So You’re Saying There’s a Chance
A Note From the Editor
One night this spring I was bent over in pain, my back throbbing after high-intensity radiation to my spine. Exactly 24 hours later I was cheerfully talking with longtime survivor Anne, sipping on wine as birds chirped outside my screened-in porch.
That is the nature of our illness. The highs and lows can be dizzying. I don’t think cancer is a blessing, and I wouldn’t wish our illness on anyone. That said, not everyone can feel the pure exhilaration of finally feeling better after the staggering pain of having one’s spine radiated.
I myself was only diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer four years ago at age 35 (and early stage cancer five year prior to that). For newly diagnosed patients, I cannot provide the comfort of having years of post-MBC living under my belt, though I did have a nice four-year run before experiencing my first reoccurrence recently. This is why I have included amazing stories of long-time survivors like Anne on this site.
What I can tell you though is that I’ve found myself in the depths of despair at least 100 times, and I’ve pulled myself out of it 101 times more. I tell you this because there is hope. I can promise you that when you’re at your lowest, and it doesn’t seem possible, things may take a turn for the better. You can’t know that’s true, but don’t discount it.
And while we can’t know how long our journey will last, I’ve already spoken to 10 women who’ve lived for more than 10 years since their MBC diagnosis (some of them 15 to 20 years), and I still have many interviews to conduct. For those who are newly diagnosed and see only terrifying statistics—know those are outdated, but even if they weren’t, each of us is very much an individual who should be looked at as such.
And these women show you there is HOPE. We learn to live with uncertainty magnified 100-fold by living with our illness in the current world climate. But there is also beauty and promise.
When longtime survivor Heather Jose (a 22-year MBC survivor) and I first chatted (see her story here), we found that we’d both turned to a much-quoted Dumb and Dumber scene to express our feeling about metastatic breast cancer: Lloyd asks his beautiful, unattainable crush if he has a chance with her. When she responds that he has a “one in a million” chance, he pauses briefly and says, “So you’re telling me there’s a chance!” Yes, there’s a chance. I hope this site shows you this is true. And it’s a heck of a lot better than 1 out of a million.
In solidarity and love,
Lindsey Elizabeth Gerdes
Founding Editor, The Metastatic Life