My original diagnosis was in 2005. I was 57 that year, working full time. I had two married children and 5 grandchildren. My mom had had breast cancer when she was 70. I was always told I did not have to worry as hers was post-menopausal. I was actually in Syracuse burying my mom at 88, when I received the call to come back in for additional imaging. It turned out to be cancer.
My cancer was very small and caught early. I felt very confident going into surgery. All indications were that surgery and radiation would take care of this cancer. I felt like, “we got this”. Surgery went well but they could not identify my sentinel node so they took 29 nodes and all were negative. Surgery was followed by a Mamosite procedure (targeted radiation). I only missed a couple of weeks of work and felt good. I took naps each day, some in my hammock or in a cool room (it was July). I listened to guided imagery tapes each day. All things positive. My oncologist said all indications were that I needed no additional treatment. I accepted and agreed with her explanation of the factors to be considered. That chapter of my life was over.
That was not to last. In August of 2017 a pain in the right side under my rib cage led me to follow up with my GP. Although the pain had stopped, I wanted to know what it was. Should it return, what was it and what should I do. I was thinking kidney stones or something of that nature. Cancer never entered my mind. It was a complete shock to hear metastatic breast cancer in my liver. So began this chapter of my life.
2018 took me to the Coalition. I had attended a couple of their presentations. That is when I became part of the common ground metastatic group. This room full of supportive women became a safe place to discuss, fears and anxiety shared by each of us as we live in our world of uncertainty. I know life is uncertain for all of us but we do not face that uncertainty each day. We do. We have had to learn or try to learn to live with that uncertainty. This collective group makes each of us a little stronger. We share laughter, fears, and sometimes tears and we are better for it. I know I am better for this group as we do our best to cope with this shared experience. We are and always will be there for each other.