I had another pouty session for myself recently. I got the results of my blood test back from my oncologist and, for right now, they are reading as post-menopausal. When your cancer is ER+, this is the news you want to hear. You want your body to be making as little estrogen as possible. I have be purposefully and likely permanently put into menopause. While I suppose this is good news, I’m really very depressed by it. I never minded getting my period that much. It’s not like I liked it or anything (I had terrible cramps and crazy mood swings) but getting it every month let me know that my body was still working and healthy. It was something I could count on. I knew exactly when it was coming (often down to the hour) and it made me feel like a woman.
I haven’t gotten my period in nearly two years. Sometimes I mention this and a woman’s first response is “Oh, that’s so awesome!!!!” I can see why one would say that. But the loss of my period is directly linked to my loss of femininity. Not only is that thing that made me a woman, that I could count on every month, gone, but so is my ability to have more children. And that just fucking sucks.
Sometimes I forget that, in reality, I’m really very lucky. Yes, cancer was shit and it’s the gift that keeps on giving but, I’m here and, at least for now, I’m not going anywhere. While I complain about being forced into menopause, I know that there are many women who wish they could be on medications like Tamoxifen or Zoladex (which I’m off of right now) to keep cancer at bay. Women who are triple negative or diagnosed stage IV. But sometimes I think about the women who are not ER+, (who would give their right leg to be on this medication) and think, well, at least they have a shot of having a baby (if chemo didn’t force them into menopause). It’s stupid. It’s insensitive. But it’s how I think sometimes.
Sometimes the grass seems greener on the other side.
But knowing that in many ways I have it good, I don’t want to forget that this can change tomorrow. My luck could run out and I might wish for the days of hot flashes and infertility being my biggest worry. I know that at any time I could become one of the 30%.
So, to continue with this October breast cancer month thing that we’re in, I want to highlight a couple of organizations that are working on a cure for the only breast cancer that kills, stage IV. While all breast cancer sucks and the treatments for it have the most awful effects, there is no cure for stage IV, only treatment and management. This needs to change. Like, yesterday!!!!!! These organizations are fighting the good fight and are dedicated completely to finding a cure. There are no fancy advertisements. No pink boas or ribbons. Just research, research, research. If you have some money that you have been aching to donate, I urge you to consider donating to METavivor and Metup.
Here’s METavivor’s mission.
METAvivor is dedicated to the specific fight of women and men living with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. At the time of METAvivor’s founding, no organization was dedicated to funding research for the disease and no patient groups were speaking out about the dearth of stage 4 cancer research. While more and more people have taken up the cry for more stage 4 research, METAvivor remains the sole US organization dedicated to awarding annual stage 4 breast cancer research.
Here’s Metup’s Mission
MET UP is committed to changing the landscape of metastatic cancer through direct action. We protest and demonstrate; we meet with government and health officials and researchers; we support research into metastatic disease; and we speak out against the sexualizing of breast cancer. We are convinced that the deaths of women and men from metastatic breast cancer are a paramount issue, and we pledge ourselves to oppose all who deny the reality of the 522,000 people who will die from metastatic breast cancer globally every year while waiting for a cure to be found.