The beauty of knowing
Last week, my grandma was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, more than 10 years after beating breast cancer for a second time. Metastatic breast cancer is breast cancer that has spread outside of the breast and lymph nodes and moved to other parts of the body. It may be found at the time of the intial diagnosis, or it can occur years or even decades after the original breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. While MBC can be treated, there is no cure.
I was naive to think we were past this chapter for her. In fact, I thought this entire book had been filed in the past.
While I have memories from her first cancer battles, I never saw her sad, sick or weak. My mom says I get my strength from my grandma, but my relationship with her is complicated to say the least. Even so, my heart is saddened by the entire situation and again, I'm forced to reflect on my own mortality.
Approximately 20 to 30 percent of women with early stage breast cancer will later develop metastases. That's a staggering statistic and a harsh reality for so many women, including some incredible women I've come to know.
I could be grim and say sometimes this journey feels more like Final Destination than a happy ending. Are we beating death or delaying our sentence? But at this point, that would feel too much like accepting something that may not be mine to accept.
Instead, I'm choosing to live in the possibility of health, rather than the probability of disease for myself. Because the decision to live life on our own terms lies in the beauty of knowing we won't always be here and neither will the people we love. So, we must actively co-create our lives by changing the things we have the power to change.
The reality is we always think we have more time than we actually do. So, we waste it. We hold things in. We procrastinate. We let fear dictate our decisions. Then, before we know it -- time's up.
All of our clocks are ticking; some of us are just more aware of it than others.
I'm not looking to die anytime soon, but I understand tomorrow isn't promised. I just want to spend the rest of my life doing things that matter with people I care about.
Honestly, I've been so scared to really educate myself on MBC and the issues that women living with it face. Just the possibility at times is a little overwhelming for me, but now, I can see more clearly than ever, their fight is my fight. We're in this together.
If you're interested in learning more about metastatic breast cancer visit Metavivor.