This entry was written by Amy Lessack. Amy has been attending the metastatic breast cancer conference over the years. She is both moved by the conference and trusting of the up-to-date information that it provides to women facing metastatic disease:
I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in November of 2008. My recurrence was found through a scan. It came at the best possible time – the financial bubble burst, my company – a bank – was purchased twice and I knew I was probably going to lose my job. Hmmm… Happy Thanksgiving to me, huh?
So…the first Annual Conference for Women Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer was incredibly timely and so worthwhile. Sitting through that first conference and seeing everyone in different stages of their metastatic journey was truly awe-inspiring and took my breath away. Here were women surviving multiple recurrences, sharing their stories, asking in-depth questions, and embracing anyone and everyone all at the same time.
That first conference was unbelievable. There I sat in April after finishing up my 2nd round of 30 radiation treatments in a room of incredibly strong, wonderful, and courageous women. Elizabeth Edwards was the keynote speaker. I had actually met her in Charlotte, NC during her first “Saving Graces” book tour. She shared that she had a lot of bone pain. She also shared a hilarious story about trying to hide a curling iron burn that was on the back of her neck from her daughter because she thought her daughter would think it was cancer – HA! We’ve all been there – right?
I have to say I have a huge case of “imaginitis.” I stub my toe – it still hurts after couple of days. I have toe cancer? I badly burned my tongue from hot chocolate a few weeks ago and it took forever it to heal – so of course, I had tongue cancer. “Imaginitis” at its finest!
Last year the conference was again so amazing, but in a different way. The keynote speaker was a doctor, Judy E. Garber, who was so overcome by the love of her job and her obvious devotion to finding a cure that she broke down and cried. How amazing to see a doctor be human! The other guest speaker who had the biggest impact was a gentleman, Bruce Feiler, who talked about his “council of dads” or how I would put it – “circle of friends.” He had been diagnosed with a rare cancer and formed a team of men who would serve as mentors (council of dads) for his twin daughters just in case he didn’t make it.
What you get at the Metastatic Breast Cancer Conference is a more intimate gathering of people where there is a great cocoon of love and support. All of us look at life a little differently – from our friends who were recently diagnosed to those who have been living in remission for years. For us – “it has already come back, damn it” and so our perspective is so different.
The great part of the conference is that it is truly life affirming and of course FULL of great information and the programming that LBBC is known for. You will certainly leave the conference with a new friend or two.
If you have questions about your metastatic breast cancer diagnosis or you’re looking for support, please register for LBBC’s Annual Conference for Women Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer.