"I mourned the life I had lost, and crawled deep into my fears of what was to come."
I was 32 years old, and my husband and I had just purchased our dream home, and moved to a new town. Our son was turning 2 years old, and we were celebrating five years of marriage. We had started trying to get pregnant with a second baby, and I went for a physical with my primary care provider. She found a lump in my breast. The ultrasound imaging warranted a mammogram, which showed suspicious calcifications. A biopsy confirmed that I had breast cancer.
Meanwhile, I had been experiencing a tremendous amount of back pain. The pain spread to my hips and ribs, and was debilitating at times. I went for a second opinion about my breast cancer, and mentioned this pain. A PET scan revealed widespread bone metastases throughout my spine, ribs, hips, and sternum. I began treatment two days before Christmas that year (2017). The next few months were a blur - I felt so overwhelmed by the detour my life had taken, and so intensely shaken by my diagnosis. I mourned the life I had lost, and crawled deep into my fears of what was to come.
It has been nearly a year now, and I liken my life with metastatic breast cancer to learning to walk on hot coals: they burn you less only because you have become accustomed to the heat, but that does not minimize the exposure or fear of what is to come