The big fund-raiser to raise awareness and cash for metastatic breast cancer is just 3 days away. No more cluttering up your FB news feed folks. I am posting this for the final time. Hope you show up to visit, bid on raffle items donated generously by awesome people like Biff Boyajian, Salon Luka’s Linda Snell and my sister (in-law) Diana, or take the booty fitness class with the indomitable Kelly! Maybe do all 3!!!
What I would like to make the most clear is this: Much of the work done by breast cancer charities has focused on early prevention saving lives. Women with MBC will die of their disease, and feel excluded from this narrative–particularly if they were too young for routine screening, or had early stage disease that later metastasized. Decades of early prevention efforts have not reduced the annual death toll from breast cancer. Early detection is a failed experiment. We need money for research to find a cure.
Now, to get it off my chest: I am so sick of….ME! Yup. A news article about my life in the Easton Journal last week, a shout out in the Improper Bostonian about me and the Booty By Brabants fundraiser for MBCN and today, an article in the Boston Herald. I am pretty much over myself. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way I can just go back to being awesome.
Tim and I just returned from a really terrific vacation in Belize, formerly British Honduras until 1973. It was a complete pain in the neck to get to a tiny island off the mainland–cancelled flight, no luggage, missed connections–you get the idea. Once there however we were able to indulge my passion for snorkeling, and all water related fun–kayaking, fishing, diving, and lots of fish and lobster eating. It was a very much-needed reprieve from Cancerland where I normally live. Floating in the deep blue, crystal clear water and focusing on slowing my heart rate and rhythmically breathing in and out gives a girl a chance to think. It is like another world under the sea with the nurse sharks, sting rays, sea turtles and fish of every stripe. I felt like I was floating in space, weightless and untethered but plugged into the mystery of the universe and our interconnectedness. On the last day a giant sea turtle came up from behind me and head butted me in the stomach exactly where my cancer now lives. I felt touched by her gentleness and beauty, as if she was nudging me forward in this life. I could stay in that world a very long time–my personal happy place.
On dry land we hung out at the little thatched roof beach bar. Apparently they have not heard contemporary music beyond 1999. It was a strange hybrid of Jimmy Buffet, Bob Marley and old R and B. I kinda loved it. One night they played the old TLC song “Unpretty”. I was really moved by it and how much I recalled loving them even after Left Eye lit her boyfriend’s sneakers on fire in the bath tub and burned down his house. She died up the road in Honduras in a horrific car accident–now she was a bad ass and aren’t you impressed with the absolutely useless information I have stored in my brain?
The Belizian people were wonderful, especially my snorkel captains and of course, the bartenders! Warm and funny, never complaining, not judgmental, always teaching, helping–my kinda peeps. When I said good-bye to my snorkel captain he hugged me and said “I’ll see you next time, sometime in this life.” I may have been tearing up when I handed off the last of my sunblock to him .
Long haul back to reality with more cancelled flights. Arrived home at 2:00 AM to a carefully staged beach scene in my backyard complete with a kiddy pool, palm tree, ice bucket with wine and electric candles. It took me exactly 20 seconds to figure out the person behind this was Elizabeth Starr–who else?
I belong to a closed face book group for women with MBC. I am learning a lot from it but it also brings me down–so much misery and dying. Tim asks why I read this stuff–I am afraid I will miss some tidbit of information, some truth that will be important me. I am obsessive by nature and this is a bad habit. Going to work on breaking up with them. My other closed face book group is called MET-UP and they are young and furious. Although I am neither of those they are more my style. They are not going to take this killer disease lying down or allow it to be further exploited for profit. Life with metastatic breast cancer involves on-going treatments for the rest of our shortened lives. There is nothing fun or pink about our experience. We want 30% of federal research dollars to be spent on metastatic disease. Off the soap box Barb, move on.
Yesterday I had my check up at Dana Farber–all good but learned my broken rib back in March/April was likely tiny bone mets that were not detected until it started healing, which causes a lot of metabolic activity and thus, showed up on my Pet Scan in June. Ok enough about me–how are you?
See you Saturday or sometime in this life.
Song: Under the Sea/The Little Mermaid, duh
Barb and Tim, Bridget and Kelsey