Good morning, Everyone. Coffee smells really good on this crisp morning. It is suddenly autumn and we had been drenched this past week. Lawn mowing may have to wait another day. The garden is petering out. The tomatoes seem to be done. Not even a hopeful green tomato hang from a spindly vine. The peppers and eggplant are giving it one last try though. Matt will soon be pickling peppers and stuffing them with provolone cheese and prosciutto.
If we were having a cup of coffee this morning I will remind you that the Pink-tober season is upon us. The breast cancer runs, rallies and merchandise are dressed in pretty pink to gain your attention and money. Before I go on my rant, I will urge all of you gals of a certain age and family histories, and men with wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters of the same certain age and family histories to schedule that mammography and/or sonogram. No one likes the boob vise grip procedure, but it is way better than battling a beast that could destroy who you are and those you love. So if the pink breast cancer awareness campaigns, screening programs, tee shirts, and pretzels get your attention and motivate you to take care of yourself and help others, then great–mission accomplished. Most of these programs fund breast cancer prevention and early detection.
However, there are a couple uncomfortable truths. The breasts are not vital organs. When cancer moves on from the breast to the bones and/or organs, then the metastasized cancer is armed to invade and destroy until death. Metastatic breast cancer, the final Stage IV breast cancer, is a forever condition. Metastatic breast cancer kills our wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends. About 10% of breast cancers are diagnosed at Stage IV, despite the screening guidelines and vigilance. An estimated 30% of early-stage breast cancer survivors suffer a metastatic reoccurrence, despite the surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy, healthy attitudes, and prayers.
A comfortable truth is that metastatic breast cancer treatment is better today than just 10 years ago thanks to the medical strides and research. I am living proof. I do not have an expiration date. I am able to live in my every day with manageable side effects and minimal intrusion. But it is still there haunting me and My Everyone. I know that the floor could drop out at any time when the damn cells figure out a mutation.
Metatastic breast cancer needs to be cured. That takes attention and money. When you give, run, wear, and eat the pink, know that the monetary efforts and attention should go towards the research for the cure. There are several organizations that are focused on funding the important work. I trust my money to METAvivor, and the Susan G. Komen organizations.
Just to be clear, in my experience, science may be saving my life, but it is the healthy attitudes, healing prayers, and embracing love that sustain me.
OK, rant over. It’s a beautiful day and weekend ahead. I’m getting out there.
Be well, My Everyone. Have a good weekend and week. Make it great.
Antoinette Truglio Martin is the author of Hug Everyone You Know: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer. The memoir is a wimpy patient’s journey through her first year of breast cancer treatment.