I am a 49 year old woman diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic cancer diagnosed in 2013 the first time. I was always a stage 4 from the beginning. The cancer was in my breast, lungs and liver at first. I had IV chemo, 7 surgeries, oral chemo and radiation therapy. I went for a time through a short remission until June 2016 when my cancer had spread system-wide. I have ER/PR positive HERS-2 negative cancer which is the most insidious of cancers because it like to break off and travel to my entire body. 2% of women who have cancer have this type of cancer. The original cancer was breast but it morphed and exploded. So the choice to have the left breast and lymph nodes where not a factor in my treatment to worry about.
When I came out of remission, I did whole brain radiation treatment, Infusion chemo, and oral chemo.
When I was having brain treatments, I was told at the time that I would have maybe inside a year left. I was then given the option of stopping all meds and coming to terms to my demise and then given the number of Hospice. They wrote me off. No options. I felt intense anger and decided to go back to my original Oncologist from 2013. I found out on Thursday from the one health system, then called my original doctor for an assessment and talk about my options and if I had any. When I had my appointment the next day, he asked what I thought and was I ok with it. I asked him honestly if I had any choices I could make and what a course for me could be. At that moment I had to fight. I asked him all about treatments current and up-coming that may work. I also asked him if I could live with chronic cancer as if I diabetes or MS. He told me I could enjoy survival if I did my meds, treatments, stayed on top of my symptoms, and made my cancer journey my new job.
One thing that I am so grateful about is finding my person who never made the choices for me, told me the truth and finding a doctor who I trusted without hesitation.
This journey is very hard on families and destroy them. Spouses leave, emotionally abandon the patient, or just check out. I have many stories of women divorcing and detangling because of the stress. Fortunately, this was not in my case. My husband became my care-taker, mentor, support system, and champion.
This is all hard for a spouse, but can you image a 15 year son who most of his life had a chronically ill parent. I am amazed by his resilience and stamina. Every day I worry about how my son is coping, but I have allow him to handle best for himself. I can only support, love, be present and give each day the best and intense way I know how.
The daily life of a stage 4 metastatic is tiring, stressful and a balance act. You have tests, labs, x-rays, appointments several times a week, several doctors for all your ailments, side-effects, and whims. I had 19 doctors all at the same time and conflicting opinions at times. I finally said enough is enough and went back to the doctor that I should have never left in the first place.