Metastatic Breast Cancer

I wrote this piece on Metastatic Breast Cancer when my aunt, Lena, was recovering from breast cancer. She passed away about a month ago. Reading this piece back I remember how strong she was and how much bravery and strength I learned from her. This passed weekend, I went to her house in Mt. Pocono and tried on her clothes. She was very petite like me and loved to wear beauty as if it was a feather, light. White hats, thin t-shirts, silk, lace. She shone down light. I sit here writing in her rainbow turtleneck, she brought me joy. My father told me, no one ever leaves us if we keep their memory alive. I will hang her large white hat on my wall, I will think about the days at Emerald Lake, how we laughed in the light sun while I played with her hair. 

я люблю тебя лена. 

Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day

A lot of women like myself fear the words ‘breast cancer.’ It feels like an unknown, knowing there are stages and knowing I have women in my family and in my girlfriends family who fought it was the extent of my knowledge. I spoke with my girlfriend’s mother on the phone last night and I brought up the words ‘metastatic breast cancer’ to her, asking her of its meaning beyond the one I already knew. She told me that it is aligned with having stage IV and it used to be untreatable. This breast cancer spreads to another part of the body. It can spread to your lungs, brain, liver or bones. It made me fearful reading about it and hearing about it. 

Although metastatic breast cancer means that the cancer cells have spread to another part of the body, it is still treated as breast cancer would be. I read a study from 2011 that said that 1 in 4 women with stage IV breast cancer do not live longer than 26 months after the diagnosis. Now, eight years after this study, women can live the rest of their lives in remission following the proper regimens to keep the cancer cells inactive. 

My great aunt is living with metastatic breast cancer. Lena is a beautiful being who has always been a role model for me whether it be in baking or in how she carries herself. She has been in and out of the hospital the past few months but I know how hard she’s pushing. Women are incredibly strong beings, almost constantly fighting for what they deserve in their lives. Breast cancer is just another thing that they might have to battle and they put their full force into it. 

On metastatic breast cancer awareness day today, let’s just focus a little longer and a little harder on our female role models, think of our big love for them and their big hearts. 

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