August 20, 2013

Happy metsiversary to me!

Today is the eleventh anniversary of my dance with advanced cancer. Eleven years ago today, August 20, 2002, I got the news that my cancer had returned and I broke my left femur, which was riddled with metastases. Read all about it here.

In these eleven years, I have been on many medications. I've had multiple side effects. My cancer has been stable, has grown, and has been stable again. Right now it's stable on Xeloda and a combination of other drugs, thanks to the brilliance of my oncologist, Dr G (yes, he is the smartest man in the world), and to my indolent (i.e. lazy), slow-growing cancer.

I've lost so many friends to cancer over these eleven years and longer. Some I knew well and were particularly dear to my heart (oh how I miss Charisse, Emily, Josh, Dena, Sirron, Stephanie). Others I met through support groups or as mentorees through Sharsheret and Young Survival Coalition or were referred by friends. Each death was a loss to me. How can I not have survivors' guilt after losing so many, especially young, people?

And yet, here I am -- kind of an Energizer Bunny of metastatic breast cancer. I just keep ticking along. I now have brain mets, bone mets, and liver mets. Each new diagnosis whirled me yet again on the cancer merry-go-round.

But whether I am riding up and down on a merry-go-round pony or sitting on a bench, I am still a "glass half-full" person. That natural optimism helps me cope with the pony's ups and downs. I think I live a better, more fulfilling life because my glass seems always half full. At least it's easier to cope this way.

And to you to whom I may seem like Pollyanna, you've also read about my hard times here on this blog. To those who see me in public and think I look so well, it's because when I feel poorly, I don't go out. Some days I only move from the sofa to the bathroom and back again. Rik cares for me, Bobka the dog cuddles with me, I eat a piece of chocolate and am thankful that my life does go on.

So today is the one day I might give cancer a big, wet Bronx cheer, otherwise known as a "raspberry." And we will celebrate with good friends, delicious food, and my personal four food groups -- chocolate, champagne, whipped cream and potato chips (I never met a fried potato I didn't like).

To all my doctors and nurses, to the health care assistants who cheerfully welcome me and treat me like a real person and not a diagnosis -- thank you. This dance with cancer is a partnership among us all.

Here's to living with cancer!

14 comments:

  1. Congratulations on 11 years and wishing for at least another 11 more for you!

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  2. Congratulations, Jill, on this monumental milestone!

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  3. Anonymous8:04 PM

    Congratulations!!

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  4. Suzy Z.9:21 PM

    Beautifully written. Can't wait to see you.

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  5. Congratulations on your metsiversary, you're an example to many stage IV patients (including myself!)

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  6. Anonymous10:46 AM

    Beautifully written like all your posts.I have been reading your blog for the last 4 years.
    Being myself Stage 4 with bone and liver mets, I admire your strength.
    Wishing you many more mets anniversaries.
    K.

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  7. Congratulations on each day and week and month and year. YOU are an inspiration to me. ~Catherine

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  8. Congrats on the milestone! You inspire an awful lot of people. You really do. Including me. And I love your personal four food groups you chose for celebrating purposes!

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  9. bjohanna7:17 PM

    Love you.

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  10. Barb Bristow10:38 AM

    Jill, thank you for sharing with all of us. You give me strength to keep going on this mets merry go round! Congratulations and I wish for many more years for you! Barb

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  11. Only 4 years out with MBC, I love that you are still kicking, sometimes slower then other times, but you give me hope I will still have many more kicking years myself. So glad I have found you!!!

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  12. You are inspiring; love your passion towards everything you do. Love keeping up with your blog. Thank you.

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  13. I have found myself inspired and optimistic reading your blog. My twin sister is battling Mets and you have given me hope. Best wishes to you and thank you for sharing your life with us!

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  14. very inspiring, thanx for sharing

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I dance with cancer. Oy!