I was initially diagnosed stage II-A at the age of 36 in 2012. No family history, vegetarian most of my life, exercised, did everything right. I completed treatment and moved on with life.
In late September of 2014, 9 months after I finished chemo, I was racing on my mountain bike when I had what I call my “serendipitous mountain bike crash.” I was out riding with some friends, dropped into a trail and went down…dislocating and breaking my shoulder. At the mountain clinic, they took x-rays and, later that night, my friend who is the doctor that works there called and said the radiologist saw fluid around my lung. I’ve been a nurse for 20 years so I knew at that moment it was back. That next week I found out I had a massive pleural effusion, bone, and liver metastases.
Being a Metastatic Thriver has changed my whole outlook on life. I value every minute of each day. I listen to my body. I’m kinder to myself. When I feel good, I get after it doing the activities I love (mountain biking, hiking, alpine and backcountry nordic skiing with my dog). I would like other Metathriver’s to know that you can live with MBC and still be an athlete. Prior to having MBC, even as a nurse and a survivor, I did not know the statistics for MBC recurrence. I guess part of me didn’t want to know.
I want people to know that MBC is the only type of breast cancer that kills. We need more research, 7% isn’t enough to “find a cure.” Being “aware” doesn’t find a cure. Research does.