Almost Four Years of Stage IV

I admittedly have been avoiding writing another blog post for weeks now. Words fall out of my head before they can get down to my mouth (or my typing fingers). I’ve started playing language-based game apps on my phone so that I can try to keep my vocabulary up to snuff. But for someone who has relied on her research, writing, and editing skills to guide her career since college, it hurts to know that despite best efforts I’ll never get back to the level I was at before my brain became metastatic. However, avoiding the English language altogether is really not an option for me.

So this time out, I thought I’d recap where I am at this point in treatment since I reached a cancer-versary this month (see below). Nothing eye opening or fancy…just a little stretching of the mental muscles to keep them from atrophying completely.

  • Year one: Scans, biopsies, lab tests, and radiation, interwoven with all of the emotional gunk that comes with them. Throwing up, pulling out handfuls of hair, and spending the days and weeks wanting to sleep it all away.
  • Year two: Counting the months, both past and possible future. Worrying excessively about the state of my brain.
  • Year three: Hitting the bucket list hard during periods of physical stability.
  • Year four: As of May 13th, , 2019, I’ve made it past the median 3.5 year MBC survival rate! I continue to lurch forward in life despite my spotty memory and frequent brain malfunctions. I thank Herceptin, Perjeta, Avastin, and a team of excellent HCPs at Yale and Middlesex. I do not thank the radiologist at Dana-Farber who told me on 11/16/2012 during the world’s shortest medical appointment that I was “cured” of my then-stage 0 cancer, which he called “not even a real cancer” as I sat there wanting to scream “well then why did I HAVE MY BOOBS CUT OFF???”). I won’t say who this thoughtful physician was (unless you have plans to visit Dana-Farber for treatment or a second opinion; in that case reach out and we’ll talk).

New brain scans come in June, and I’m starting to think that I may just outrun those statistics for another year or two.




11 thoughts on “Almost Four Years of Stage IV

  1. Your Aunt Nancy loves to hear me read your blogs. We think your brain is working great and love the spunk in your writing. You are in our thoughts so often, and always with love!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for keeping your blogs going. I think of you often and find you to be more amazing with every blog. Like my grandson ,Nick, you are setting records and continue to inspire all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. After reaching 4 years back in March, oddly I now count by month – so I’m four years two months as of the 25th. My birthdays seem like bigger deals, but instead of celebrating I sit quietly, meditate and try to bring myself to visualize my cancer gone. I didn’t ask to marry it, I didn’t elope with it, I don’t remember getting a Tiffany diamond solitaire. But it goes everywhere with men- to dinner, the movies, shopping, and to all my doctors appointments – and it’s so narcissistic…it believes everything is about cancer.

    It’s right in its assumption…unfortunately. But I’m so glad to be slouching towards 5 years. I know I’m going to make it, and I have a sneaking suspicion you will too! Metastatic cancer requires tenacity and humor, and like me you seem to have both.

    Off to map off my Benadryl and Taxol hangover, but your post kept me smiling and I had to give you props, strength and a laugh.

    Liked by 1 person

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