A Life Too Soon Taken by Metastatic Breast Cancer

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When I received news of a fellow blogger’s demise, I was heartbroken.

Illustration of a woman with short brown hair, wearing pink lipstick.

Yesterday, while checking my emails, I noticed one in particular. I’d received a reminder for a CURE blogger phone call scheduled for later this week. I knew I wouldn’t be able to attend since I was in the hospital recovering from recent surgery, so instantly, I sent a reply.

Throughout the day, one reply after another came through to the group. Some would be able to attend and were looking forward to it, some had the day confused and needed to confirm. One in particular caught my attention, an unexpected and very sad reply.

The message came from the husband of one of our fellow bloggers. As I read, my heart broke. His message announced the death of his dear wife.

She was fairly new to our little blogging family for CURE. Though I’d never had the pleasure of meeting her, I did take time to read her posts, as I do all of the other bloggers. We share a camaraderie through our cancer experiences and though most of us have never met, we support each other through love and prayers.

After learning of this young woman’s death, I immediately emailed my condolences to her husband. It was important to me that he knew he was not alone, and the blogging community stood by him.

Next, I pulled up several of Elizabeth’s blog posts and re-read them. Her posts were always upbeat but filled with truth. She, like most of the blogging community, tried to give a very real picture of life with cancer.

Her cancer had become metastatic and had progressed to her bones, and yet, she remained hopeful. Though on her last approved oral pill option, her desire was that one day a cure for cancer would be found.

She used the analogy of an hourglass timer in the post that touched me the most. Though none of us know how much time we have on this earth, she knew hers was dwindling.

The post said “My hourglass timer is a reminder to myself that so much of what I used to care about — material things and things that I purchased before, will just sit here and not matter. So many physical things I see now, I don’t see the same value in. Every opportunity I have, I take pictures of moments. Every chance there is to travel, I seize the day. Moments to feel every ounce of my senses, I strive to experience, like my bare feet in the grass, inhaling the fresh smell of a cup of brewed coffee and listening to how peaceful raindrops are. While my hourglass timer is still a very scary reality, I approach with daily grace to accept the fact that each day is a new day to find joy in.”

Elizabeth’s thoughts and feelings expressed many of our own. Those of us who’ve either been through cancer or are currently going through it, know how very precious each moment of every day becomes.

I’m so saddened by Elizabeth’s death, but I’m thankful she was brave enough to fight long and hard. I’m thankful she had a platform to share about her experiences and her life. Hopefully, others will find inspiration in her words and make the effort to live life with “grace, grit and gratitude” as she did.

The Bible says our days are numbered. None of us know how many days we’re allotted, and we truly feel there’s an invisible clock ticking off the seconds, minutes, hours and days. My hope is, in sharing my breast cancer experience, I can, in some small way, affect lives the way Elizabeth McSpadden did.

If we’d had a chance to meet in person, I’m sure we would’ve become good friends. Her love of life and positivity in the face of adversity would have surely inspired me. Through her posts, I’ve learned so much about her.

Please keep her family and friends in your prayers in the days ahead and if you get a chance, take time to read her blogs. They’ll certainly help you understand more about metastatic cancer.

Thank you, Elizabeth, for being a voice that encouraged and inspired others. You will truly be missed.

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