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Living with Advanced Cancer

Posted 4/2/2014

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  I am well aware that this is a topic that many of us, and most of the world, want to avoid. The reality, however, is that too many women develop metastatic/Stage IV/advanced breast cancer, and pretending that it does not happen and that early detection is a promised a fantasy. I am equally aware, very painfully so, that many women who are in this situation feel that the world ignores them, and that even their "sisters" with breast cancer are so terrified by what has happened that they are shunted to a dark corner.

  We all have to do whatever we possibly can to prevent this reaction. Yes, it is scary. But women who are living with advanced breast (or any other kind) cancer are trying to live relatively normal lives, to continue with family and work and travel and whatever has always made up their days. There is a new normal for many women, a context that didn't use to exist--and that is living in this limbo for years. Are you well? Are you dying? Are you somewhere in between? (the answer is #3)

  I just came across this blog from the European Huff Post, written by a woman with advanced breast cancer. Apparently, in the UK, this is called "secondary breast cancer". Here is the start and then a link:

What It Means to Live With Incurable Secondary Breast Cancer

Hi, my name is Ismena Clout and I'm living with incurable secondary breast cancer. Welcome to my support system, my blog.

Writing about my experiences and journey with cancer provides me with perspective and release and I hope you with an awareness of what it means to live with advanced breast cancer and empathy for the thousands of people who are in the same boat.

My life now is distilled into the fact that to know me, you need to know my cancer. I never wanted to be someone who was defined by their cancer but when you have an incurable diagnosis and ultimately a terminal one you don't have a choice.

The times when cancer isn't in my every thought, movement or action are so very few and far between, I find the only time it isn't everything is when I'm immersed in a film or theatre. Then I can have a moment when I completely forget this is happening to me, the weight of the world lifts from my shoulders and I'm normal again, but then the spell is broken by someone coughing and it all comes crashing back down and I remember.


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