Time is valuable
How many of us have gone through life not noticing the passing of time? Yes, it is marked by birthdays and anniversaries, but do you really notice each day, or do they merge into a largely faceless past?
The diagnosis of Metastatic Breast Cancer triggers the response that I don’t have time. But how much time does each of us need? Is there ever enough time? Surely it is what we do with time and not how much we have of it? Why are we programmed with this Pavlovian response to having ‘incurable’ cancer? Because we are given a false sense of hopelessness by the medical profession and the media. When did you last read about someone with mets without the use of terms like heroic, brave, inspiring, battling … what about the fact that this is simply a fact of life, with the emphasis on life? Why is the emphasis put on life after breast cancer for those with Early Stage BC? Where is the emphasis on life with breast cancer for those of us with MBC?
If only there was some way that the knowledge that we have a future, that we have ‘time’ could be given to everyone on diagnosis. We have all wasted too much, and allowed the beast to take too much from us with the false hopelessness that we are pre-programmed to believe in. Mainstream BC non-profits contribute to this sense of hopelessness by only seeing early stagers as ‘surviving’. Our life ‘after’ a mets dx may not be the same as the one that early stagers can expect but it is a reality. This is what needs to be communicated so we don’t waste what time we do have. I have come to realise that this life is far more valuable than the ordinary life that people wander through with their eyes closed.
The concept that there is life with MBC must be given to patient’s at diagnosis. The stress can never be completely taken away but the impact can be lessened by this information. It is not only a matter of how long do I have, but what quality I can create in my life in the future that I do have.
Quite how this is achieved, I’m not sure. But I do think that the whole breast cancer community, health care professionals and non-profits, has to stop thinking of us as an anomaly, a form of failure, as some form of non-entity. We do exist, we are alive so wake up and take notice and DO something to help us live with Metastatic Breast Cancer.