We’ve carefully selected these blogs because they are actively working to educate, inspire, and empower their readers with frequent updates and high-quality information. If you would like to tell us about a blog, nominate them by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women around the world. The
Metastasis is when cancer cells spread to other parts of the body. Breast cancer starts in the breasts and travels to the lymph system and blood stream to get to the rest of the body, where it then grows new tumors. Common areas for metastatic breast cancer are the lungs, liver, brain, and bones. Once breast cancer has become metastatic, it’s much harder to treat. The five-year survival rate is 98.8 percent for localized breast cancer and 26.3 percent for metastatic breast cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. However, there are still treatment options that can help extend and maintain quality of life for as long as possible.
Living with cancer is challenging, both physically and emotionally. It can be extremely comforting to know that there are others out there experiencing the same struggles and feelings that you are. These courageous bloggers share their daily ups and downs and tell what it really feels like to live with metastatic breast cancer. By sharing their stories, they help to humanize a disease that has claimed so many lives.
Ann Silberman was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. Since then, she has been through many treatments, including a mastectomy, chemo, radiology, and several different drugs. Silberman takes it one day at a time and is even able to have a sense of humor about her diagnosis. Besides talking about her life with metastatic breast cancer, she also shares anecdotal stories. For example, one post talked about her “spirit animal,” a cat belonging to her son and his wife who was diagnosed with kitty breast cancer. In other instances, she shares letters from fellow metastatic survivors.
Mandi Hudson was a young advertising professional when she received her breast cancer diagnosis. After four years of traditional treatments, she learned that the cancer had metastasized. She’s now a stay-at-home dog mom and breast cancer awareness advocate. The blog is a place for Mandi to share her thoughts and fears about living with advanced cancer. When you read her posts, it feels like you know her. One recent entry addresses her fear of experiencing a lung collapse, which she feels may happen soon. She also talks very candidly about buying more time and her choice to delay asking for hospice despite the aggressive nature of the cancer.
Renee Sendelbach is a 35-year-old wife and mom living with stage 4 breast cancer. Artistic and religious, she draws on both outlets to help get through her challenges. Though she typically keeps an upbeat tone when it comes to her physical struggles, she doesn’t hide the ways that depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can affect people living with cancer. It was something she didn’t know would be an issue until it happened to her, and she shares her experiences openly.
Tammy Carmona has been living with metastatic breast cancer for four years. She is grateful for every extra moment she’s been given, and she discusses the importance of making memories and living to the fullest. On her blog, Tammy does a thorough job of discussing specific treatments. Her post on brain radiation describes the process, how she felt, and even includes photos.
Jen Campisano was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer at age 32, only five months after her son was born. Today, he is 6 years old, and she is still here to watch him grow. Though her diagnosis has recently changed to stage 2 breast cancer with sarcoidosis (an inflammatory disease which can mimic metastases), her blog remains a powerful voice in the metastatic community, with archives chronicling five years of stage 4 breast cancer treatments. Campisano is also vocal about the love she has for her family, as well as her political beliefs. For example, recent posts discuss the direct impact healthcare legislation has on cancer patients. In one post, she talks about her experience flying to DC to attend a round-table discussion about cancer policy in the new administration.
Anna Craig had just given birth to her second child when she noticed a lump. Shortly after, Craig was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and told that it had spread to her lungs. Although getting the news was hard, she chooses to focus on making the most of her journey by learning, growing, and making peace with her own mortality. Many of her posts share her inner feelings about living with cancer through poetry, drawings, and paintings. One of Anna’s goals was to see her daughter’s first day of kindergarten. She met that goal, but not without struggle. The cancer has spread to an area of the brain where it’s no longer treatable, and her husband, Ian, has taken over writing posts and sharing her story.
Mary is determined both to extend her time here and to make it meaningful. The number in her blog’s title actually comes from a question she asked her doctor: How long did the longest-surviving person with metastatic breast cancer live? His answer was 20 years, so Mary made a promise to live (and blog) for even longer. Her posts range from healthcare activism to musings about kitchen remodeling. In a post this March, Mary talked about her travels to Washington, DC to meet with Speaker Paul Ryan. She was able to have 15 minutes of his time to advocate for herself and the many other people living with cancer.
Lisa Adams Thompson has had a long journey with cancer. Her story began in 2005 with an abnormality on her breast. Despite being proactive and diligent, the cancer kept returning. Today, she has lived longer than expected and says she’ll continue to tell her story. She skillfully weaves her medical updates, thoughts about life and death, and daily experiences into a thoughtful narrative that pulls you in. One moving post talks about her difficult decision to say goodbye to her longtime family dog and remembering the joy he brought.
Susan Rosen is pragmatic. She’s optimistic in her outlook on the days she has left, but she’s also preparing her family for the day when she will no longer be with them. When Rosen discusses planning her own funeral, putting together journals for her children, and getting affairs in order, you feel a sense of empowerment rather than sadness.
In addition to breast cancer, Caroline is living with a number of other conditions, including fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. But she doesn’t let them define her. Caroline does an excellent job of reminding us that life doesn’t always go according to plan, but that there are always opportunities to adapt, learn, and find happiness. In one entry, she compares how she imagined her life progressing when she was a college student to how things actually went. It makes for inspiring and motivating reading.
Katherine O’Brien is a B2B magazine editor who was diagnosed with bone metastatic breast cancer at age 43. Along with her thoughts, her entries are full of well-researched information and statistics on breast cancer. She is also heavily involved in advocacy and awareness. For O’Brien, being a patient advocate for others with the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network has been an important and meaningful experience, as she relates in her patient advocacy story on the blog.
Stephanie Seban was only 31 when she received a diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer. As a younger woman living with the disease, she felt a disconnect with some of the other chat groups and communities. So, she decided to start her own blog as a space for herself and other younger women to talk about life with breast cancer. Her blog also includes favorite recipes, products she likes, and some of her DIY projects. In one unique and thorough post, Seban talks about her personal experience with medical marijuana.
Jill Cohen was 39 when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer, and she was in her early 40s when she found out the cancer metastasized to her bones, liver, brain, and skin. She knew the prognosis wasn’t good, but that didn’t stop her from finding the positive in life. On her blog, Jill shared the day-to-day struggles of living with metastatic cancer. She also shared her fondness of her Jewish heritage and stories about her family, such as her father, a WWII vet. Jill sadly passed away in the summer of 2016, but her friends and family, including her husband, Rik, continue to use the blog to share fond memories.