Lori Tragesser blogs about living her life after a stage IV diagnosis and having hope for advances in research and the larger breast cancer conversation. Support people like Lori. Join the Beyond The Breast Campaign.
I never dreamed that I would be here…in this moment. My story…beyond my wildest dreams.
Breast cancer beyond my breasts. When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, I didn’t even know it was possible to have breast cancer go beyond the breast. But on August 27, 2014, at 43 years old, I joined some 150,000 U.S. women and men in a journey beyond our control.
I am blessed beyond measure with the people in my life. I am wife and a mother, a daughter and a sister, an aunt and a niece, a friend and a co-worker. My husband and I are raising four teenage boys and a middle school-aged daughter. Our lives are sometimes busy beyond belief, but they are everything to me. My heart breaks for them.
When you are stage IV, you learn to look beyond what you can see. We all have a timeline with no real numbers on it. But when your cancer has metastasized, you are suddenly holding that timeline in your hands. No numbers. Only an average of three years. What does that mean? How long is that? There is no time to waste. Life is found somewhere beyond our doubts.
I have to live beyond my limits. This isn’t day-to-day life anymore. With ongoing infusions and injections, my body changes. Exhaustion hangs on my shoulder. My stomach battles me at will. Then there are all the other side effects that come and go as they wish. But there still is so much I want to do and see. So I seek to find sustainability and balance for myself. I teeter totter between pacing myself through my treatments and doing as much as I can with my friends and family.
I found myself beyond scared. I knew there wasn’t time to waste dwelling on “poor me.” I wanted everyone to hear my voice. I quickly found that I was not alone. Our voices are being heard as the landscape of our prognosis is ever-changing. But sadly, approximately 110 of my stage IV sisters are still dying every day. We need more. Research does continue to make remarkable advances in treatments, but they can only do this with more funding. With good news always on the horizon, I don’t lose faith that the cure is just beyond our reach.
I never dreamed I would be here…with cancer beyond the breast.
Read more of Lori ‘s story on her blog, Thanks for the Mammories.