This page is supposed to be about me

My gratitude.

In these pages if you decide to get to now me you’ll know gratitude tops the list of my philosophies with regards to metastatic breast cancer. No, I’m not one of those people who think they are better people because of a cancer diagnosis . There’s nothing good about it at all. It’s not a battle because war presumes a winner and a loser. However, when we die from MBC we are NOT losers. We did not fail the medicine the medicine failed us.

However, the good about cancer is only in that it connects one to many who along with the healthcare industry work to bring therapies to metastatic breast cancer endurers: doctors, nurses, researchers, oncologists, palliative physicians, and the list could go on for days. And I’m supported by my readers (that’s you) and my friends. Friends who no longer live with MBC because they died – killed by the disease that wipes out 100% of those diagnosed, friends who currently live with MBC, and friends with and without cancer.

I’m supported by my husband who’s very angry with my cancer – his wife (that’s me) more than likely won’t live with him for the rest of his life. I swear I’m not that great of a cook, certainly not the best In the arts of home economics, I still can’t use a sewing machine, but live with love in my heart and a deep loyalty to him and our marriage- better or worse…health and sickness.

Zimon loves Zima (if you don’t know what Zima is consider yourself lucky)

My story.

My cancerversary is on March 25th – diagnosed de novo – from the beginning – with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. I have lived six years so far beating the savage average mortality of 2.6 years by nearly 4 years.

I’ve used my time since I was forced into retirement at the ripe age of 49 to build a small Etsy business at and a large following on this blog at

I am a writer and poet, a patient advocate, a budding zentangle artist, a loud member of the metastatic breast cancer community especially on Twitter @ilenealizah. I’m also a friend, sister, wife, stepmom, and cat mom to Simon my little love muffin. I am also a trained healing circles host and guardian an plan to bring the methodology to the breast cancer support community .

My advocacy.

I also want to enhance my advocacy work most recently ending my year in the Hear My Voice program for Living Beyond Breast Cancer-, for which I’ll remain an active advocate and mentor for incoming classes. I’ve attended retreats at the blessed Commonweal cancer help program, the co-founder of which I dearly care for and whom I credit with helping me move forward with my life after diagnosis by changing it with one word. Michael Lerner said to me, “Ilene you’re a writer. Call yourself what you are.” And with single bit of wisdom I’ve helped many through writing about my experiences.

My self.

I’m love writing, drawing, jewelry making, music, and all things vintage and antique. Reading and learning and laughing and singing and dancing and hiking and just meditating. A little gentle yoga and hikes in the Sierra foothills of California certainly keep things interesting. Equally as important are guest blogging and writing for publications.

Most recently for my friend’s Nancy Stordahl’s blog Nancy’, Julia Barnickle’s book Lessons from Lockdown, and Rudy Fischmann’s vlog The Brain Cancer Diaries on YouTube. I’ve developed so many strong friendships and am supported by so many people around the world, Marie Ennis O’Connor especially with her weekly roundup on

There’s so many others who I’ve met right here – so please keep reading their bogs. That includes Brian at and he doesn’t have cancer but he surely supports me by reposting my pieces and poetry everywhere possible and his loyalty as a friend since 2015 meant one year when I was hospitalized during the holidays he built me an entire village in his house of crazy Bonnywood! Who does that? Friends do that.

I’ll post a list soon of those I follow, but there’s many many more. Stories and voices of the ghosts who I hope haunt anyone who ever said “she’s in a better place.” No she’s not – she should still be alive.


But thank you.


Budding Zentangle Art

9 comments on “This page is supposed to be about me”

  1. I’ve been there, and I agree with you. Cancer is a fucker. I’m a 20 year ‘survivor’ and hate that word in this context. I hope your health continues to improve in every way. Glad to connect,

  2. I think I want to:
    Let me rest.
    Do my best.
    Get out from under.
    Stop the thunder.
    “Roll with punches.”
    Skip mental lunches.
    Forget my blunder,
    Trust my hunches.

    Bounce back.
    Have a knack
    For easing slack
    That runs off track.
    Try to stack
    My mental rack
    So to contract
    My rubber crack.

    1. Jan,
      I love your poetry – it’s real. It’s understandable without having to circumnavigate a dictionary of olde English. It’s universally applicable. But much more it’s brave. When poetry is stripped to its barest essential elements – the emotions, the feelings raw…you are risking putting yourself out there and that’s far more important than hiding yourself away in a cave filled with the echoes of too much effluvium so none can feel the pain you feel, the joy, or the energy. Thank you for writing this and sharing it here. I hope to see more to read very soon!! I feel honored you chose to post it on my blog and feel free any time. If you want to write a guest post to publish here please let me know and I’d be thrilled to post it. Just let me know. Any time is great.

    1. I agree! There’s a recursiveness to curative powers of writing. I write to heal, the act writing and the act of sharing to gain insight and perhaps provide some, too. “Et maintenant voici mon secret, un secret très simple: ce n’est qu’avec le cœur que l’on peut voir correctement; ce qui est essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.”
      Here, for what it’s worth, a short, internally combusted poem inspired by your comment…

      The Little Prince
      Fiction as a hobby, such a sweet waste of hours
      Yet I’m minute poor these days to pay even a poets dowery.
      When feeling existentially incomplete.
      Some may say, “you’re depressed!”
      Down where the saddest of enemies scars
      Pointing weaponry dead centered on target souls.
      For I hold (hopeless) hope like a balloon in a child’s fist
      Tightly gripping at the string until the
      Helium leaves a wilted flower in my wilted wrist.
      The differences between disease of body and of mind are
      Merely words, semantic games, and the doctors who define
      The nature of the sickness and the cause of our infirmities
      May be a chill leading to hypothermia
      Of ones essence or their extremities.
      So the little fox chases me until the moon
      Becomes the rise in me and the ascension of the fool.

  3. “Hang tough, I’m here for you! ” is what i always said to my wife during her StgII H2Nu treatments…

    It’s been one year, 3 months and 17 DAZE since Her last treatment. 2-6mos checkups down 22 more to meet!

    IT will never be the same…. CrAzY good times

    1. Life changes daily even without cancer, and you take care of yourself, too. It’s not selfish but in fact necessary for all caregivers not to lose their minds. I’m just a few lines in the ether away from lending an ear or a to assist in finding resources. This is not a lame half hearted offer, but a real one. Thank you for your comment and I hope you’ll follow along, too.

I welcome your comments!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.