Hello, my name is Aurora and I am a Stage IV breast cancer patient. I was first diagnosed as Stage IIa back in 2009, but last year (July 2013) I had a fracture of my right femur and surgery showed that cancer had spread to the bones. I knew absolutely nothing about stage IV breast cancer. When I left the hospital I did a search about breast cancer and found Breastcancer.org website. Immediately I became a member of the English community and a few months later I discovered the Spanish discussion boards. In the English forums I learned that 30% of patients diagnosed at an early stage progress to stage IV. I also discovered that there is no cure for this type of cancer also called metastatic, and that I would need to be on lifelong treatment.
Some of these things had already been explained at the hospital but, due to my mental state, I didn’t process that information. At the hospital they said I had a short life expectancy, but in the forums I knew about other women with the same type of cancer as mine had survived up to 15 or 16 years, so that gave me hope. Soon, November 4 will be my first anniversary since I left the hospital. Last week (September 24, 2014), I had a CT scan showing that the cancer has stopped and the bones show signs of recovery (can not call it remission when it comes to stage IV).
In February 2014, I lost my insurance because I had to quit my job, so I did not qualify for Medicare (til next year) nor 'Obamacare'. Reading in Breastcancer.org I learned about different options, and finally after two months of struggle I got my Medicaid status 'share of cost'. This means that I pay the first $800 a month for my treatment and Medicaid pays the rest. Luckily, my oncologist is helping me with obtaining state benefits.
I am very grateful to Breastcancer.org. I log in to the forums everyday and this helps me psychologically not to feel alone in my fight against cancer, not to give up, and realize that other patients suffer even more than me. I try to share with them thoughts of hope that also helps me not to feel sorry for myself or depressed. Thanks to Breastcancer.org, I knew that the new cancer treatment parameters indicate that all patients with cancer in the USA should be evaluated psychologically to be able to receive psychiatric treatment if necessary. I think it must be this way.
I hope Breastcancer.org sponsors continue to support this non-profit organization that benefits hundreds, if not thousands of breast cancer patients in stage IV. Thank you.
-- auroaya, 1 year metastatic
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily represent those of Breastcancer.org nor are they intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians.