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Im not on a "journey" and Im not a "warrior." Who is with me?

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  • sadiesservant
    sadiesservant Member Posts: 1,875
    edited March 2021
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    Absolutely agree Alice. I didn’t mean to imply otherwise but the image of dodging a great big bus every time I step out my door makes me laugh. Still doesn’t make me a warrior.

  • beesie.is.out-of-office
    beesie.is.out-of-office Member Posts: 1,435
    edited March 2021
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    For early stagers, the analogy I use is the 'sword over the head'.

    In life, everyone lives with a sword. The simple fact is that any one of us can be hit by something catastrophic at any time without warning. We probably all start out with no real awareness that the sword is there - the invincibility of youth. But once we've had a cancer diagnosis, we know that sword is there. At least for some period of time after treatment, most of us tend to think about it a lot. What we don't know however is whether it's a small sword that will cause a bump on the head but nothing more, or whether it's a large sword that will destroy and/or end our lives - but because we've have cancer, we figure that our swords are probably a bit larger than other people's sword. What we also don't know is whether the sword is being held by a thin rope or a heavy metal chain. We just have a heightened awareness that it's there.

  • summerangel
    summerangel Member Posts: 182
    edited March 2021
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    I'm coming in late here as well, but I've been reading and agreeing with a lot of what has been posted. I'm not a survivor. I had slow-growing cancer, it was cut out with surgery and I haven't had any issues in the nearly 6 years since. I may be wrong, but it seems like a lot of people are very unaware of the variation that exists in cancer diagnoses (not just breast cancer), and that's why it still gets this "Oh, you're a survivor!" reaction. I had a couple of rough weeks getting over my surgery, and that's it. I'm fine now. When I talk to people about it I emphasize the fact that what I had, and the treatment I had for it, is not the same as someone who's dealing with stage IV. It's not even like it was the same disease. People seem to be glad to learn that many women with early-stage BC don't even need chemo these days. I just don't think my BC was a big deal.

  • threetree
    threetree Member Posts: 1,422
    edited March 2021
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    Re Beesie's comment about the sword analogy. I agree that the possibility of death is always there any time during life, but that in youth, we tend to ignore it, feel invincible, etc. I've heard many say that turning 50 was the time they finally "could see the Pearly Gates" out there ahead of them and thought they should plan the rest of their lives accordingly (making the estate plan, moving to a place with no stairs, etc.). Yes, like Beesie said, something like a cancer diagnosis too, wakes us up to some harsh realities that we always have to live with. Many years ago someone told me about a woman she had met who was originally from Korea, and she told her that in her Korean culture, they were taught from a young age that "death rides on your shoulder", i.e. that the possibility is always there, and that one should always live their life with that in mind - not some constant fear sort of thing, but more with the idea of living in the moment and living life to the fullest, doing what you can to fulfill your dreams and all, because we just never know.

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,945
    edited March 2021
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    Maybe it's because I turned 70 last year, but I don't really care what finally pounces on me and drags me off into the underbrush to gnaw on my bones. One beast is much like another when you're their lunch. In my crazy 2018 with two separate cancer diagnoses, I also found out about an aneurysm, at which point I laughed, albeit a bit hysterically. I need a wind chime of Beesie's swords!

  • purple32
    purple32 Member Posts: 1,767
    edited March 2021
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    No journey here.

  • jinx27
    jinx27 Member Posts: 119
    edited March 2021
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    Im not a fighter or warrior. Im just me...taking this one day at a time.

  • rah2464
    rah2464 Member Posts: 1,192
    edited March 2021
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    Oh AliceB - your wind chime of swords - if I was crafty I would make you one!

    When I was a year out from diagnosis, the local breast center sent me a pink ribbon magnet that said "survivor" on it. Gave me the willies. I guess I was supposed to put it on my car or something.

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,945
    edited March 2021
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    Rah2464

    Aw, thanks!

    That ribbon magnet is bizarre. Do other diseases come with souvenirs? Aren't the scars sufficient reminders?

  • sunshine99
    sunshine99 Member Posts: 2,643
    edited March 2021
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    I love the sword chime idea! I have the pink plastic wrist thing, but I don't like wearing it. It feels like I'm shouting, "LOOK AT ME!" Then I have to explain that, yes, I'm the one with cancer, and now it's Stage IV.

    Actually my favorite "reminder" is a little pin that someone gave me the first time I was diagnosed. I like it because it's subtle. Sorry it's sideways. The ruler is to show the size of it. I'll wear this one. The pearl is supposed to be the size a lump you can feel.

    Did I "survive" the first time only to get hit again a second time? Who knows? I'm not dead yet.

    image

  • NotAsCalmAsILook
    NotAsCalmAsILook Member Posts: 133
    edited March 2021
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    If someone makes the wind chime of swords I want in! I will buy one, commission on, cover one!

    I love the metaphor and the imagery.

  • rah2464
    rah2464 Member Posts: 1,192
    edited March 2021
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    Sunshine that ribbon with the pearl is interesting because it would start a valuable conversation that might help someone remember to self exam.

  • runor
    runor Member Posts: 1,613
    edited March 2021
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    Wind chime of swords !   YES! YES!  YES!   Alice, you brilliant babe! That is what we need to get in the mail, no pink ribbon, no jovial punch on the shoulder from someone telling us we can beat this. No! A wind chime of swords, daggers, handle with care, don't run with swords. Oooooh, I want one! 

  • flashlight
    flashlight Member Posts: 311
    edited March 2021
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    I agree with Rah2464 I would wear the pin Sunshine99 has. It is beautiful and meaningful not a pinkwasher thought.

  • rah2464
    rah2464 Member Posts: 1,192
    edited March 2021
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  • threetree
    threetree Member Posts: 1,422
    edited March 2021
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    OMG, Rah! Was that a quick DIY or did you find a photo somewhere?

  • threetree
    threetree Member Posts: 1,422
    edited March 2021
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    OMG, Rah! What a find!

  • traveltext
    traveltext Member Posts: 1,053
    edited March 2021
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    The forum discussion on this topic is summarised in my latest article:


    https://advancedbreastcancer.net/living/battle-metaphors


    Such a lot of passion here. I love BCO and all who post here.

  • sadiesservant
    sadiesservant Member Posts: 1,875
    edited March 2021
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    Great article Traveltext. Thanks for advocating for us all!

  • beesie.is.out-of-office
    beesie.is.out-of-office Member Posts: 1,435
    edited March 2021
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    Traveltext, thank you for taking this argument forward to other platforms. If we say it often enough and loud enough, maybe one day the message will get through... to some people anyway!

    Rah, that's scary, but perfect!


  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,945
    edited March 2021
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    Rah2464 ♥️😀♥️😀♥️😀

    Traveltext, that's a great article.

  • Boxingmama
    Boxingmama Member Posts: 5
    edited March 2021
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    love this thread! so tired of people telling me I'm fierce! What the fuck do they know

  • ceanna
    ceanna Member Posts: 3,120
    edited March 2021
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    Started reading a book today that talks about the difficult events in our lives as lifequakes. I thought maybe a BC diagnosis is a lifequake and treatment could be the rebuilding! Anyone have thoughts on this?

    Thanks for article traveltext!

  • rah2464
    rah2464 Member Posts: 1,192
    edited March 2021
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    Traveltext thank you for the article - so very well written. Thank you for getting the word out there.

  • angieb92
    angieb92 Member Posts: 291
    edited March 2021
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    ceanna- I like that!

  • runor
    runor Member Posts: 1,613
    edited March 2021
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    Love that chime!

  • illimae
    illimae Member Posts: 5,615
    edited March 2021
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    Lifequakes is an interesting take and growing up in California and loving earthquakes, I’m digging the analogy. My diagnosis was a 9.5, fortunately I have a fairly well built house so far.

  • trishyla
    trishyla Member Posts: 698
    edited March 2021
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    You like earthquakes, illimae? Are you nuts? I'm a native and I hate them. They trigger my fight or flight instinct in a really bad way. It takes me a couple of days to get back to normal after a good sized shaker.

    Funny story about last year. It was a crap year for me. On top of the Pandemic, with my husband and I both having zero work from March onward, I broke my ankle in June, my father in law died, a dear friend was diagnosed with a soft tissue sarcoma, two other friends were nearing the end of their treatment options, and here in LA we had months of record breaking heat and smoke from the worst fire season in living memory. Absolute worst year of my life.

    Sometime, I think in late September, maybe early October, I was laying on the floor, stretching my back out while watching TV. Must have dozed off, because when a 5.5 quake (centered less than 10 miles from my house) hit, I sat bolt uptight and yelled at the top of my lungs: "Fuck 2020!".

    Had my husband in stitches. He likes the quakes. He said the '92 Northridge quake was better than an "E" ticket ride. I think you guys are bonkers. I'd take dental surgery over an earthquake any day of the week.

    Trish


  • illimae
    illimae Member Posts: 5,615
    edited March 2021
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    Trishyla, yes, I love them! I remember a couple in the 80’s when I was a kid, that were so fun! My mom would run around (parents were from NY) screaming to get under the door frame, lol. My husband and I were in 29 palms for the Hector Mine quake in 1999, it was like the bed from The Exorcist and felt like it lasted forever. I’m lucky to have experienced that one just before moving to Texas, I have hurricanes now but it’s just not the same.

    Great story, lol. I do not miss fires though, those no fun at all.

  • ceanna
    ceanna Member Posts: 3,120
    edited March 2021
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    illimae, I'm glad you enjoyed earthquakes! I think you are the first person I've ever heard that enjoyed them!

    I like you adding the 9.5 Richter scale of your lifequake. We could add this to the analogy, and match magnitude to Stage and Grade levels, and resulting treatment, of BC diagnosis instead of trying to find a name instead of the word "journey." Based on scale below, I would rate my BC experience as a 5.9.

    I propose an adapted lifequake BC scale based on Richter scale magnitude descriptions:

    Under 2.5 - Not usually felt, but found thru monitoring (periodic testing for breast abnormalities)

    2.5-5.4 - Often felt and causes minor damage (biopsies, benign conditions)

    5.5-6.0 - Causes slight damage (Stage 0-1)

    6.1-6.9 - May cause a lot of damage (Stage II)

    7.0-7.9 - Major damage (Stage III)

    8.0 and above - Great lifequake. Can destroy. (Stage IV)

    We could then just say, for example, "I had a magnitude 7 BC," and everyone would know what you meant.

    At any level we can try to rebuild and keep moving as long as possible. Part of the book about lifequakes talks about the non-linear progression of our lives. In the "good old days" people became adults, married, had children, worked in one place, retired--all in a linear fashion. I don't know anyone for whom this is still is true. Lifequakes like illness, and other major life events seem to take us up, down, and all around.

    Thoughts on this analogy--revisions, corrections, additions--deletion?!