It’s October, month of perpetual pink. For those of us with metastatic, stage IV breast cancer, it’s also a daily reminder that barring some dramatic new medical discovery, I won’t be cured in my lifetime. “Terminal” is not a word you hear much during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.As a patient, I try to be optimistic, but all the crap associated with this disease piles up sometimes. Despite that fact, I am a big proponent of all disease education and awareness. I love that people care about those of us living with breast cancer and participate in runs, raffles, and various other Pinktober activities and fundraisers. My point is that I just hope they research them first to make sure the money and humanpower is actually being used as promoted.
I used to get angry about the lack of research funding and understanding that metastatic breast cancer gets from many corporations and organizations. After three years, I’ve just grown too tired to care, and right or wrong I leave it to others to point out the big offenders. Instead, I focus on my doctors’ visits, associated blood and radiology tests, getting through treatments, pharmacy and insurance calls, knocking out headaches, and spending as much time with my family and friends as I can.
One more thing. Breast cancer (metastatic and non-metastatic) isn’t the only disease out there that becomes the victim of misrepresentation when corporate interests get involved. Diabetes (November), heart disease (February), and pretty much every large-scale disease population out there has national, and sometimes worldwide, recognition campaigns from not just respected charitable and government organizations, but from scores of product manufacturers and service providers. Before you give or participate in support of a disease, read the fine print, check Charity Navigator, and be sure your contributions are going where you expect them to.
And now that I’ve vented, I’ll thank you for reading and provide you with what you probably tuned in for…a health update. I’ve had Avastin, my new treatment, twice now and aside from an increase in headaches that have been pretty well-managed by medication, my body seems to be tolerating it well. The infusion of the drug only takes 15 minutes itself, but between taking vitals, the nurse intake, doctor consultation, blood port access/deaccess, and blood draws, Avastin days at Yale are about two hours. We’ll find out how it’s doing its job at the end of November MRI brain scan.