Living With My Stage 4 Hourglass Timer

Having stage 4 breast cancer is quite a heavy load to carry —some days, probably most days. Luckily, I am called for only having it in my bones, so far, and not yet in my organs. Indeed I am. However, my cancer continues to still progress, and for more than a year, different oncologists have been trying to stop it from growing. Nothing has stopped it. Yet.

I remain hopeful—to a degree. My hope is that a cure will be found for others and advancements will be made. My own hope for myself isn’t gone per say, but I am on my last approved oral pill option, Orserdu, due to my ESR1 mutation, which makes my anti estrogen blocker resistance pretty difficult for several new drugs. If Orserdu doesn’t work, and come November scans I have progression, I will move to IV chemotherapy, and the easiness of oral pills and treatment will change a bit.

The hourglass timer for me — that is how many options and how much time in years and months, I have left is still hard to count, but it is dwindling. There isn’t an abundance and its becoming more slim. When I talk to my oncologists, we’re now looking at clinical trials as well. This has been a hard hit to mental and emotional health, but I also recognize that clinical trials are a sense of hope because its research and opportunity to pave the way for new roads and drugs. Stage 4 is so comparable to a world where there are so many warriors fighting, those who have fought, heroes, families affected, mental & emotional health toll, exhaustion on every front, so many battle cries, so many scars and so much confusion around how to fight our ‘enemy’. 

My hourglass timer is a reminder to myself that so much of what I used to care about — material things and things that I purchased before, will just sit here and not matter. So many physical things I see now, I don’t see the same value in. Every opportunity I have, I take pictures of moments. Every chance there is to travel, I seize the day. Moments to feel every ounce of my senses, I strive to experience, like my bare feet in the grass, inhaling the fresh smell of a cup of brewed coffee and listening to how peaceful raindrops are. While my hourglass timer is still a very scary reality, I approach with daily grace to accept the fact that each day is a new day to find joy in. There is still plenty of bad days that I have, and not easy days, but I always hope for good days.

What’s on deck for my hourglass timer next? A trip to Gatlinsburg, TN, with some of our closest friends and their kids and a trip to Williamsburg, VA, for a Breast Cancer Gala with my best friend. Traveling is one of my favorite things to spend the days of my hourglass timer, and when I am not traveling, I start planning where we are off to next!

Always livin’ with grace, grit & gratitude!

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