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"I recently passed my 3 year anniversary with metastatic breast cancer. Even as I write this the words still sound a bit odd. Perhaps they refer to someone else, because how could they refer to me? Save for a three month medical leave when I had my surgery and some complications, I have continued to teach first grade, travel, and enjoy my life. In that time, I became a grandmother, danced at my younger daughter's wedding and climbed the Harbour Bridge in Sydney, Australia. And yet, the thought that I have MBC is always there. Not just when I have PET scans or oncologist visits but everyday of my life. It doesn't overwhelm me or prevent me from enjoying life, but it has put it's shadowy filter over everything. Simply stated, it's there, always there. If this sounds depressing, it's not. It keeps me conscious of making the most of life and cherishing all I have. However, make no mistake, I don't consider cancer a gift (will Nordstrom's take it back?). It is the way I have always strived to lived but sped up, because that's what MBC demands.

"I am luckier than some, in that my treatments have been gentle. My one step reconstruction was a great success. The brief course of radiation to my femur caused negligible side effects. I did have infused Aredia for two years and save for the lung collapse after port installation (a long story and a real anomaly, so don't fret) not much pain. I am currently on oral meds only, whose side effects are joint pain and some weight gain, but I'll take it. This may sound crazy, but if I have to have stage IV, this is not bad. I'm hoping to hang on long enough to see better treatments come along but if not, I will continue living a happy, productive life for as long as I can.

"And one last, but critical point, the support, sisterhood, depth of knowledge and experience on has made what could have been a dark time very much lighter."

--exbrnxgrl, 3 years metastatic

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