Today, there are women staging a die-in in DC to raise awareness to the fact that metastatic breast cancer is killing men and women every day. They're using the #pinktoblack hashtag and it pretty perfectly says how I feel about Pinktober. I feel pretty unrepresented my most of the pretty pink things I see every October about the cure that was never even attempted for me, since my cancer was always metastatic.
You see, today is Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day. I mean, since this is what I have, every day is MBC awareness day, really.
Looks can be misleading with metastatic breast cancer. I can look so normal as to disappear. Here's a new comic about that, fresh today at The Walrus Magazine.
Statistics are not my friends with this disease. I try not to focus on them, and remind myself that numbers aren't individuals, but living with these kinds of numbers is part of living with metastatic breast cancer.
Did you know?
Median survival rate today with a metastatic cancer diagnosis is 2-3 years. There has been no statistically significant improvement in the past twenty years. (Of course, some women live much longer, I hope and plan to be one of them.)
Breast cancer is the number one cause of cancer death in young women under age 50. Although breast cancer is often described as a "disease of aging", 16% of the breast cancer deaths in 2012 were in this age group.
MBC focused research made up only 7% of the $15 billion invested in breast cancer research from 2000 to 2013 by the major governmental and nonprofit funders from North America and the United Kingdom.
I borrowed these stats from the excellent people at the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network.
Research is where I feel that my best hopes lie. Well, research, and the drugs in development that will hopefully extend my life to the far reaches of the bell curve.
Sometimes I let myself dream big, but mostly I try to confine myself to bites of accomplishments. Small steps toward my best self. Small efforts to live well, or well enough, with this awful disease. It invades the body, corrupting my own cells to its bidding. Then it invades my mind, tormenting me with elaborate what-ifs.
I feel very proud to have been featured in two of a new series of videos the excellent people at ReThink Breast Cancer created highlighting some of the big questions or challenges faced by women like me. Although, and this is the reality of MBC, I was only scheduled for one, but a friend was too sick to participate when the day came. I did my best to do her proud.
I'm really delighted with the way ReThink animated images from my upcoming book to illustrate my words. The legacy video is really special to me in that way.
All the videos are amazing. I am so angry to have metastatic breast cancer in common with such amazing women. I wish science would advance already, give us a cure, or a long0term management tool we can count on, allowing us all to get on with living the best lives we can.