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Marking Time Again – Eight Years

It’s now been eight years since my mother died from metastatic breast cancer. She died on March 6, 2008. She was initially diagnosed (early stage, ER+) in February 2004. Her cancer “officially” metastasized in late fall of 2007. A few months later she was gone. I’ve been marking time here on the blog for the last few years not because I look for pity or sympathy or anything at all. I mark time because #wewillnotforget.

I also mark time each year because it’s a really simple way to illustrate the numbers.

And the numbers suck. Big time.

In the eight years since my mother died, too many others have died from metastatic breast cancer. Too many other families have witnessed great suffering and have been left to deal with enormous loss. Too many, just too many.

For my family, it’s been eight years now.

That’s 2,920 days.

Sometimes it seems like only yesterday and at other times it seems like a lifetime ago. So much has changed.

I have often thought about how my mother might have reacted to my diagnosis and all the ensuing fallout since that day. I have often wondered about things she might have done or things she might have said.

But of course, I’ll never know.

Sometimes I am relieved she never knew. Sometimes I still get damn angry she wasn’t/isn’t here to commiserate with.

But… it wasn’t meant to be.

Since my mother died on March 6, 2008 there have been roughly 40,000 more deaths every year in the US alone. Every year.

This means since March 6th, 2008, 320,000 more lives have been snuffed out by metastatic breast cancer.

Grandmothers. Mothers. Wives. Partners. Daughters. Sisters. Aunts. Cousins. Friends. Co-workers. Too many. Just too many.

Grandfathers. Fathers. Husbands. Partners. Sons. Brothers. Uncles. Cousins. Friends. Co-workers. Men are not immune from this wretched disease either. Too many. Just too many.

The numbers are staggering.

Roughly 108 every day.

That’s more than 756 every week.

More than 3,000 every month.

40,000 every year.

Again, this is in the US alone.

Too many. Just too many.

Lives gone forever. Loved ones’ lives changed forever as well.

So once again, I mark time.

I mark time to remember, but of course, I remember every single day.

I also mark time because we need to do better.

We must do better.





Featured image via I want more than a pink ribbon and used with permission.

Who do you mark time for?


Who do you mark time for?




Beth L. Gainer

Friday 11th of March 2016

Oh Nancy,

This post is heartbreakingly poignant. I'm so sorry you lost your mother to metastatic breast cancer. It's a horrible disease that is so often swept under the Pink Machine's carpet. I wish your mom were still alive to hold you and talk with you. Cancer cheats people out of their lives and robs people of their loved ones. I mark time for my friends who are gone too soon.


Sunday 13th of March 2016

Beth, Thank you for your heartfelt comments. I appreciate your kind words very much.

Angela Gordon

Tuesday 8th of March 2016

I had breast cancer in 2007. I was diagnosed one year to the day after a close friend, Carole, passed away from MBC. On 2/25/16, my friend, Kim, who had bc with me in 2007, but was dx with liver and bone mets 9/14, passed away at 37 years old. She left behind 4 children and a loving husband. Just too many. Just too young. It has to stop.


Wednesday 9th of March 2016

Angela, I am sorry about your friends. I agree, it does have to stop. Thank you for sharing about them.


Monday 7th of March 2016

Nancy, I am sorry you and your family got hit with this awful disease. And I am also sorry so many other families are still suffering, including my own family. When I look at those figures you included, I feel scared. Not only for me, but for everyone else I know who avoids these facts. And what about those organizations that could be making a difference but still refuse to do so (you know who they are!)? How many deaths will it take for changes to start happening? I am not sure but I am damn tired of seeing friends and family members die from breast cancer. I fear for all of us too.

I mark time for my great-aunt, Gasita. I miss her.


Wednesday 9th of March 2016

Rebecca, Yes there are still too many families suffering, just too many. I am sorry about your great aunt. I'm glad you shared about her. Thank you.

Elizabeth J.

Monday 7th of March 2016

We need a cure - NOW! It has been 3 years since I progressed to metastatic. Sadly, like most people, although I knew women still died of breast cancer, I had no idea the numbers had stayed the same for 20 years. I truly believed we had made progress. I was shocked not only that I had a metastatic recurrence, but that it was still so common. I have even run into people who thought such recurrences no longer happen. People need to know about metastatic breast cancer, about all the cancers that metastasize and kill.


Wednesday 9th of March 2016

Elizabeth, We have made progress, but not nearly enough in the realm that matters most, the number of lives lost. That hasn't changed much and yes, people do need to know about mbc and the staggering number of women and men who still die from bc. Thank you for sharing.

Jan Hasak

Monday 7th of March 2016

I can totally relate. I have had metastatic disease for over three years and it is now in the brain. Scary? You bet. Let us find a cure or at least a respite from this horror.


Wednesday 9th of March 2016

Jan, Scary indeed. Thank you for sharing, it's so good to hear from you.

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