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Metastatic Breast Cancer, the Losses Keep Piling Up – Do I Scream or Do I Cry?

When my daughter and soon to be son-in-law  were helping me set up my blog a year and a half ago, I asked my daughter, “Do you think my blog’s name and heading – Nancy’s Point, A blog about breast cancer and loss, is really depressing?”

“Well, a little bit,” she answered honestly.

At the time, I asked myself well, how do you write about breast cancer and loss without it becoming too depressing? Is that even possible? How do you write about such serious matters in a way in which people might still want to read it?

I don’t know the answers. Back then I decided all I could do was tell the truth, my truth. That’s what I still try to do. I believe in truth telling, even when it’s hard and this week it’s really hard.

This week my truth is this:  I’ve been feeling like screaming, I’ve been feeling like crying and sometimes I’ve been feeling like doing both at the same time.

On the one hand, all I want to do is scream out at the injustice and cruelty of metastatic breast cancer. I want to say: scream:

I will no longer accept excuses for our lack of more humane treatments. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which killed the person, the cancer or the treatment.

I will not settle for minuscule amounts of funds raised being spent on metastatic breast cancer research – 2% is NOT enough!

I will not be satisfied with pink ribbons, and races and walks.

I will not be quiet when it seems as if breast cancer has become accepted, almost as if it is a normal thing.

I will not be quiet when breast cancer is portrayed as a fight you can win if you just stay positive and fight hard enough.

I will not accept that 40,000 deaths per year to breast cancer alone is true progress in this war that was declared on cancer forty years ago.

I am tired of being patient.

In the end, my discontent is not what matters. The facts of metastatic breast cancer matter. I hope you’ll visit the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network website and learn about some of them.

Sometimes during the past few days I did not feel like screaming.

Sometimes I felt like weeping and I did.

I wept for my mother and now for Rachel and Susan and also for Cheryl who passed away on January 15, 2012. I wept for all the women (and men) lost to metastatic breast cancer and the ones I know and do not know who will still be lost.

But weeping will not change things. Screaming in frustration will not change things.

We need meaningful action to change things.

If you are as appalled as I am about the 40,000 lives still being lost each year to metastatic breast cancer, please join in the discussion. Please visit METAVivor Research & Support, Inc.  for more information. Please join an Army of Women. Please donate to a charity that actually focuses on research. Please expect accountability from whatever charities you do donate to.

Please do not settle. Most importantly of all, please do not stay quiet.

Join me and so many others in expecting, no demanding more.

As Stacey from Bringing Up Goliath said in a recent post, “Don’t let it (the losses) be for nothing.”

Some days are for screaming. Some days are for crying. Some days are for both.

This is one of those days weeks.

Rachel’s family chose the following organizations as ones being worthy for donations made in her memory. If they are good enough for Rachel, they are good enough for me. Check them out.

Breast Cancer Action
55 Montgomery St, Ste. 323
San Francisco, CA 94105
METAvivor Research and Support Inc.
1783 Forest Drive #184
Annapolis, MD 21401

Remembering…

Always remembering my mom who passed away from mbc on March 6, 2008

Rachel Cheetam Moro (1970-2012) with her little dog Newman

Susan Niebur passed away from mbc on February 6, 2012

Cheryl Radford passed away from mbc January 15, 2012.

Who are you remembering?

How do you handle anger and sadness after loss?

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Mary

Wednesday 15th of February 2012

Nancy, thank you for continuing to post in the midst of your grief and loss for your friends. Not only do you give a voice to many of us dealing with bc, but your blog provides an excellent forum for us to comfort, support and uplift one another. We definitely need to lobby hard for a change to the status quo!

Nancy

Wednesday 15th of February 2012

Mary, Thanks for your wonderful comments. They mean a lot. Things do need to change don't they?

Sarah @ Be The Weeble

Monday 13th of February 2012

Nancy, I just found your blog thru one of your Twitter followers and wanted to let you know that I'll keep checking back, whether you're screaming, crying or whatever. Your message needs to be heard. Lots of people want to avert their eyes from women w/advanced disease b/c it *is* so hard to swallow the truth. It's much, much easier to dress things up in pink ribbons and smiles. Breast cancer is not a feel-good event. There is a small army of us that is slowly chipping away at the pink monolith. It's happening. Not fast. Not in a satisfying way. But there are little glimpses of progress here and there. I try to be content with those, for now.

Nancy

Tuesday 14th of February 2012

Sarah, Thank you for finding my blog and taking time to make such supportive comments. It's wonderful to know there are people like you out there who truly get it. "Breast cancer is not a feel-good event." Thank you for stating what is or should be the obvious. Like you, I try to be content with glimpses of progress too, but sometimes it is hard...

Jan Baird Hasak

Sunday 12th of February 2012

Oh, Nancy, keep staying on that soapbox. We need to keep hearing this message. It never gets old. My eyes are brimming with tears over the injustices of it all. These women's lives were like a brief candle in the fire of time, gone before their flames could fully illuminate their personalities and goals. Gone long before their time. Thanks for the beautiful pictures of your mom and those three lovely women whom we will remember always.

I'm remembering my mom, now, who died of lung cancer in 2004, from second-hand smoke. Anytime someone lights up near me, I literally run away, ready to weep.

I handle anger and sadness by joining a cause and volunteering. I speak at many breast cancer events and serve on the board of the Lymphedema Advocacy Group to lobby Congress regarding lymphedema legislation. Helping other women has become paramount to me as I search for answers to this tragedy.

Thanks for your incredible tribute. xoxo Jan

Nancy

Tuesday 14th of February 2012

Jan, Thank you for your kind words. And thank you for the important work you continue to do to help others.

Alli

Sunday 12th of February 2012

I'm having a difficult time wrapping myself around this. It feels like our own vulnerability is gapping open. I have cried so often this past month. I cried again today.Likely I'll cry again tomorrow. I'm just so F#@#@ng pissed off. There have been too many losses. How do we make people understand we don't need or want the Band-Aid we want this festering wound to heal!! Love Alli x

Nancy

Sunday 12th of February 2012

Alli, I hear you. I hear you. Hugs.

Lori Hope

Saturday 11th of February 2012

Nancy, "First, you cry." Then you scream. Then you act. Which is what you have done and continue to do. Bless you.

I'm working on an essay about how to write about death without people rolling their eyes or instantly turning their eyes and minds elsewhere. (I'm trying to trick them into reading it with an intriguing headline, and then once they're there, hook them.) I guess I've found that there is a cadre of people who get it, who can read about loss, and cry and scream but at the same time find beauty in our connection and fighting together (and celebrating the good times we have).

I'm rambling -will go now. But this post moved me deeply. Inspired me. Thank you. Much love, Lori

Nancy

Sunday 12th of February 2012

Lori, Thank you for your kind words about my post. Some topics are tough to write about aren't they? It's hard to know how much is too much sometimes. There are people who do get it and want to read about loss. I look forward to reading your essay. Of course you're right, we cry, we scream and then we act or at least try to. Thanks for your insightful comments, Lori.

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