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Stage IV Needs More Cancer Research

Sometimes I forget I had cancer.

Sometimes I forget I have cancer.

Sometimes I forget how very lucky I am to be living in an age where we have information at our finger tips. It’s frightening and often overwhelming to skim the daunting prognosis stats, hear the triumphant stories and research every ache. Whether it’s right or wrong to self diagnose, initiate treatments or push doctors for more, at least we have it. So many people don’t. So many did not.

We’ve been honoring, mourning and reflecting on the career of actor, artist and comedian Gene Wilder. While he was an accomplished actor who starred in many notable films, what hit me most was a tribute he made to his wife, Gilda, after she died of ovarian cancer. Clouded with sadness, he wrote an essay trying not to blame himself for being so naive. He didn’t know the signs, ask the right questions or understand what he could have brought to the table to help save his wife. With this information, he believed he could have helped prevent her untimely death.

While Gilda’s disease was different than mine, I was fortunate to benefit from cancer survivors like her. I knew those lessons. I was armed with a briefcase filled of family history information. I knew pointed questions to grill doctors on about breast cancer. I was a survivor. I am a survivor. Yet, it still came back.

Even after the second bout of cancer, I didn’t wallow in my sorrows. I followed my doctors orders, while also educating myself to challenge some of their thoughts. I’ve expanded my circle of doctors, creating a true medical team filled with oncologists, naturopaths and other practitioners focused on wellness. I’ve accepted these appointments with frequent follow ups. And though I constantly strive to take care of very good care of myself, it still comes down to this.

No matter how smart I am…

No matter how much I take care of my body through healthy living practices…

No matter how many times I scan and rescan my body…

Cancer still kills and we don’t have a cure especially for a disease like mine, stage IV metastatic breast cancer.

So, what does this mean?

It means we need to find a cure.

Yes, we should all take care of ourselves and strive to live a healthy lifestyle – mind, body and soul.

Yes, we should advocate for ourselves and push doctors, naturopaths and other practitioners to help us heal our illnesses.

But cancer sometimes has its own mind and may rip itself through all the goodness and clean lifestyle ways.

So, we need a cure…especially for the rare and stage IV diseases.

Stage IV Needs More Cancer Research on PrettyWellness.com

Shocked when my cancer returned in September 2013, I didn’t realize that nearly 30% of early stage breast cancer survivors will be re-diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. I was proud that I put cancer behind me after finishing grueling surgeries and treatments in 2005. I really thought it would never return and went back to my old ways. Yet, it came back and this time it spread to my sternum and spine. What I learned – there’s no cure for metastatic disease and the prognosis is 2-3 years.

Imagine hearing those words…or better yet, stumbling upon those statistics online in the dark of night, when you can’t sleep. We need to change the statistics. We need better outcomes, more cures.

So how do we find a cure? We support research for these rare or less funded diseases. (Less than 7% of research funds go to metastatic breast cancer.) We find charities that are linked up with hospitals or organizations that fund studies. We find opportunities big or small to make a difference.

How do you make a difference? Give a little bit of time (volunteer) or money (donate $1.) I’ve supported a lot of charities that educate, build awareness and fund research for overall studies. I’m incredibly proud to be associated with The Cancer Couch Foundation, a 501C3 non-profit corporation founded by Rebecca Timlin-Scalera, PhD, breast cancer survivor and neuropsychologist. Through this foundation, 100% of the donations and event proceeds go directly to these institutions to fund cutting edge research projects on metastatic breast cancer. Not only is founder Rebecca a brilliant mind, but she’s a beautiful soul. I believe, through her efforts with the world leading cancer centers, they will make huge inroads into finding a cure and better outcomes for those currently living with metastatic breast cancer.

The Cancer Couch Foundation - StageIV Needs More on PrettyWellness.com

As we approach October and everyone is painting the town pink for breast cancer awareness month, I ask you think about metastatic disease and what you can do to help. Check out TheCancerCouch.com today to learn more. Donate here or check out her local events throughout the country. And if you live in Connecticut, there are a few tickets left for The Cancer Beat Concert and Fundraiser on Saturday, September 10 at FTC.

For more cancer resources or daily tips and inspirational ideas on healthy living, clean eating and a non-toxic lifestyle, please follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

The Cancer Beat Concert and Fundraiser

8 Comments

  1. Caryn, you honor me with your words and I am so grateful our paths crossed! Thank you so much for your support and spreading awareness!

    • I am so thankful our paths have crossed, too. I can’t wait to see how our adventures move forward together. Congrats on such an amazing event. It was monumental, such a blast while also overachieving expectations in fundraising.

  2. You are amazing my dear-sending you hugs

  3. Caryn, your words here have really touched me. We do need more research on this. We do need better statistics and outcomes. Too many people in my life have been lost by this horrible disease. Thanks for being such a positive and educational message about something very personally affecting you.
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    • Thanks so much Jen. I appreciate the support. I met some of the doctors that are working on metastatic breast cancer studies and they have such deep vision. They, too, are hopeful that we will find a cure and all sorts of new modalities to treat it.

  4. It’s true. One of my closest friends had Stage IV cancer, and that’s sadly when it slapped me in the face of how much we need to focus on this. I’m sad I missed the event because it’s not that far from me.
    Tamara recently posted…A Favorite Cooking Secret.

    • You should try and come to the event next year. She plans to have a concert fundraiser each year in September. FTC is located near the Fairfield Metro North Station, so you could even take the train in. I’m on her board, so keep me posted and I can share updated information as it gets closer. It was an amazing event – just spectacular.

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