Taking Back October

Published October 4, 2015 by Deb Ragosta

When I was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer in 1990, October was still the month we loved for the spectacular show of colors as the leaves changed and gave us a glorious prelude to the gloom of the winter months to come.  Not long after, however, October became what many now refer to as “pinktober.”  Thanks to Nancy Brinker and “Komen for the Cure” as well as many other organizations, the 31 days of the month became less about scenery, Halloween and the 3-day Columbus Day weekend and more about all things pink.  We walked to raise money in October and bought everything from yogurt to cars to support breast cancer awareness.  Even local newspapers got into the act by printing their papers on pink paper (which, if you’ve never tried to read a newspaper printed on pink, is one of the most annoying things about Breast Cancer Awareness Month!)  

In the nineteen October’s that came and went between my initial diagnosis and my stage 4 diagnosis (made in October, 2009) it became harder and harder to think all that awareness and fundraising was really accomplishing anything.  We seemed to be no closer to a cure in October, 2009 than we were in October, 1990.  Although finding a cure always mattered to me, it mattered a whole lot more after I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.  That may sound selfish, but in those first nineteen years, I became complacent because I honestly thought a cure was close at hand.  How could all those pinktobers not raise the money needed to fund the research needed to find the cure?  I was sure it was only a matter of time when all things pink and Breast Cancer Awareness Month would be something we could tell our grandchildren about because there was no longer a disease called breast cancer.  Unfortunately for the approximately 40,000 women and men who succumb to breast cancer in the United States each year, there was no cure for them – no way out and no choice but to fight the good fight.  Some never met their grandchildren and way too many didn’t survive long enough to see their own children graduate from high school.  For me, the saddest losses are those whose children are in grade school.  Believe me, I know how blessed I am.  I’ve lived long enough to watch my child grow up, graduate from high school and college; watch as she fell in love and married her soulmate and now, live in the joy of having a grandchild.  

Since I am no different than most people when it comes to wanting as much out of life as I can get, I look at the past 26 years (especially the last 6) as a gift I could never repay.  Once I was diagnosed with breast cancer, my life changed,  My life goals and wants changed.  I didn’t let the cloud of breast cancer change the woman I was, but it definitely affected (not defined) the woman I am now.  I live from blessing to blessing and the past year has brought the best gift of all into my life – my little Irish bambino – Brandon, Jr.  He looks absolutely nothing like his Italian and Lebanese relatives on his mom’s side, but when I look into his big blue eyes (those he did get from my ex-husband) I see the child who will always be a part of me and will be the best part of me that lives on, long after I’m gone.  I believe we live on in those we leave behind, but there is something about a grandchild that reinforces that for me.  I believe in the circle of life and that we never really leave those who loved and knew us because we are a part of them, forever.

Most celebrations last a day or week.  We see family, sing “Happy Birthday,” adhere to our religious or personal rituals, then move on to our day-to-day lives until the next celebration or holiday.  I was only a matter of time until the power of October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month was diminished by overload – burnt out because here we are again with no cure and people still dying. I might be looking in the wrong places, but I see much less pink this year than in year’s past. In reality, breast cancer exists every day of every month.  

In all those pinktobers, I never thought my life would be changed by one little man, born on a day that changed the meaning of a month for me and gave me a new reason to love October again.  As I celebrate my little man’s first birthday. I can now see this month for what it is for me.  I believe there are no coincidences in life.  Brandon’s birthday is October 27th and  I will be with him, other family and friends as we celebrate and watch him do the official first birthday “cake-smash.” There is one thing of which I am certain, however – there will be no pink balloons, pink cake, and his nonni (me) won’t be wearing a pink ribbon.  For me, October has finally become something more than a constant reminder that in spite of all the “feel good” pinktober vibes, breast cancer is still real and can be deadly.  It took a 10 lb. 4 oz. newborn to make me realize there is so much more to live for than waiting for the cure that may not come in time.  

Enjoy every second of the life you live and may the circle be unbroken!

Don’t Stop Believing!


May you realize that even in your darkest moments, something wonderful and amazing can happen that will change your life and remind you to never stop living for those rays of light that will take away the dark.

Paging Dr. Google

Published September 7, 2015 by Deb Ragosta

Do you remember when you discovered the internet?  For me, it was in the mid-1990’s.  I was working at a federal agency and voila – there it was – in all it’s Netscape glory.  For some reason, I discovered Yahoo and to this day, it is my search engine of choice (even though I do use the term “Google it.”)  Soon after I decided I needed to have my new-found power at home, so I became an AOL dial-up customer.  Between me and my daughter, we were on-line so much that no one could get a call through to us.  Remember busy signals?  My whole out-of-state family could have been trying to contact me to let me know someone was sick or worse, and I would have had no idea!  

It wasn’t long before I was searching the web for all sorts of things.  I was about five years out from my stage one diagnosis and the internet was like the wild, wild west.  WWW refers to the “world-wide web” but could have easily meant the “wild-wild web.”  A whole new industry was  born to create web sites and there were no (or few) regulations concerning the validity or truth of the information that was there for the reading.  Early-on, I found the Mayo Clinic and WebMD sites, but for every site that was reputable, there were dozens that touted false information, false cures and sadly – false hope.  

I was attending a breast cancer support group at the time and one woman brought in a stack of papers that included information on shark cartilage.  Her adult son had a computer and decided to help his mother by not only finding the information, but printing it out for her.  That stack was at least three inches thick and the group spent the entire meeting talking about shark cartilage.  In fact, one woman admitted she took it regularly and bought from a mail-order supplier in California.

Of course, that was then and this is now, but have things really changed?  Google “Metastatic Breast Cancer.”  I did and on the first page of results, 21 out of 34 were ads.  On the Yahoo search page, 11 out of 25 were ads with links to more ads. Do we – at any point regardless of the disease or illness, want to read ads as a way to get more information?  Even worse, however, do we want to make decisions, based on paid advertising hiding behind similar fonts and appearance, presenting the illusions they are reputable medical web sites with reality based information?  I realize the monstrosity that has become the internet must earn money for the developers (many of whom were millionaires before they finished college) and their companies but the internet has become the highway billboard of our time – always there, always on and always providing information.  I believe it preys on people who may not be as internet savvy as they should be and fall victim to inaccurate and/or biased information.  

Big pharma can afford to advertise their medications and they use the internet to push their latest and greatest FDA-approved drugs.  In their effort to sell their product, they often place the most important information about things like side effects, who qualifies for the drug and their clinical trial information concerning outcomes and efficacy to the very small print at the end of of the site.  

No one wants to be able to have an informed conversation with my oncologist more than me, but I learned a long time ago that the best way to do that is to find web sites that will give me unbiased and verified information, statistics based on that information (ideally clinical trials and research) and allows me to narrow my focus so I can make the most out of every oncologist appointment.  There are many, many drugs available for women and men with stage 4 breast cancer, but not every drug is beneficial to every patient and some drugs, although they may be used at some point in treatment, might not be the first or even second medication prescribed as we move along the “mets-mile.”  Although, the internet may be a tool I feel comfortable using, it’s not for everyone and many physicians discourage their patients from the self-diagnosis that can easily be made from reading and believing inaccurate information that is very easy to find on the Web.  My oncologist has told me many, many times over the years to stay off the internet and she still gets very flustered when I start my conversation with her by saying “according to Dr. Google…”  I’ve been with her a long time, and it’s become a bit of a joke between us – even though she is serious about me staying off the medical Web sites and even though we both know I won’t.

Even with all the wrong information on the Web, there are many reputable sites that can be very helpful to patients facing illness.  I found two sites that are excellent guides about what to look for and how to find reliable health information on the internet.  One, Finding Reliable Health Information Online is a Johns Hopkins’ site and can be found at tinyurl.com/qffjd4l. It has great suggestions, including links to other sites, including Reliable Health Information on The Internet: Cancer Supplement.  There is also a link to information for caregivers.  Another, Evaluating Health Information, from the National Institutes of Health’s Medline Plus health information tool can be found at tinyurl.com/n98lreb.  It also has links to great articles about how to use the internet for medical information.  

A simple guideline for finding and using medical information found on the internet is summed up in the following from Medline Plus:

“Millions of consumers get health information from magazines, TV or the Internet. Some of the information is reliable and up to date; some is not. How can you tell the good from the bad?

First, consider the source. If you use the Web, look for an “about us” page. Check to see who runs the site: Is it a branch of the government, a university, a health organization, a hospital or a business? Focus on quality. Does the site have an editorial board? Is the information reviewed before it is posted? Be skeptical. Things that sound too good to be true often are. You want current, unbiased information based on research.”

I believe as patients, we owe it to ourselves to be equal members of our medical team.  When used correctly, the internet can be a great way to help us be informed patients who can make educated decisions about our care.  Like anything else, however, there is the right way and the wrong way to use what we find.  Next time you search for medical advice from Dr. Google – just make sure he or she has a license to use the internet to practice medicine and give what could ultimately life-altering advice.  If you page Dr. Google and he or she calls you back – well, that’s another subject for another blog!

Don’t Stop Believing!


May you realize that even in your darkest moments, something wonderful and amazing can happen that will change your life and remind you to never stop living for those rays of light that will take away the dark.

The Lonely Road

Published August 19, 2015 by Deb Ragosta

This blog is dedicated to the memory of Susan Pagnini.  She fought the good fight and passed away on 9/6.  She traveled her lonely road with dignity and grace.  Rest in peace, Susan.  

I am a woman who is very open about having metastatic breast cancer.  I always have been and always will be.  The support I get from others matters to me and lifts me up every day.  Consequently, because I show no outward signs of being ill (especially because I’ve had no hair loss) people always comment about how great I look or what a great attitude I have.  I often get the cringe-worthy “you’ll be fine” comment that used to make me respond with my patented rant about the reality of having stage IV breast cancer.  (Although I didn’t, I wanted to scream “hey – I won’t be fine – I have a terminal disease!” ) Now, I use a gentler approach to educate those who make that comment, as I understand why people would assume I’ll be fine.  Many people actually believe there is a cure for breast cancer.  (Regardless of what you may think of “Koman for the Cure,” a huge downside to seeing the pink ribbon everywhere was that it unintentionally created the false impression to many that there is a cure for breast cancer.)  Often, they simply don’t realize  – being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer is a death sentence.  

I’ve learned, however that regardless of how open and sharing I am about being a woman living with  breast cancer, being that woman isn’t always easy.   For me (and for others, I suspect) having a terminal disease can put us on a very lonely road.  We may even put on the “happy face” as a sign of our strength.  Support groups (both on-line and traditional) and closed Facebook groups allow us to be ourselves without putting on that “happy face.”  I’ve known many women with stage IV breast cancer (mostly through the on-line sites) who are no longer with us.  After the initial shock, of being diagnosed, most are usually able to deal with the hills and valleys of living with metastatic breast cancer and this becomes evident through their posts.  Our lives settle into a pattern of medical appointments, scans and treatments – all intended to delay for as long as possible, the inevitable progression.  As the posters come to the end, however, they often release themselves of the “happy face” syndrome and free themselves of having to be strong for the people around them and also for themselves.  Throughout it all, however, there is no escaping reality and that reality, from beginning to end, puts us on a very lonely road.

I can be in a crowd of strangers, and feel alone.  I can be at a family gathering, and feel alone.  I can be getting dressed to start my day, and feel alone.  I can be having a great day, and feel alone.  I can be wearing my “happy face” and feel alone. Since my mets diagnosis in late 2009, I’ve  had moments of loneliness that have grabbed me and brought me to tears. Early on, I went to a social worker at my cancer center, but after one visit, I realized that regardless of her education and experience, she couldn’t help me because she really had no idea what I was talking about,  She had never traveled the same lonely road.  

When nothing helped, I decided that possibly, I could help myself by helping others.  I found a program, “Writing About Cancer” and was able to get a grant to cover the licensing fee.  The workshop is free to participants and is held at the cancer center at which I am treated.  It’s open to anyone with any type of cancer.  I do the assignments with the participants.  For those four, 2-hour sessions, I am able to hear others’ stories, share their and my written thoughts and always realize that regardless of the type of cancer, or the stage, we all travel the lonely road.  I’ve facilitated the workshop many times and have made friends with some of the participants.  A few have passed away and I feel honored to have known them and shared our life stories with each other.  

In the end, however, the road we travel as part of our life journey belongs only to us. While we like to think we control every aspect of every step on that road, there are always unexpected detours.  Some bring us joy and help make our lives happy beyond anything we could ever have imagined.  Some, however make us lose our way and forces us to stop until we figure out which direction will lead us to where we want to be.  For me, having metastatic breast cancer often takes away my ability to decide which road to take.  Whether I like it or not, whether I fight it with all my energy and common sense and even though I have the tools I need to control most of my life – I can’t control metastatic breast cancer.   It is that reality leaves me stuck in the mud of the lonely road.   

Don’t Stop Believing!


May you realize that even in your darkest moments, something wonderful and amazing can happen that will change your life and remind you to never stop living for those rays of light that will take away the dark.

My Mea Culpa

Published August 1, 2015 by Deb Ragosta

First, let me apologize for using statistics in my last post (The Cancer Words) that, although I got them from what many of us consider a reputable source, turned out to be questionable to one reader who took exception to them and the source from which they came.  One of her grievances was that bloggers need to be more careful about the statistical information we post.  I agree it’s wrong to perpetuate inaccurate information, but there is a wide variation in this particular statistic, and not only on the many breast cancer blogs.  The commenter is a physician with a recent history of breast cancer (although she did not indicate the stage of her initial diagnosis.)  She did write that none of her physicians agreed with the statistic in question.

The last thing I want to do with my blog is to share information that is or even may be incorrect, nor do I want my readers to feel the need to quote scientific journals in an effort to prove me wrong.  My blog is intended to be personal observations of my journey with metastatic breast cancer and reflections I’ve made during that journey.  I am not a clinician or scientist, never presented myself as either and will, in future blogs, refrain from using statistics.

For me, once I was diagnosed at stage IV, the statistic concerning how many people diagnosed with breast cancer who will be later restaged to stage IV stopped mattering.  I am a lifer and simply want to share my thoughts with those who choose to read my blog.  I do welcome your comments and will always approve every one (except for obvious spam) and make every effort to reply.  Should you want to read the comments I’ve referenced in this post and my responses to them, please check out the comments section and the end of The Cancer Words.   Thank you to all my followers!

Don’t Stop Believing!


May you realize that even in your darkest moments, something wonderful and amazing can happen that will change your life and remind you to never stop living for those rays of light that will take away the dark.

The Cancer Words

Published July 13, 2015 by Deb Ragosta

Ever since I was old enough to know what having cancer could mean, and well before my own 1990 diagnosis, there have been an assortment of what I call “the cancer words” that were and are used to describe cancer, a person’s status with it or an oncologist’s “real” opinion of a patient’s odds after telling his or her patient the most dreaded words of all – “you have cancer.”

My earliest recollection of a famous person openly talking about having cancer was the Hollywood legend, John Wayne, on the Tonight Show, talking about his lung cancer diagnosis.  Wayne’s image was that of a larger-than-life tough guy who had starred in many westerns – always as the hero and always surviving to live for and fight another day.  I wasn’t a fan of his movies, but what I remember about him was that he always referred to his disease as the “BIG C.”  John Wayne didn’t have cancer, he had the BIG C and surely, the big movie star would beat the hell out of that “C.”  In the end, regardless of what he called it, even John Wayne was no match for cancer and the disease took him in 1979.

Of course, our world is much different now than it was in the 1970s.  President Nixon’s 1971 “War on Cancer” was a hopeful moment in time that has long past.  In fact, some sponsors of the legislation predicted a cure by 1976. Today, the internet and social media have changed the way we get our information and how we use that information.  Oddly, however, the words we use when talking about cancer haven’t changed and still have different meanings under different circumstances to different people.  For me, the most glaring of these is the word “cure.”  As a woman with breast cancer, I’ve done my share of walking, talking and raising money “for the cure.”  Although I know differently now, prior to my stage 4 diagnosis, I actually thought there was a cure for breast cancer.  After all – what was done with all that money raised?  I wasn’t alone in my ignorance.  Following my diagnosis, and my realization there was no cure for my disease, I engaged in a Facebook argument with a friend of a friend who posted that there was definitely a cure for breast cancer because one of her friends was diagnosed, took a pill for a few years and now she is cured.  As angry as that made me, I had to admit (to myself, at least) that I had the same misunderstanding of the how the word “cure” is used when referring to different cancers.  The reality is that, according to information provided by the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network, 20% to 30% of patients diagnosed at an earlier breast cancer stage eventually move on to stage 4.  Does that mean the other 70 to 80% are cured, or do they simply die from something other than cancer before the cancer resurfaces?   There is no time limit on making the jump to stage 4.  Up to ten percent are diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer from the get-go and others can live 20 or more years after their stage 1 diagnosis before they become one of the lifers.  Still, the word “cure” is tossed around by oncologists and medical teams, unintentionally giving many what turns out to be false hope.

Are you in “remission?” is a question I get asked often.  I guess because I have my hair and look healthy, people who know I have metastatic breast cancer assume I must be in remission.  Many people don’t know that stage 4 is terminal and they think being in remission is a good thing because they equate it with being cured.  Remission is a word used frequently in the medical community, especially as the word “cure” slowly falls out of favor because it doesn’t accurately reflect most patients’ relationships with their cancers.  According to WebMD, there are two types of remission – partial and complete.

“Partial remission means the cancer is still there, but your tumor has gotten smaller. . .  Some doctors tell patients to think of their cancer as “chronic,” like heart disease. It’s something you will need to continue to check. If you’re in partial remission, it may mean you can take a break from treatment as long as the cancer doesn’t begin to grow again.  Complete remission means that tests, physical exams, and scans show that all signs of your cancer are gone. Some doctors also refer to complete remission as “no evidence of disease (NED).” That doesn’t mean you are cured.

For us in the metastatic breast cancer community, being told we are “NED” is like getting manna from heaven.  We know cancer is still in our bodies, but our scans and tumor markers are normal, therefore, we can “dance with NED.”  We may never hear what we really want to hear (“you are cured”) but as long as we are NED, we are as close to being cured as we will ever be.  The hardest part is explaining to others that just because there is no evidence of cancer, it doesn’t mean it’s not there.

There are many words used when talking about cancer.  Some have changed since Nixon’s War on Cancer, but regardless of the words we use, it’s not the words that are the message.  The way cancer is treated has come a long way and more people with cancer are living longer lives.  In spite of new medications and protocols – cancer is still a killer, and that should be the message.  What has changed, is that we aren’t afraid to say the words that are part of every cancer patient’s dictionary.  However, we can’t begin to come to terms with the reality of our own cancer until we can understand the true meaning of the cancer words.

Don’t Stop Believing!


May you realize that even in your darkest moments, something wonderful and amazing can happen that will change your life and remind you to never stop living for those rays of light that will take away the dark.

Finding the Support We Need

Published June 22, 2015 by Deb Ragosta

Very few of us can go through life without some sort of support system.  Whether we are dealing with metastatic breast cancer, other diseases, divorces, substance abuse, raising our children or just living one day to the next, having support can be the difference between struggling and flourishing.  We are responsible for ourselves, but we are human and sometimes need others to help us deal with whatever it is we are experiencing.  For some, acknowledging the need for support would somehow leave them feeling embarrassed and diminished.  For others, embracing support is one of the ways they get through rough patches in life.  Some of us have amazing family and friends who offer us the support we need, when we need it – often without our asking for it, but just because they know we need it.  For others, there is no one who can give them support – often because those who are the closest to them may not be the ones who can offer the best support because they are too close to the situation and their support is wrapped in their own emotional connection.  Sometimes, it’s just easier to share with (and accept support from) strangers because they hear what we want them to hear without the “noise” of relationships, connected experiences (both positive and negative) or other extraneous perceptions.

After I was first diagnosed at stage 1 in 1990, I attended a local breast cancer support group for almost 5 years.  It was a very active group, facilitated by an oncology nurse and/or social worker.  It met monthly and it was rare for there to be less than 20 women in attendance.  Some women came once or twice and never returned.  Others came regularly every month.  Along the way, we lost women who had become our friends.  Even now, all these years later, I remember the middle-aged Loretta, who had 15 malignant  lymph nodes at her original diagnosis and was sailing along until, years later, the cancer spread and was aggressive.  She passed away shortly thereafter.  I remember Amy, who found a lump when she was pregnant.  Her physician dismissed it as benign tissue caused by the hormonal changes of pregnancy.  When she finally had a biopsy, the cancer had spread throughout her body.  Her child was five when she passed.  Both she and Loretta came to the group for support, but gave us so much more support than we could ever give them.  Each faced the reality of her diagnosis with grace and dignity that lifted me and inspired me to be a woman who would never be defined by breast cancer.  Their stories were powerful reminders to me that not every woman (or man) gets diagnosed at stage 1, and not everyone has treatment and walks away to live and enjoy the rest of her or his life as a breast cancer survivor.

Today, support groups have shifted (like most things in our world) to virtual, or on-line formats.  The internet allows us to be more informed and has given us the ability to gain as much knowledge as we chose to have at any point from pre-diagnosis through treatment and beyond.  There are statistics to scare us and statistics to reassure us.  The more advanced our cancer, the scarier the statistics.  “In-person” support groups exist, but many have fewer and fewer attendees as more cancer patients turn to the internet.   Prior to having the internet, many people attended support groups to get information about their disease,  Today, of course, the internet provides that information instantly, just for the asking (or Googling.)  The latest incarnation of the support group involves “calling in” and participating via phone and/or a venue such as Skype.  Although the way we get our information continues to change, I still believe in the power of traditional groups because seeing and hearing how others deal with their issues can’t be totally replaced by simply reading posts or connecting to a person on the other side of a computer screen.  Emotions are best shared and understood with a caring look, touch or hug – all possible only in the physical presence of others.

Little did I know when I was first diagnosed that my choice to attend a support group would give me so many coping tools that I use every day as a woman now living with metastatic breast cancer.  Thank you Loretta, Amy and every woman I met during those early days of my breast cancer journey.  You still support this “lifer” in ways I cannot even begin to thank you for.

Don’t Stop Believing!


May you realize that even in your darkest moments, something wonderful and amazing can happen that will change your life and remind you to never stop living for those rays of light that will take away the dark.

Don’t Forget BC Mets!

Published May 20, 2015 by Deb Ragosta

I was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer in 1990.  I was 35 and my only child was in kindergarten.  I wanted to see her grow up – go to proms, graduate from high school and college, meet the love of her life and dance at her wedding.  In 2009, out of nowhere and totally unexpected, an x-ray for a back injury revealed the breast cancer had metastasized to my bones.  In the time it took for my PCP to call me with the news, one part of my journey ended while another began.  As part of my coming to terms with this new chapter in my life, I started this blog.  While my intentions were good, my last entry was made in 2012 – shortly before my daughter’s wedding at which, of course, I danced, danced and danced some more – the last on my original wish list of things I wanted to live long enough to see or do.

Although I let the blog fall by the wayside, the fact I’ve continued paying to keep the Web site supports my theory that subconsciously, I knew I would resurrect it someday.   That day is here.  My daughter and son-in-law became parents in October and I’m now the nonni of my precious grandson, Brandon, Jr.  I take great joy in my belief that life really is like a circle and I am part of a circle that now has another piece.  The fact that part of me will live on in my daughter and in my grandson gives me great comfort and peace as I walk this journey with metastatic breast cancer.  I like to think we become stars in the sky – shining forever through those we leave behind.

I’ve done a lot of thinking in the past 5 ½ years – not only about having stage 4 breast cancer, but of how I can best advocate for and teach others about the disease.  I was as ignorant as many others thinking all those walks and buying everything from yogurt to cars for the “cure” surely meant there was a cure.  The reality is the dirty little secret of all that pink and fundraising is that shockingly little of the money raised actually goes to research to cure stage 4 breast cancer and that despite over 25 years of “pinktobers,” there are still more than 40,000 women and men dying from breast cancer in the U.S. every year.  That number has not changed considerably since breast cancer became the cause du jour.

I belong to an on-line support group for women and men (although no men post) with stage 4 breast cancer.  I can’t even count how many women have died since I joined the group in 2010.  Women of all ages – young and old, many with small children, many with adult children and grandchildren, many married, many single.  Metastatic breast cancer does not discriminate.  As sad as many of the posts are, the truly heartbreaking ones are those written by women who are saying goodbye to the group.  They are at the end of their journeys and write one last post – usually to thank the group for its virtual support and to say goodbye.  Some believe in heaven or some sort of after-life and tell us they will see us on the other side.  Some don’t believe there is more and their good-byes are achingly sad and so, so final.  In the end, many are simply done with the job of working at staying ahead of the demon we cannot catch, let alone beat.  They fought the good fight and are done – in a way, freeing themselves to let go.  I think the shock of knowing there is nothing else to try comes as a relief to some who cannot imagine having to try one more treatment – complete with side effects that are often worse than they ever imagined.  They are not giving up.  They are just giving in to the reality of metastatic breast cancer – the fate that is inescapable.

Recently, tweets such as #MetsMonday and #DontIgnoreStageIV have been tweeted  to help get the word out to the Twittosphere that metastatic breast cancer is real, is terminal and still affects up to 30% of women and men originally diagnosed at an earlier stage.  It needs to be addressed with awareness and most importantly – funding for research.   I am new to the world of Twitter, but I’ve come up with another tweet, #DontForgetBCMets, so on Mondays, I will tweet #DontForgetBCMets.  Please help me spread the word, remember my metsisters and brothers for whom the journey has ended and honor those who walk each day like it’s the best day of their life – regardless of what may come tomorrow.

Don’t Stop Believing!


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