I have been thinking a lot about what the women who are diagnosed with metastatic disease must go through beyond their diagnosis.
Not only has their worst fear been realized, but they are faced with the fact that they very well may have to do chemo again- forever.
This is not like your original diagnosis. When you first were told you had cancer, everyone talked of the "finish line" and "hang in there- you are almost done!" Now, no one talks about finishing. No one knows what the future holds and there is no way around the fear.
Once you have a plan in place and scans start to show stability and you live to hear words like "shrinking" and "resolved" your new reality takes hold.
Yes, you can live with mets. Yes, you can deal with cancer on a day to day basis. But it is not the same as non-metastatic disease. Metsters are like the Marines.
Throughout history, when regular battles are fought, the army, navy and air force did the day to day fighting, completed their tours and went back to being civilians. But when the really hairy battles had to be fought- the earth shaking, life altering battles like the taking of Iwo Jima and Normandy, who was sent? The Marines. And once you are a Marine - you are always a Marine.
Those of us who are early stage fight scary battles, but they end. The Marines go that extra mile and don't stop. Like metsters.
I know that many metsters are afraid to talk about their level of disease to early stage sisters for fear of scaring the crap out of them. But they are wrong.
When a Marine talks of the incredible battles he has waged, the regular military looks at them in awe and thinks, "Damn, I don't know if I could do that or be that strong. But I hope if I ever have to fight their battle, I pray I have their courage and grace." And that is how we early stagers feel about each of you.
Semper Fi, Sisters. You are awesome.