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I was first diagnosed with Stage II Breast Cancer in October 2013, at the age of 33. My husband and I had been married for 8 years at the time. Our daughter was just four years old, and our son was two. At the time, we thought we were in for the fight of our lives. Little did we know that our fight would change less than four years later. In April 2017, we discovered that despite going through surgery, 16 rounds of chemotherapy, hormone therapy and endocrine therapy, doing everything we could, cancer had returned and spread to my bones. I went from Stage II to Stage IV in what felt like the blink of an eye.
When I was originally diagnosed with Stage II disease, all I could focus on was the countdown to that magical five year anniversary we hear so much about. I thought, if I could just make it to that five year mark, I would be in the clear. After all, my doctors told me that technically I was cancer free. At that time, I didn't understand why all the websites and online community boards separated the Stage 0 - III groups, and the Stage IV (Metastatic) groups. I thought that I had cancer too, so why were those groups any different? Weren't we all going through the same thing?
I didn't understand the difference until I was diagnosed with Metastatic Breast Cancer myself.
I went from hoping and praying to make it to that 5 year mark where you start to breathe a little easier, to just hoping and praying that I'll be here in 5 years. I now understand why the groups are so different. But what I don't understand, is why this new "group" I'm in doesn't get talked about.
Each year in October, we see the pink ribbons everywhere. We see the football players with pink shoes on. We see the pink ribbon shirts and hats and key chains and cups and scarfs. I even saw a pink ribbon stamped on my eggs as I was trying to make my babies breakfast one morning. Each October we are flooded with the stories of those survivors that beat cancer. But what about us?
Why don't we see the statistics on metastatic disease? Why don't we see it reported that even though 30% of those diagnosed with early stage disease will eventually develop Stage IV disease, yet only 2-7% of the funding raised goes towards research and curing metastatic disease? Why don’t we hear about the stories of the mothers and daughters and sisters that died from metastatic disease? Or those literally fighting for their lives each day.
We need to raise nationwide awareness about Metastatic Breast Cancer. We need to start talking about this “separate group” that no one talks about. We need to start talking about the group that feels so ignored every October. We need to tell our stories too. We need to raise more money for research for a cure.
Early detection is important. It's very important. But it's not everything.
The Rise Up Campaign was started to raise awareness and to get people to start asking questions. It was created to give voices to those who feel that they aren’t heard. It was started to make sure we all understand that there is no cure for breast cancer, and we need one.
I am honored to have METAvivor allow me another platform to share my story, along with the story of so many others.
Please help us find a cure.
100% of your donation will be used to fund research with the goal of ending death from metastatic breast cancer.
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