The Reality of Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer

As part of our October breast cancer awareness blog series, we will be publishing stories from our clients and who are (or have been) faced with a breast cancer diagnosis. October 13th was Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day.

This blog is written by our client Vicky who was diagnosed in 2000 with stage 1 breast cancer and again in July 2013 with metastatic breast cancer. Metastatic Breast Cancer, also known as Stage IV, is cancer that has spread outside of the breast to other organs such as bones, liver, lung or brain.

Photo taken by Felicia Reed

My hope for the future is to educate and empower other people with a cancer diagnosis, especially women diagnosed with breast cancer.  The biggest misconception I find people have about metastatic breast cancer, stage IV disease, is that there is a cure. There is no cure for cancer that has spread outside the breast. I will be on some type of treatment for the rest of my life. Most people do not understand the stages and think you can survive any of them.

If I had to describe living with metastatic breast cancer to someone, I would say that the reality of the disease is heart breaking but it also is a life-changing gift. I live and love much fuller now and I have the opportunity to leave this earth on my terms.  However, the hardest thing about living with metastatic breast cancer is seeing your bus but not knowing when it is coming for you. I am 54 years old and it is very likely I will not see my grandkids as adults.

My advice for someone who has received a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis would be to educate yourself as much as you can about your diagnosis. Create your support team and embrace each day as if it is your last.  I believe it is important to support locally-based breast cancer organizations like the BCRC because anyone facing breast cancer needs some kind of help whether it be emotional, financial or educational.

I first heard about the BCRC after moving here from out of state. I was happy to learn there was a metastatic breast cancer support circle meeting not far from my home. (Women4Women group is for our Stage IV clients and meets every 3rd Tuesday in Round Rock but they also offer a support circle in Austin as well.)

The BCRC has helped my family with food assistance while under going high cost cancer treatments. They have also provided me with opportunities for education and wellness events.  The BCRC means a partnership to me which also means you do not have to face your illness alone. They have caring staff that walk along side you to help you on your cancer journey.

The BCRC thanks Vicky for sharing her story and her experience with metastatic cancer. For information regarding metastatic breast cancer, please visit www.mbcn.org.

If you or someone you know is facing metastatic breast cancer and could use our support, please visit our website or call our helpline at 512-524-2560.

Consider making a donation to BCRC this October and give the gift that makes a real difference for the women in Central Texas facing breast cancer right NOW. Visit bcrc.org to learn more about how we can help, or click here if you wish to give back today.

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