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17 Years Later, Stage 4 Survivor Is Savoring a Life Well Lived

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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-28-10 05:32 AM
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17 Years Later, Stage 4 Survivor Is Savoring a Life Well Lived
17 Years Later, Stage 4 Survivor Is Savoring a Life Well Lived
Published: April 26, 2010

Each year on a day in January the 15th, to be precise I go to a Web site and post a message to hundreds of women Ive never met, saying, essentially, Im still here.

Within days, a thunderous chorus comes back, 200 voices, 300. A few of them ask, How can this be? Sometimes they begin, Im crying. Many answer in kind: Im here, too. Its now three years. Five years. Three months. Seven.

What were doing, in a way, is checking for lights in the darkness.

Now there probably arent a lot of Web sites where the announcement that youre around and breathing would cause anyone to take notice, let alone respond. But this is a site for people with Stage 4 breast cancer, something Ive had for 17 years. The average life expectancy with the diagnosis is 30 months, so this is a little like saying Im 172 years old: seemingly impossible. But its not. I first found I had the illness in 1988, and it was rediagnosed as Stage 4 in 1993. Thats 22 years all together, which is the reason I post each year on the anniversary of the day I learned my cancer was back: to let women know that it happens, that people do live with this for years.

I tell them that when the cancer returned, it came on so fast, spread so quickly, that I was given a year or two to live. Within months, the disease turned vicious. It started breaking bones from within, and was coming close to severing my spinal cord.

Nothing was working, till a doctor tried a hormone treatment no one used much anymore, and the cancer turned and retreated, snarling. It remains sluggish but active. Every so often, it rears its head; when it does, we switch treatments and it slides back down. In that way, I stay alive.

I tell them: you just dont know.

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Forkboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-28-10 02:00 PM
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1. Thank you for posting this here.
Last week we found out my mother had a brain tumor and that without surgery she had 6 weeks to live, with it maybe a year. She had the surgery last week and the doctor was pretty confident he got it all from the brain, but a scan has turned spots up on her stomach, kidney and chest (not the lung). It's also in the bones of her left shoulder. Everything is still pretty much up in the air still, but long term survival isn't something the doctors are talking about. I'm not naive enough to cling to a single story, but it's still nice to read. So thank you. I wouldn't have seen it otherwise.
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-28-10 02:57 PM
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2. Hey, Forkboy...
I'm very sorry to hear about your mom. Cancer is the worst; I lost my mom from it, and uncle, and know of many who have succumbed. My best wishes to her and you.

Yes, this article was bristling with hope, so I'm glad it helped you. :hug:
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JustAnotherGen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-14-11 01:52 PM
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3. I found out
My father has lung cancer on Tuesday - that it is terminal on Thursday. This gives me that tiny little bit of hope that he might - he just might be here for my wedding next year. Thanks for hope today. ;-)
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cmd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-17-11 02:01 PM
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4. One year survivor here
I am amazed to be here today feeling as good as I am feeling. Your post gives me a lot of hope. My doctor told me I had a year. I picked up the pieces and lived day by day. Everything was fine except I had stopped dreaming of the future. I didn't buy any new clothes except nightgowns because I didn't think I'd need them. Last month I was forced into shopping because my daughter was graduating from law school and I had nothing to wear. Dreams started to come back and I see I wasted some valuable time. I have added quite a few things to my wardrobe, bought some new shoes and enjoy styling my new curly hair. Life goes on. I don't know for how long, but I plan to enjoy every day.
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