Essentially, I deal with the pills I have to take, the food I'm picky about but have to eat every couple of hours at least to keep my stomach in check, and the daily goals (see above).
I heard a story on NPR one day, though unfortunately I did not catch the name of the interviewee. It really struck me though. They were discussing Scott Walker's platform of dealing with the "biggest threat to America," that being "radical Islamic terrorism." The interviewee pointed out that in American lives lost the our biggest threats are actually heart disease, cancer, suicide, car accidents, gun violence. The group MET UP, founded by two young women in my advocacy training in April, is organizing a die-in in DC at the Capitol on October 13th, to demand that more federal funds go to metastatic breast cancer research. Worldwide 1430 people (over half a million per year) die of it every day and that is how many people will lie down and "die" at the Capitol. Imagine if our federal legislators and administrations took this and the other listed threats to America as seriously as radical Islamic terrorism and put as much federal money into alleviating them. Like how about giving research money to the brilliant scientists trying to cure and create less toxic treatments for metastatic breast cancer? Just saying.
So, I wrote to Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton encouraging them to put this threat and commitment to funding on the front burners of their respective campaigns. I did not attempt to contact any of the ever-bulging clown car full of Republican candidates. What would Donald say to this? What happens to these emails, of which there must be millions coming in to these inboxes, I have no idea but this is the only option for communicating and I can only hope some clever staffer sees it and has a lightbulb go off. I also wrote my own Oregon legislators to ask them to meet with the die-in organizers in October. All of these communications contain what is now my automatic go-to stats on metastastic breast cancer.
155,000: number of people estimated to be living with MBC in the U.S.
40,000: number of people dying of metastatic breast cancer annually in the U.S. since the seventies.
110: number of people in the U.S. dying daily of MBC.
20-30%: percentage of people whose early stage breast cancer metastatizes.
2-4%: percentage of breast cancer research funding actually addressing MBC.
Over 500,000: number of people worldwide that die of MBC annually.
1430: number of people dying of MBC every day worldwide.
36 months: still the average lifespan post-diagnosis with MBC.
I also make family travel arrangements from the couch, do the family banking (to be honest I do sit at the desk nearby to do this one), and consult with my dogs about what jobs we can help with from the couch. Luckily, I have a really nice couch.