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.
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 http://www.Etsy.com/shop/yeuxdeux and a large following on this blog at https://cancerbus.com/.
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 https://healingcirclesglobal.org/ host and guardian an plan to bring the methodology to the breast cancer support community .
I also want to enhance my advocacy work most recently ending my year in the Hear My Voice program for Living Beyond Breast Cancer- LBBC.org, 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.
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’spoint.com, 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 JBBC.com.
There’s so many others who I’ve met right here – so please keep reading their bogs. That includes Brian at bonnywoodmanor.com 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.