Butterflies Are Free

| October 13, 2013 | 0 Comments

Yes­ter­day,  my friend, Sheryl, passed away from metasta­tic breast can­cer.  She was mar­ried and had two chil­dren.  Her youngest was eight years old.

In and out of the hos­pi­tal became the norm for my friend and her fam­ily.   Even though my friend looked gaunt, most days she wore makeup includ­ing eye­liner and donned a hat.   She did her best to main­tain a pos­i­tive atti­tude and to smile.  She was keenly aware that her eight year old was absorb­ing her mother’s breast can­cer journey.

Most peo­ple with metasta­tic breast can­cer live a shorter life span.  Even­tu­ally the dis­ease catches up with you, takes over and sucks the life right out of you.  Shock­ingly, a very small per­cent­age (esti­mated at less than 5%) is spent on study­ing the process of metas­ta­sis and why and how can­cer spreads, even though metas­ta­sis is what causes breast can­cer to become a deadly dis­ease.  The big ques­tion becomes why are we allo­cat­ing so lit­tle to research this stage of the illness?

Sun­day, Octo­ber 13, marks National Metasta­tic Breast Can­cer Day.  Depend­ing on the par­a­digm you use, some argue that it is about time those with metasta­tic breast can­cer are rec­og­nized.  I would agree, this is long over­due.  On the other hand, are we only going to acknowl­edge these peo­ple one day a year?  Is this too lit­tle too late?

Our soci­ety needs to aware of the plight of those with metasta­tic breast can­cer.  Their jour­ney is a tur­bu­lent one.   Many spend the rest of their life on chemother­apy and will remain bald.  A good day is mea­sured by mak­ing it to the next day.

There is noth­ing hope­ful nor promis­ing for some­one with this diag­no­sis.  Many patients with this stage of the dis­ease have dis­dain for the color pink and what it rep­re­sents — hope, promise for a bright future, and becom­ing can­cer free.  In my esti­ma­tion, these are the true breast can­cer war­riors.  For they have valiantly fought the good fight, right up to the bit­ter end.

My friend’s fam­ily believes Sheryl is at peace.  One of the last things she men­tioned to her fam­ily was, “Every time you see a but­ter­fly, know that’s me.”  What a fit­ting remem­brance for a lovely soul.

In the world of breast can­cer, every day some­one is diag­nosed and some­one  dies.  If we can bring pre­ven­tion and cure together, we can elim­i­nate need­less suf­fer­ing.  It is a col­lab­o­ra­tive effort and one that the National Breast Can­cer Coali­tion is work­ing hard to accomplish.

In the interim, let us turn our aware­ness to those with metasta­tic breast can­cer.  Being aware means being involved and supportive.

My prayer for those with metasta­tic breast can­cer includes the fol­low­ing poem:

May the sun bring you energy by day.

May the moon softly restore you by night.

May the rain wash away your worries.

May the breeze blow new strength into your being.

May you walk gen­tly through the world
and know its beauty all the days of your life.”

- Apache Blessing

Category: Breast Cancer Wellness

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