Reclaiming October

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is almost here. An inundation of pink will accompany promises that a cure is just around the corner and that change is imminent. Everywhere you go, there will likely be some campaign to raise awareness with the belief that a contribution to the cause will go to research that will find a cure. It all will be so happy and upbeat because pink is pretty. Some will reminisce and post photos of life going through treatment and compare before and after photos. The media will highlight survivor stories.

Fine.

Really.

I am not trying to take away from someone else’s survival. There is room for everyone. I am trying to shift the focus and include a greater focus on metastatic breast cancer.

I know I am beautiful but I don’t post before and after photos because I still wear my wig. There will never be after photos for me because I will always be in treatment. I do hope to ditch the wig. I don’t think there is a lot that’s pretty about what I go through month-to-month, or even week-to-week. October is a tough month. It’s hard like a brick wall.

But I’m a wrecking ball.

Here I come.

I am gearing up for one hell of an October.

I’m taking the month back and making it about metastatic breast cancer. It’s a golden opportunity to put MBC in the spotlight.

I am renaming it Metastatic Breast Cancer Action Month.

#ActionMBC

Throughout October (and beyond), I will be taking action directed toward change. I will tweet, post, blog, and talk about the facts of MBC in attempts to create visibility and push for more attention, funds, and research to be directed toward this group of the breast cancer population. I’ll write letters and talk to anyone who will listen.

It’s vital I reach people who know little about this world. Many do think awareness is the way to end cancer. I disagree. Giving people accurate information about metastatic breast cancer is part of recruiting support for needed change. Facts on MBC will become tweets and posts. A few unsolicited opinions may be inserted. I’ll also display them on public bulletin boards and maybe even plaster them on bathroom stall doors to provide some meaningful literature in all of the finest restrooms I frequent. Yes, I did just write that. A person might as well spend a couple of minutes learning while occupied with bathroom business.

It amazes me how people don’t know some of the things I thought they would. They may even work in the healthcare industry and still be somewhat uninformed about the effects of metastatic breast cancer. They may be survivors and completely oblivious about the chances of recurrence. I don’t understand everything there is to understand about cancer. It’s my opinion the general public doesn’t have accurate information on secondary cancer and I would like to reach this audience.

Preaching to the choir doesn’t do much. Providing information to people who don’t even sing has the potential for change.

I want to provide information this month that:

  • Metastatic breast cancer is with those of us who have it for the rest of our lives. We will still have it after October.
  • No one has done anything to get cancer. It affects people of all ages, races, sizes, education levels, languages, and incomes.
  • People who have gone five years being free from cancer after treatment ends can still have a recurrence and develop metastatic cancer.
  • Metastatic cancer kills people.
  • 10% of patients already are Stage IV upon diagnosis like I was.
  • 30% of earlier stage breast cancer patients will become metastatic.
  • There is no way of knowing whether a patient’s cancer will metastasize.
  • It’s projected that 116 people per day will die from metastatic breast cancer in the U.S. in 2019. Five of those who die each day will be men.
  • The bulk of breast cancer donations go toward prevention and early-stage research. The percentage of donations going toward MBC research is typically in the single digits.
  • People who have any type of cancer, or have had cancer, or are labeled as having a pre-existing condition, deserve health coverage from insurance companies. Affordable health insurance is a basic human right.
  • Awareness and prevention programs have done nothing to lower the number of deaths from MBC.
  • We need more research, more treatment options, and more effective treatments for metastatic breast cancer.

We need more attention from others outside of the metastatic breast cancer community. I often feel like we are shouting from the rooftops from only our own village. It takes more than a village. It’s going to take all the villages.

I regularly hear that we need more research devoted to metastatic breast cancer. It’s often my own voice I hear saying it. I’m not just talking the talk, but now I’m walking the walk. A few months back I created a fundraiser through the UW Carbone Cancer Center where I receive treatment.

Click here to access my fundraising page. My plan is to devote a separate post about my goals for this at the end of the month. I encourage you to make a small donation and feel nifty with me. You’ll see what I mean after viewing my page. Don’t delay. Don’t put it on your “To Do” list. Once it’s done, it is a proud part of your “Ta-Dah” list. I am grateful for your support.

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Click here to watch a video about UW Carbone.

I am committed to raising money for research.

I am committed to making my voice heard.

I am committed to doing more.

I have plans to speak at several places in the community. My story will be displayed in a couple of businesses in October. I’m busy networking to keep the momentum going after October and for the better part of 2020. All this takes me quite firmly out of my comfort zone. My health often causes me discomfort anyway, so I might as well find ways to show it I am still the boss of me. I can wrestle and rumble with it and make it uncomfortable with me.

 

Please consider responding:

  • Please chime in with other MBC needs that I haven’t mentioned.
  • How can you use your platform and advocate for change this month?

Author: Kristie Konsoer

I am a breast cancer survivor, living well with MBC since 2012. This blog is a place where I can share thoughts and ideas on how I feel perceptions on cancer must change, and how I am finding a way to live with strength, hope, meaning, resiliency, humor, and hopefully a little wisdom, all while living with what I call a Stage V lifestyle. For me, there is no Stage IV. I am Stage V. I am powerful, I am well, and I am relentless.

4 thoughts on “Reclaiming October”

    1. Good for you! I am sure I’ll learn some new information. Rather than avoid October, it’s time to put MBC back in the conversation. I’ve taken my facts from the blog and made individual slides to post a couple times a week throughout the month. We are the voices of change. I have a feeling there are going to be others.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I’ve posted the real life of having metastatic breast cancer taint every damned thing in my life. It’s never going to really go away. The freakin FEDEX guy who delivers my chemotherapy – $18,000 per month of targeted therapy that must VS combined with very painful shots of fulvestrant each month – said can I give you a hug? He did and assured me everything would be okay. I’m sorry but it won’t. He crooked his head like a golden retriever might at the sound of its masters voice saying “wanna go for a walk” and then I gave him a 5 minute explanation of why everything wouldn’t be okay. I also lectured our realtor on pinkwashing when he sweetly brought me a gift of an insulted pink coffee holder and I thanked him by explaining that many companies use pink things to market themselves as caring companies on the chests of those with breast cancer and that metsers color is multicolored because it’s so many things no one seems to understand but it was purple for a while. I think. Or teal. Whatever. One at a time in my new place of residence where my private lecture count is up to 30 people. In person. In three weeks. If I keep it up the entire population of Auburn should be covered by the year 2159. I joke – my plan is to start a support group in the style I’d have preferred before, continuing blogging and leveraging the blog into my book which is imminent to the day my desk gets set up in our new house with my beautiful view of the Sierra mountains and trees for 5 acres, to have this blessing can only mean to share it as best I can. If meetups can be started and held in my house I’m doing it. In 2020 my family room will become a non-pink metsers meeting place. I will continue to raise money every year – over $2800 last year for the Relay for the American Cancer Society because I leverage my vintage business and sell at fundraising estate sales dedicated to the cause. I did it in my former city of San Jose.
    I still feel like I’m not doing enough. I do about every clinical study in the area I can do and it’s not enough. Will it ever be enough of me or am I just trying to outrun my own death?
    Love and peace in peculiar times,
    Ilene

    Like

    1. You have packed so much into your comments. Know that I support you and all your stellar efforts. The FEDEX guy was likely well meaning; I find so many people still don’t know what to say. It’s like a dance of give and take. Even so, it is in our hands to create change and make corrections. There is always going to be more to do. We do what we can. We do enough. You are enough. Your plans for your home sound exciting! Love and peace back to you.
      ~ Kristie

      Liked by 1 person

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