Marissa is a 40-something "flattie" in sunny SoCal living with metastatic breast cancer, her boyfriend (and high school sweetheart) and the memory of her not-so-mini schnauzer, Heidi, who was taken too soon by canine lymphoma. She enjoys reading, stress baking and roller skating. She hopes to inspire others with her stories about life with cancer.
Patients with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer need so much more. All I want is more time, because six years is just not enough.
I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in March 2014 at the age of 38. Over these last six years, I have met many other women who too have a diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer.
Some were diagnosed at an early stage and metastasized. Others, like myself, were de novo. Some were younger, some were older, and some were close to my age. But, none of these things matter much. The one common thing we share is an incurable, rotten disease.
I recently found out that another one of my acquaintances has died of metastatic breast cancer. She was younger than I am and had fought just as hard as I have. She too lived with cancer for the past six years. She did everything she could, and it still wasn’t enough.
I have a hard time wrapping my head around why some patients with cancer survive longer than others when we are all being treated similarly. Is it genetics, attitude, prayers, stubbornness, amazing doctors or just plain luck? Maybe it’s a combination of these things. We may never know. And it probably doesn’t make any difference.
The reality of this disease is that approximately 20% of patients with metastatic breast cancer live more than five years. She made it six, but her death hits too close to home.
For the moment, I’m currently on my last line of oral treatment. If my Lynparza (olaparib) fails, I will be back to receiving chemotherapy via an IV. I’m still trying to adjust to the side effects of this new treatment, and I’m trying hard not to hate it. I want it to work, and I want it to work well.
I want it to work long enough so that a new treatment can be developed, and I don’t have to go back to IV chemotherapy or, worse, die.
Sixty infusions in one lifetime is more than enough. But six years is just not enough time. If a coronavirus vaccine can be developed in such a short amount of time, imagine what could be done for cancer if the right people put their minds to it. Approximately 42,000 people will die from breast cancer this year and yet only 2% to 5% of the funds raised actually go to metastatic breast cancer research, according to METAvivor. Patients with stage 4 need so much more. All I want is more time, because six years is just not enough.