Breast Cancer Awareness Month has come and gone again with one day, Tuesday 13th set aside for Secondary Breast Cancer. But for those of us living with MBC, “Every day is secondary breast cancer day”.
It was shocking to hear the Prime Minister dismiss the importance of cancer outcomes in such an offhand way in a TV interview this week. But at the same time, it was sadly not surprising to many of us at Met-Up UK.
Following on from our #TrodelvyNow post last month, MetUpUk Member Phillippa has appeared in the Daily Mail, alongside other women for who this drug could mean, literally the difference between life and death.
One of the feelings I remember most about my treatment for primary breast cancer in 2013 is my strength leaving me… I was on my lunch break after starting chemotherapy (yes I worked through treatment – I was 31 and freelance) and it felt like my stomach muscles just turned to jelly and tumbled out onto the pavement (invisibly – nobody else had a clue what was going on).
We started our campaign in Metastatic May with some information about treatment lines and it really caused a bit of a stir, especially on Instagram.
Why? Because people don’t want to think that this disease is going to kill us. We have to remain positive. We have to see the chink of light and I agree we all have to have hope. That was my introduction. We need hope.
Metastatic breast cancer is not only taking the lives of 31 women per day. In the limited time they have left women living with this disease are experiencing financial hardship.
When I was first diagnosed with cancer, my primary cancer, at 35 in July 2016 I was determined that I wouldn’t let cancer take over my life. I sat in a chair and thought I’d have 8 months of treatment and be done with it. Oh. What a fool I was.
I think sometimes when those outside the cancer world imagine what treatment is like they think we go in, have some chemo, take some photos dancing around our IV pole and then go home and rest for a few days…. And don’t get me wrong I’m one of those people who have taken a cheeky chemo selfie and donned numerous items of leopard print to get me through those loooooooong days in the chemo ward, it’s like armour for what is essentially ritual poisoning!
I’m 36 and I walk around with a serial killer inside of me. One day soon, almost certainly before my 40th birthday, that serial killer is going to break free and end my life in a slow and painful way. To delay this from happening I’ve had to fill my body with poison (some of the drug boxes actually have skull and crossbones warning signs on!).
Birthday and cancerversaries became bittersweet as I was dealing with the realities of cancer, the side effects, the constant fear of the unknown, the helplessness, the indignity of losing who you are, who you were, even things you take for granted like walking up your own stairs or getting out the bath (because the treatment has made you weak).
And so, I feel with every year I am living with MBC, with every new treatment and with every progression, I am like a china doll. Leaving broken pieces of me behind.