August 27, 2001
Stage IV Breast Cancer
Life looks so much different angry - angry at the lack of funding and attention given to breast cancer. We need that anger. We have the spark, we need a raging fire. This morning I was writing and thinking - when I was at stage 2, I was up to my eyeballs just trying to get through the diagnosis, the surgery and the treatments and still somehow continue to live my normal life of dealing with my children, family, friends, work. Then came the relief, it was over. I finished treatments. I was NED. I was able to take that hope and get on with the business of living my life, blue skies, smooth sailing with the occasional gusts of wind to knock me off course.
And you stop breathing for a minute as you hear those words, it is back. And you start all over again, digging up the hope, finding the drive, gathering your strength as you begin another round with the beast. A little less hopeful, a little more drained, a lot more realistic.
When you get to stage IV, you get to anger. I was angry before but now the anger is so much deeper. Why isn't someone doing something about this? Why aren't I doing fighting, yelling, advocating for my own cause. Never mind all the other women with this disease. Why didn't I do it for me? For my family? Where was my head?
I guess, in my round about, lengthy way I am asking you to take some of your energy, your strength and make your voice heard. We need you to want a cure so badly that you will not shut up, put up or move on without seeing what lies ahead. Every year, more and more women are being diagnosed, every year more and more women are dying from breast cancer.
We are not winning the war on cancer but the public moves on, and does not see this side of the fence.
It is not pretty.
We are losing.
People who have no family history, people who eat right and exercise, people who go for regular mammograms and check ups.
It doesn't care about the color of your skin, your gender, your age, your socio-economic status.
It just happens, more and more. Answers come about too slowly. We need to fast forward. Awareness months paint pretty pictures that allow people to believe we have pretty much cured breast cancer. Catch it early, move on. I come to you today to tell you, there is no Stage V, I don't have time, I need you to not want to see stage IV- so badly that you will help yourself, and me.
Don't think that you have to be a scholar or a dazzling speaker to get your point across. There are many ways. Put your heads together. Be one voice.
We race, we buy stamps- it's not enough. - What are we missing?
I love you and pray every day for each and every one of you. It's not enough. All the love, all the prayers weren't enough.
September 25, 2000