants in the room.
And so, to protect my peace and my heart this year during October and specifically, the 13th, I am going to spend the day remembering those friends I have lost and connecting with those who are still living with MBC with me. This year isn't for advocacy or for education or for trying to right the wrongs that we so often face. I confess that I've run out of the energy needed to do these things.
What I do know is important is to continue and support the legacy of those who have paved the way for the rest of us and to prioritize and focus on those people who love us now. Now is quite literally all that we have and there is no way to know who will be an outlier, a unicorn, and who will succumb to this dreadful disease.
We are so much stronger together than apart.
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