Friday, 26 June 2015

Cancer that doesn’t go away.

Last night I went out to Quirky Perkies , a local bi monthly dinner meeting for women with breast cancer. A few ladies were coming later after Encore (a free YWCA 8wk exercise program for women to aid recovery after breast cancer).

In our group a number of us had completed Encore in 2013. It was cosy, by an open fire, as we laughed heartily over a glass of vino before ordering dinner. We chatted leaving jobs , mid life crises and latest medical jaunts. Our Breast Cancer support Nurse was present too - for fun - not exactly on the job. The McGrath nurse is usually there too, just not last night.

Two women confessed that their bash with cancer (all of us being in the last 3-5yrs) made them reassess their priorities and they were resigning from their jobs , with nothing to move onto.

Then the bomb dropped , I went numb when B asked me about "our girl Michelle". Life confronts us all with some difficult questions (or answers) when we are least prepared. Once part of our posse, Michelle had moved 2hrs away to another country town.

A month ago, Michelle passed away from metastatic Breast cancer (in her 40's).

B didn't know the tragic news.

Breaking it brought all the feels and overwhelm back.
Seeing the shock on her B's too changed the tone.

What else do you say ?
I wanted to get up and hug her.
Regret for not doing it , albeit in a public venue , is immense.  I was on the other side of the table where the wine glasses were and it felt awkward to move.

We all joined the Encore program together in 2013.

Michelle is the first in our group to gain her wings, first with mets. Eleven months ago breast cancer returned in her hip, it didn't stop there. When breast cancer spreads to bones, lungs, brain and liver , there is no cure and treatment is continued to give as many days or years as possible and reduce pain. It never goes away and stays away, but is controlled.

Michelle was dying yes, she had just finished a course of agressive chemo, she was looking forward to scans to see if it had been successful in shrinking tumours or stopping further spread.

B & I were planning a visit with Michelle after the last QP dinner in April.
I was planning a visit; a week before she died, I'd chatted to Michelle via FB.
It was much sooner than anyone expected.

On the flip side it was still a lovely night , I sold tickets in Cancer Council Relay for Life Raffle and
 won a MEAT tray in the raffle , seconds after lamenting ... I'd not won one ever. I chose the chicken.
*Metastatic cancer is a cancer that has spread from the part of the body where it started (the primary site) to other parts of the body. When cancer cells break away from a tumor, they can travel to other areas of the body through the bloodstream or the lymph system (which contains a collection of vessels that carry fluid and immune system cells). 
Consider sponsoring me, research for the cure, is the only way we can stop days like these.