This morning I found out that a blogger I just emailed two weeks ago, Rachel at The Cancer Culture Chronicles, passed away this morning. I cried when I found out. This is the email exchange that we had back on January 24th.
Her blog is amazing. She was a voice for women living with metastatic breast cancer. More often than not, the breast cancer conversation centers on the patients who we can "cure." These conversations tend to forget about the women who are living with stage four for reasons unbeknownst to me.
According to the American Cancer Society's website, stage four breast cancer is when:
Stage IV cancers have spread beyond the breast and lymph nodes to other parts of the body. Breast cancer most commonly spreads to the bones, liver, and lung. As the cancer progresses, it may spread to the brain, but it can affect any organ, even the eye.
Although surgery and/or radiation may be useful in some situations (see below), systemic therapy is the main treatment. Depending on many factors, this may consist of hormone therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapies like trastuzumab or lapatinib (Tykerb), or some combination of these treatments. Treatment can help shrink tumors, improve symptoms, and help patients live longer, but it isn’t able to cure these cancers (make the cancer go away and stay away).
I am so sorry she is gone. The breast cancer community lost an amazing advocate and dare I say, warrior. She fought the good fight. Inspired by her, I am going to continue learning as much as I can about this disease, the big business surrounding it, and advocating charities that actually care about those in need *cough*notKomen*cough*. Rachel touched a lot of lives. If I could be a fraction of the blogger she was, then I'll have succeeded.