Pt. 1: And pictures tell a thousand stories of love, pain and Metastatic Breast Cancer


A few hard beds, a salt water pool on the water, a massage, and finding out how tall, or the truest of eye color in person plus a Georgian (Russian) restaurant, and four of five of my metastatic breast cancer best friends together – shaken not stirred, anxious not nervous, a bit tired and two of us slightly jet lagged. Yet one, so important to me and us, whom of all of us in my life I’d never thought would lose theirs before me.

She wanted to be home this week for that conversation with her husband and their kids to tell them she was tired of treatment and is on oxygen and will head to hospice soon. She was extorted pressured and cajoled by her family by taking away the joy her grandkids bring by not allowing her to see them if she came to Florida with us. She tried her best but her disease really was the deciding factor in the end, for she was willing to forgo seeing her grandkids to come to be with us. But MBC and complications in her lungs took that away too, like it takes so much from us before death comes to take our lives. We will all die from MBC. It’s not chronic as so many wish it were – there’s no cure and it is terminal.

Her doctors, daughter, friends, and husband took something from her that in my opinion no one has the right to – they took hope. Fuck them.

I’ll never tell her what to do portending to think I know more than she does about her healing or ability to go on with the torturous treatments we go through – because I don’t. I don’t know what she’s going through – really. I don’t know why she won’t get another opinion. I don’t know why her family is being so negative. I don’t know why they won’t become more educated. And I don’t know why they couldn’t give her something she needed, which is what we all needed, what we all came for: be around other people who understand exactly how we feel no explanations like I felt I needed but knew I would never get.

Nor did I have the right to ask for from her putting more pressure on an already difficult decision she needed to make for her own best interest. No one but us knows our path to healing, be that even deciding when enough is enough and time to stop all the treatments and hope for a good death. She had a painful one – and for that I am so sorry.

Meanwhile back at the beach…

If we needed to lay down we laid down. If we needed to eat we ate. If we felt like just staying home and everyone else wanted to go out we did. And no one had to ask why we didn’t have to explain – not anything to anyone else – we can look at the other person know exactly what they needed and bring it to them. I never knew that by bringing a grilled cheese to my dear friend that she would tear up. The point was to nourish her give her some comfort food and know when she needed it and then bring her a drink and rub her feet while she ate it. I asked am I hurting you? Why are you crying, She simply said you knew what I needed and just did it, I didn’t have to ask you just knew. I did. It’s what I’d have wanted if I looked the way she had at me as I stood in the kitchen while she sat on the sofa with her swollen feet up.

Sometimes that’s all we really need is just someone to show us they get it and they love us. So we’ve already had one healing circle, what you’ve heard me talk about before, and we’re about to have one tomorrow. By moving it one hour earlier we had hoped our missing link in the chain will be able to join us on zoom. Now the rest of us already know what the difference is between an in person circle and a zoom circle.

And without further ado here are some photographs. Because a photograph can tell a thousand stories. Just look in our eyes if you can. There’s not been a single fight. Not a tiff. No egotistical bullshit. You’ll recognize all but one – she’s been in my life through this blog for 5 years and she’s here because I promised her when I was finished training to host and guardian my MBC healing circle I’d let her know.

Trust holds us together, now more than ever. How I love these women. Even the one you don’t see who should be, but I trust her ways to healing and solving her own problems without, trying to help or fix her. Though god knows I want to…

Our Facebook simulcast from Laura Carfang and check out the podcast and tune into the video ASAP on Facebook.

While your at this please donate to your favorite breast cancer nonprofits the above is good as I’d also support the organization that brings a lot of community value – SHARE where you’ll find OurMBClife podcast and loads of content by Lisa Laudico, Victoria Goldberg and hundreds of guests for both you’ll find relevant content and a network of people who will not ignore you. I also support or breast cancer action network because they try to call a pinkwasher what they are – and make public the bullshit that’s out there. Love the BCAN women.

You know Kristie’s blog at finding a way or Victoria got the hint she’d better stop working tonight
Abigail Johnston ( and Leisl an avid reader of this blog looking amazingly happy and relaxed
Kristie Konsoer and Victoria looking happy
View down the intracoastal waterway
Our pool
Our adorable Victoria
Hollywood Beach boardwalk why aren’t very many people at work?
How the number of comforting dreams rises prior to the last day of life
Maybe it’s all a dream
Looking tired not appreciating the farting man next to me – they will create a small gas chamber inside your mask making you wish the plane would spiral out of control taking all the passengers out the wanna-be a nazis torture chamber

More soon.

More hope, love, fear and uncertainty. But much more ready when I hit the flight at 7 pm after saying a proper farewell to my mother at the cemetery she was buried at without so much of a hint of her eldest child (me) anywhere. Cancer became a crime that could lead to hanging by a jury of your relatives who have zero ontological training.

But isn’t everyone an expert except ourselves these days?

8 comments on “Pt. 1: And pictures tell a thousand stories of love, pain and Metastatic Breast Cancer”

    1. Yes especially with our loss of Lori Burwell. She wasn’t a blogger but thankfully left us some of her words on on her Mets monday monthly posts. I will never forget her. She was one hell of a southern belle, a grandma, a math teacher, a tennis pro USTA ranked. She was more than mbc. She was my dear friend Lori and I will grieve her until my time comes, I hope to see her on the other side if there is one and if there’s not may our energies find each other’s somehow.

  1. Oh god I fell asleep! Shows you how invested the days have been. We had our last healing circle of the season in person tonight but already decided this wouldn’t be our last time to meet in person and next time we will meet up in a central location like Colorado or somewhere around that- but at the end of the day we all understood what each person needed and didn’t have to ask for anything much at all. How nice to know if you’re exhausted everyone around you gets you. They have your back. There’s no missing anything and realizing I’m immediately going to be immersed in the routine of life I know I’ll be home again. And with all time and everything being equal what a gorgeous trip – I’m lucky to have come so far to be able to trust again is a good enough way for me to return home feeling very very successful and loved.

  2. I could feel the love in your wonderful heartfelt writing, Ilene. I can also see the love and bond from all the lovely ladies. Thank you so much for sharing and including photos — love from your friend in Canada.

    1. It’s a bond as big as it is deep I feel blessed and satisfied for our time together here, although one of us couldn’t be here due to health. Health we somehow still take fir gfsvgddc

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