Becky: Watching the Sunrise
I was 36 ½ years old when I was told I had breast cancer. A mammogram detected my stage 2 cancer. I had a mastectomy, chemo and reconstruction. I took tamoxifen for 5 years.
When I was 9 years past my diagnosis, I got called into the oncologist's office because one of my tumor marker numbers had spiked. I had a pet scan, ct scan and bone scan and was then informed that my cancer had spread to the lining of my lungs. I was told I was not curable but I was treatable. My daughter was 3½ at the time and I was devastated.
My world turned upside down and from then until now, I have been trying to keep it together. My relationship ended and now my daughter goes between us. I have been on so many chemos that I have lost count, but I am considered stable today. My cancer seems to be slow growing and is so far, being managed ok. I have spent my savings and every cent that I make to make sure that I can afford treatment.
I am living my life but, I need to say, I often feel alone and misunderstood. I belong to a facebook group of women and it is very sad that at times, we all feel like outcasts. I feel that when it comes to breast cancer, attention is often focused on prevention and not on understanding the experiences of those of us living with mbc.
I don't know what will happen to me if I lose my job and or cannot work. I have family but they are not present in my day-to-day living. They, like most families, appear for the crisis. My life is a permanent crisis and my family seems tired of my difficulties.
One thing I have gained is an amazing network of other mbc patients. These people are strong, vibrant and amazing women. We laugh, cry and share each other's ups and downs. Together we hope for the future. I feel like these friends sustain me with their support. Their stories inspire me to continue with this fight.
In January, I will have been living with stage 4 mbc for 8 years and it will be 17 years since I was first diagnosed with early stage bc.
Despite the challenges that I have experienced, I feel so blessed to be alive. I am basically healthy. What health means to me is different than what it means to many others; what I manage on a daily basis is what others may not be able to handle but I do what I need to do to continue on. After all, what is my choice?
I choose life and I take each day as it presents itself. I count my blessings and am grateful to be able to watch the sun rise and set on a daily basis. Cancer has changed my perspective on what truly matters.
Editor's note: Becky wrote this story in October of 2012 and passed away June 9, 2015. A celebration of her life will be held July 28 at 2 PM at St. David's Episcopal Church in Austin, Texas.
» More Stories