Adrienne Conde

Posted by on Jan 23, 2012 in Blog | 5 comments

Adrienne Conde

“You have breast cancer.” Could any words be scarier? The “c” word stands for certain death, doesn’t it? Yet those were the words I was hearing coming out of my surgeon’s mouth. Just two months earlier, another surgeon had stood before my husband and me in this same office and told me, “Don’t worry. Those spots are scar tissue and the lymph nodes are swollen because you are overweight. You don’t have any family history and you are too young for breast cancer. Doing an MRI can give you false positives and the lumpectomy you had a year ago showed fibro-adenomas. You have dense breasts. I really don’t think you have anything to worry about.” “Ok,” I thought. “Phew, dodged that bullet!”

But now, two months later, this new guy was telling me I had breast cancer. I thought: “Is this really happening? I’m only 34. I’m turning 35 tomorrow. My husband can’t raise my 9 year old alone.”

This is how my journey began December 8, 2009. A PET scan showed three metastases on my spine. I not only had breast cancer, but my breast cancer had spread to my spine. I had stage IV breast cancer. The kind you die from. I thought: “Are you kidding me?”
I quickly fired my first oncologist. He told me that all they could do was keep me comfortable until the end. I wasn’t going to take that for an answer. I cried, sobbed, and then pulled up my big girl pants, brushed myself off and decided to claim God’s Word that, “with God all things are possible.”

I found new doctors, who gave me hope and I started treatment. I began with the typical treatment for breast cancer. I won’t bore you with the details. Just know it was hard. Today I am in remission. Even my doctor had a hard time saying the words. There was no evidence of disease (NED) on my last two PET scans. They were called “unremarkable”, but for me they were truly remarkable. Simply put, “God hasn’t finished with me yet.”

I have now been in remission for eight months. I have many goals for the future motivated from my previous understanding of breast cancer. There is a gross lack of understanding of stage IV by the public and even within the breast cancer community. Most people think remission is a cure or that because I’m in remission, I’m done with treatments or I’ve “beat cancer.” Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Currently, there is no cure for metastatic breast cancer. Some might ask, “don’t you have faith God can heal you?” Yes, I do, but as time has passed I’ve learned life isn’t all about me and me being healed or not healed. I understand that life is a gift from God and each extra day that He ultimately decides to give me are my gift to Him in return.

I want to educate and debunk myths better explained at www.METAvivor.com, a support and research not-for-profit organization for metastatic breast cancer patients.

Myth: Research funding is well balanced for all stages of cancer.
Reality: 90% of cancer deaths result from stage IV cancer, but only 2% of research funds are devoted to stage IV.

Myth: Metastatic breast cancer is rare.
Reality: 30% of breast cancer patients progress to stage IV. Still others initially present with metastatic breast cancer.

Myth: Healthy lifestyles, timely screening and early detection prevent metastasis.
Reality: Metastasis happens despite vigilance and precautions. Even stage 0 patients can and do metastasize.

Myth: Metastatic breast cancer is becoming a chronic disease. Fewer die every year.
Reality: New treatments extend life for some, but survival remains elusive. Over 40,000 women and men have been dying annually since 1987.

Myth: Stage IV breast cancer patients are well supported by many groups.
Reality: Far too many patients must face their challenges with little to no support. Most programs focus on wellness and recovery, avoiding any reference to stage IV.

I’m sorry if this upsets you. I know this isn’t the most positive information out there but people need to know the truth. That is what comprehensive awareness and education is all about, dispelling myths.

Only God knows the hour and day I go to meet Him. Until then my hope is in Him, each day is from Him and I will live each moment for Him. My life isn’t about me anymore, it is about serving God and loving everyone He puts in my path.

 

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100% of the funds donated will be used to find the hows and whys and ways to stop metastatic breast cancer.  We are a purely volunteer organization. No one takes a salary.  All donations are 100% tax-deductible.

5 Comments

  1. Thank you Adrienne for being brave enough to share the reality. Much love and many prayers heading your way.

  2. Thank you for sharing your post, Adrienne… and sharing an aspect of a disease that so often is overlooked.

  3. Adrienne, as a mother of a daughter who had breast cancer, I can validate all your concerns and facts and metastatic cancer. Your faith, courage and outlook on life is an inspiration.

    Continue to live each day to the fullest (which we all should do)and know that God is using you as you walk this journey. Praying for peace, comfort, and continued remission.

  4. Thanks so much for sharing with us all. I am so glad to have such an amazing Mets sister like you to get us through the tough times. xoxo

  5. Adrianne, thank you so much for sharing your story with us. Thank you for educating me on mestastatic cancer and the vital statistics that I didn’t know. Thank you for making a difference to educate all of us! Wishing you continued remission, strength and many hugs.

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