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Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day & Remembering

Did you know October 13th is Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day?

Yes, metastatic breast cancer gets its own awareness day designation. It should be getting a whole lot more, but I guess one day is better than no day at all.

Friend and fellow blogger, Katherine O’Brien from I Hate Breast Cancer, recently proposed her idea to fellow bloggers of taking this day to remember those each of us has lost to breast cancer; thank you Katherine. That’s what I’m doing today.

I’m remembering. 

I’m remembering my mother and all the others. My mother died from metastatic breast cancer on March 6, 2008. She was originally diagnosed in February 2004 after finding the lump in her breast on my birthday. Her cancer recurred in 2007.

Sometimes I don’t think people realize when someone dies of breast cancer; the odds are they died from metastatic breast cancer. It isn’t the initial lump that kills. Breast cancer becomes deadly when it metastasizes or spreads to other areas of the body, most commonly the bones, brain, liver or lungs. Mestastatic breast cancer is considered stage IV breast cancer. There is no stage V. Presently it is unknown why some cancers metastasize and others do not. Today about 155,000 people are living with MBC.

I cannot figure out the reason why metastatic breast cancer gets so little attention during the craziness of Pinktober and the rest of the year too for that matter. And the dismal amount of dollars being spent on MBC research makes no sense to me either. The focus seems to be almost entirely on early detection, awareness and education. These are all admirable and necessary areas to tend to, but again, the other end of the spectrum is the end that is deadly.

It’s my hope that more dollars will be funneled into research, specifically metastatic breast cancer research.

I whole heartedly back prevention research as well. Preventing cancer in the first place should always be the top priority.

However until we can prevent cancer, or stop it in its tracks once it strikes, we must keep trying to unlock the secrets of why it metastasizes, why it kills. We must also keep trying to find less harsh treatments that offer better quality of life and better rates of survival for those who are presently living with MBC. We must keep trying to save lives and MBC still takes some 40,000 lives each year, roughly one every fourteen minutes.

Please check out this link and learn 13 facts everyone should know about metastatic breast cancer. Granted, it’s not an easy or pleasant topic to learn about, but that doesn’t mean we should not do so.  

On this day, remember. Remember those you’ve lost.  Remember those others have lost. Remember those presently living with metastatic breast cancer; for them, it’s not about pretty pink ribbons. And it’s not about just one day.

Remember.

That’s what I’m doing today. I’m remembering…

How about you?

Who will you remember?

 

Yes, that's me my mom is holding

 

Enjoying a special day

 

The hair screams the 80's, right? Me on left, one of my sisters on right

 

My mom loved her grandma role (my daughter and oldest son)

 

Taken after initial diagnosis before recurrence (my youngest son)

 

One of the last photos of my mom - with my daughter

Remembering…

Betty

Friday 10th of February 2012

It is very comforting. In my dream WE laugh and talk. One morning when I woke up I started hurrying to get up as I was sure Mother was in the kitchen waiting to have coffee with me! It was so real. In my dreams with Susan we are vacationing like we did in real life. My dream life has always been very rich, in color. But I've had reoccuring dreams that are dreadful too. They are about a place, not a special person.

Nancy

Friday 10th of February 2012

Betty, Those dreams sound really lovely. I often think about all the coffee we drank at grandma's kitchen table. I can still see that kitchen so clearly in my mind. Glad you have nice dreams about your friend, Susan. Of course, the dreadful dreams, you don't need those. Hope they happen infrequently.

Betty

Tuesday 7th of February 2012

Just had to look at the pictures again. Hard to believe it will soon be four years. The last couple of years before she died, I remember coming home from work and hearing her voice on my answering machine, "Call me as soon as you get this. I need to talk to you." I would call right back, and we would talk. I dream about your Mother often, also my Mother. We will always miss them.

Nancy

Tuesday 7th of February 2012

Betty, It's interesting you dream about them. I don't recall ever really dreaming about them. Do you find that comforting or upsetting? You're right, of course, we will always miss them. Thanks for taking another look at the photos. And yes, it's hard to believe it's almost been four years...

Laura Russell

Friday 21st of October 2011

Nancy, My mom died of MBC- My eyes teared up seeing how your mom has her arm nice and tight around your daughter's waist. My mom didn't know my kids.

MBC is a hard sell, can't be sexualized. I haven't seen save the ta-tas merchandise. It's offensive.

Keep going with your commentary. For me, it's soothing!

Nancy

Friday 21st of October 2011

Laura, I'm very sorry about your mom and yes, I am very grateful my mom got to know her grandchildren and that they got to know her. I understand the loss you and your children have. You're right, mbc is a hard sell, it doesn't fit in with the pretty pink that is so pervasive. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and again, I'm sorry for your loss.

pinkunderbelly

Tuesday 18th of October 2011

Nancy, I have tears in my eyes reading this! Your mom looks like she was such a lovely woman, and I know her absence is a huge hole in your life. I will remember her and I will keep spreading the word about MBC. Our daughters deserve better.

Nancy

Tuesday 18th of October 2011

Nancy, Thank you so much for your kind words. I know you understand too well. Our daughters do deserve better. All women do. Thanks for helping to spread the word about MBC.

Ginny Marie

Sunday 16th of October 2011

When my mother died, so many people could not wrap their heads around the fact that it was breast cancer in her bones and liver. I think there are a lot of people who just don't know about what metastatic breast cancer means. It's not about saving the "boobies." It's about saving lives! This post is so similar to the one I have written in my head...thank you for actually publishing it! :)

Nancy

Monday 17th of October 2011

Ginny Marie, I think you are right. There seems to be a disconnect of sorts between early breast cancer and metastatic breast cancer. I think many people don't understand mets at all and that's a real failure on the part of all the awareness campaigns in my view. You're so right, it's about saving lives, or it should be. Thanks so much for commenting. I'm sorry about your mom.

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