Dear Metastatic Breast Cancer, Please Just Leave Me Alone

I wrote this letter to metastatic breast cancer (MBC) in light of its recent return. My last MRI shows progression — there are three new tumors in my brain. I will have radiation Wednesday to zap them!

August 26, 2017

Dear Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC),

I have asked you nicely numerous times, I have begged and pleaded for you to stop and to just leave me alone.

When you took over my breast in the prime of my life, it was a hard pill to swallow, but I accepted it. I thought this would be the challenge of my life, my hardship and I would come out stronger. I thought many women have fought this fight so why not me. I naively believed the early detection campaigns with women grinning ear to ear as they run through the finish line.

Well, there is no finish line for me.

Damn you metastatic breast cancer, you decided my precious breast that I miss every day wasn’t enough, so you moved onto the one place where the cytotoxic medicine I take every day could not find you — my brain.

Why, I ask? Why my brain? I was always a studious person, I loved school and learning. I did my homework and others, too. I enjoyed it. Who am I kidding — I lived for it.

I spent years training to be a psychotherapist to work with students and academics was my refuge — it was home for me. I have not worked a day since you came into my life. All the time and effort wasted. I accepted that, too.

You just take take take.

Although it took longer this time I accepted that you made your way to my brain because it made sense – it was a safe place for you to build your home because the medicine can’t pass the blood brain barrier.

Yes I am upset. Of course I am livid. I have every right.

Why my brain? None of this made any sense. So as time went on I accepted that as well. I hope you are realizing I have compromised a lot in this relationship.

Anyways, you made it to my brain and started to build there. You were abruptly removed through an emergency craniotomy and anything left behind was radiated, along with your little friend.

I thought you would have got the message. You are not wanted, there is not place for you here, you need to move on.

But you didn’t listen. I just learned a few days ago you are back with a vengeance. I have three new tumors in my brain. So now you asked for it.

I get it, my brain is an awesome place for you. Hell, I want to live in it forever, too, but you are clearly making that impossible. I don’t understand why you returned so quickly, just eight months later.

After what I went through I deserved a longer break. I have heard of others who get a break from you for years. Why can’t I get that? I know we are in this for the long haul and you aren’t going away permanently — I’ve learned that much already. I just want a break. That’s it.

You can decide for how long, but just give me a bit of time to live my life.

Well regardless, you have met your match. You were caught while you are relatively small; the mask has been made and the treatment planning is underway. You will be treated with stereotactic radiation — yes, the name is as scary as it sounds — so just give up already please.

Beams of light will be used to find, target and annihilate you from every angle possible.

Please understand this approach was not my first choice, but I have asked you nicely, requested, pleaded, prayed, done some non-conventional methods to make you change. There is nothing else left to try but to scare the shit out of you, as you have done to me so many times.

You rocked my world again, turned it upside down. I was feeling good. Same story. (I know get the violin out). You caught me off guard as you often do to so many of us. I should have known better but my the hearts wants what the heart wants — I wanted to feel safe in my body for a little while.

I was enjoying life to the fullest. I got too comfortable, I know. Never again, don’t worry.

You robbed me of making plans even within the small two-month window you had previously given me. Forget about any plans– I can’t even fathom those right now.

Regardless, I will not be defeated. You may have power over my body and you may even win against it. Not today, but maybe one day.

But I will always come out ahead before I go.

I will ignite a fire so strong in others to continue to fight for me — for us — for those we have lost and those who are affected by metastatic breast cancer. To continue to find treatments and eventually, find a cure.

So one day you will be completely annihilated, with no traces to be found, and our future generations will only read in textbooks about the plague of metastatic breast cancer that once existed… years and years ago.

Unfortunately yours,

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