I finally saw the movie ‘Gravity’ recently with Sandra Bollack and George Clooney. It’s been in our DVR que since October, but obviously other things took precedence. I was fascinated that a movie with what seemed like a limited scope and tiny cast could have so much action and found that it lingered in my ‘thought playlist’ for awhile. One of the things that has stuck with me, has been the tethers used in outer space so that the astronauts could go about their daily business and basically stay alive. There were the tethers that kept Sandra attached to the space ship (her life source), the tether that George Clooney attached to Sandra (and then cut) and the parachute tethers (that got in the way of her smaller craft being able to get out of harms way). All of these tethers were significant to the storyline.
Last weekend, Marie at Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer included my recent piece on Loving Me Some Winter! in her Weekly Round Up and as usual I was pleased, but it wasn’t really a big deal in the bigger picture of my life, right? Not quite. While I composed 100 posts in the first 14 months of this blog, I have only posted 25 in the past 14 months. Besides not blogging much these last months, I have not been following other breast cancer blogs like I did originally. There have been too many posts that I have written in my head, but never composed and too many posts written by my blogging friends that I have missed. However, one of the things I realized with my being included in JBBC’s Weekly Round Up is that I am tethered to the breast cancer community with a bungie-like cord, where I can get pulled back in without much fanfare, even though I might have gone a time where I was MIA.
I’m tethered to this blog like I am tethered to my journal. I have kept a diary or journal for almost 40 years and while I have gone through times where my entries are minimal or non-existent, I have always come back. Having a journal on tether is extremely important to me. It helps me sort out my thoughts, vent frustration and keep a record of my life. It is also very theraputic. But it is for my eyes only. I don’t think anyone, besides myself, has looked at my diaries or journals since my sister got nosey when we were kids and this is a good thing. However, there is a caveat to keeping my journals private–it is time sensitive. While I don’t want anyone reading recent journals, I don’t mind sharing old ones and when I die, I don’t need them burned. They are a historical record.
My blog, on the other hand, allows me to sort out my thoughts, vent frustration and keep a record of my life, but it is theraputic because it is shared. It isn’t only a conversation with myself, but with others and the sense of community is really special. It reminds me of how important letters were when I was a Peace Corps Volunteer (Peace Corps is celebrating its 54th anniversary this week!!!!!)–both the act of writing letters home and receiving letters in country. Blogging is an opportunity to give and receive support while sorting through this thing called life.
One of the groups that I am tethered to and support in the blogosphere is made up of women who have Stage IV or metastatic breast cancer–the deadly kind. Today, an amazing woman, Beth Fairchild, who has mets, is inviting everyone to a Pink Out Monday. That’s right, pink out. Where instead of supporting the pink machine, we educate and raise awareness to drive support and research funding towards women (and men) who have Stage IV breast cancer. As AnneMarie at Chemobrain…In the Fog says,
No matter where you spend your social media time, the goal is to get people talking about the only breast cancer that kills. Metastatic breast cancer. To get the facts out regarding the reality of the disease and the lack of of funding for research that will save the lives of those living with metastatic breast cancer. Their stories are the ones that sully the pink ribbon feel good stories. And their outcome hasn’t budged since forever.
If you know someone who has died from breast cancer, they died from metastatic breast cancer. Metastatic breast cancer, or stage 4 breast cancer, is the spread of breast cancer to non-adjacent parts of the body — most commonly to the bones, liver, lungs and/or brain. Many effective breast cancer treatments exist, but if the cancer metastasizes and spreads outside of the breast, there is no cure.
100% of breast cancer deaths occur because of metastasis, and almost 100% of people whose breast cancer has metastasized will die from it. In the United States alone, this means that more than 40,000 vibrant lives are lost each year.
Despite these stark realities, the popular breast cancer fundraising movements give on average only 2% of their research funds to researching metastasis. Instead, their primary focus is on prevention, which does nothing to help those already diagnosed, and early detection, which does not impact those facing the ultimate death sentence of stage 4 breast cancer. And while only 6% – 10% of initial breast cancer diagnoses are metastatic, 30% of patients diagnosed with earlier stage breast cancer will eventually develop stage 4 breast cancer and die.
This does not need to happen. Many metastasis researchers believe that metastatic breast cancer could become a chronic, rather than terminal, disease, if only there were more money to do the research necessary to develop effective treatments. As such, METAvivor has launched a nationwide effort to raise awareness about metastatic breast cancer, with a push to dedicate 30% of all breast cancer research funds toward the metastatic breast cancer that 30% of patients will ultimately face.
Please join this critical effort. We currently have regional teams throughout the US, volunteers in Canada, and are connecting with individuals or groups in other countries, where we plan to establish similar programs in 2014. Patients, family members, caregivers, friends, and others who support our cause are welcome. Give us your talents, your passion, and whatever time you have to spare. Become part of the movement to give MBC the recognition necessary to find the solutions that will save the lives of countless women and men worldwide.