After writing last week’s positive blog, I hit the send button and burst into tears. Not just a little, more like flood gates had opened.
Although I try to stay positive and upbeat, there is so much pent-up fear inside a cancer patient. I have felt 100 percent well for the month of August, but I knew I would be back to Los Angeles for a blood test that would determine whether or not I will begin another chemo regimen.
Yesterday, the test results were supposed to be back. It looks like the results won't be here until this afternoon, so I am not able to tell you the verdict until next week. I admit, I am riddled with anxiety.
What most people do not realize is that there is a huge difference between being diagnosed with cancer at one body site and metastatic cancer. Most cancers are not metastatic when they first appear, so a patient usually undergoes chemotherapy for four to six months and hopefully, that's it--they're done. But when a cancer becomes metastatic, which is to say it has moved to another part of the body, it is a whole new, very serious ball game.
My cancer has moved to my bones and my liver. This means the cancer is in my blood stream. It is incurable. I will be in treatment for the rest of my life.
Thirty percent of breast cancers become metastatic (Stage 4) at some time. You thought cancer was a hard nut to crack, but metastatic cancer, let's just say that it is so mind-boggling that researchers for years did nothing to even study it. We were all sent to limbo to wait out our time. It is only recently that this has changed.
The Noreen Fraser Foundation granted research funds to UCLA to study metastatic breast cancer. Why does one cancer move to another part of the body? How does it get loose into the blood stream and attach itself to another organ? This is the mother lode question in the world of cancer.
If we can block the pathway that allows this travel, countless lives would be saved. Those whose cancer is diagnosed early (Stage 1) have a significant chance that their cancer will never return.
But for me, it is what it is. I will take the news like a warrior (after I allow myself to feel the sadness and disappointment, or maybe the sheer joy and gratitude if the Tamoxifen is working.)
I am on a journey. Not one of my choice, but a journey nevertheless. Uncertainty is built into this journey but it is not without joy. I have my children, husband, family and the best friends any one could ask for. I also live with the joy of knowing that the money I raise will save lives. For that I am grateful.
Noreen Fraser is living with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. She is the Founder and CEO of the Noreen Fraser Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to funding groundbreaking women's cancer research. To stay in touch with Noreen, please 'LIKE' The Noreen Fraser Foundation on Facebook and follow her on Twitter. Noreen can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.