Pinktober Guest Post: Sylvie F. (en français)

Pink-to-ber A portmanteau coinage used by many people who live with breast cancer to refer to October, the Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is heavily dominated by marketing in the color pink and cute tags like “Save the tatas”. (See Komen, etc.)

During the month of October 2013, I am running guest posts from people with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) or who are closely involved with someone who has MBC. This was the idea of the wonderful Jody Schoger, and I think some other breast cancer bloggers are participating, too.

Today we will hear from Sylvie F., a member of a French-language IBC/BC support group in Quebec. With her post, we are starting a new phase of Telling Knots – bilingual posts!  Avec ce poste nous commençons une nouvelle phase de Telling Knots- des postes bilingues! 

Sylvie writes (click here for the English):

Hello, je suis Sylvie, une femme de 51 ans qui vit en France, 2 filles, 20 et 12 ans, touchée par le cancer du sein depuis dix ans, des métastases pulmonaires depuis 2012 et qui essaie de retrouver une vie quotidienne la plus normale possible. 

La vie avec des métastases est une vie en sursis, un jour après l’autre mais l’avenir s’assombrit entre angoisse et jours plus cléments, les personnes ne savent souvent pas ce que cela signifie, par exemple mon chef pense que je suis en rémission et si je suis fatiguée maintenant, mon état ne peut que s’améliorer, s’il savait que je vis à l’heure actuels mes moments les plus fastes malgré les séquelles et la fatigue, que l’avenir est un mot qui nous fait peur, avec le spectre de la rechute, des douleurs et de la déchéance de la fin de vie, à l’heure où les collègues font des projets de retraite, il est gentil, je n’ai pas envie de l’assommer avec ce qui risque de m’arriver, on ménage nos proches car la réalité fait peur. On est comme des funambules sur le fil de la vie et un jour ce sera la chute.


Hello, I’m Sylvie, a fifty-one-year-old woman with two daughters, aged 20 and 12 years, and I live in France. I have had breast cancer for ten years and metastasis in my lungs since 2012. I am trying to live as normal a life as possible.

Life with metastases is a life on probation, one day after the other but the future gets darker, between anxiety on some days and other days, better. People often do not know what this means; for example, my boss thinks that I’m in remission and if I’m tired right now, it a sign that my condition can only improve (!!!).  If he only knew that in reality, right now is my best time, despite the side effects and extreme fatigue. “Future” is a word that frightens us with the specter of relapse, pain and decay at the end of life, at a time when colleagues are making retirement plans! It`s ok, I don`t want to scare him with what might happen to me. We want to spare our loved ones because the reality is so frightening. We are tightrope walkers on the thread of life and one day we’ll fall off.

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9 Responses

  1. Shari Larsen says:

    I’ve also been living with breast cancer for 10 years, and I just turned 50 last month. My bone mets were diagnosed in 2007. I totally understand what you mean by “probation”, that is how I feel also but have trouble putting it into words. It’s really hard sometimes to know what to say to friends and loved ones, when they say that they hope I will get better. I don’t want to give them false hope, but I also don’t want to feel like they pity me either. It kind of makes me feel awkward; I feel like even though I am the one with the disease, I am the one wondering what to say to them and struggling not to say the wrong thing.

    • sylvie F. says:

      hello Shari

      we understand because we are the same. I think it is better to say nothing (the healthy), because, we’ve thought about all that, but not them, then they receive a shock ……

      • Shari Larsen says:

        That is true; we have spent more time processing it than they have. I sometimes forget that something that I am use to living with might seem shocking to someone else.

      • sylvie F. says:

        Essayez avec cette orthographe : thank you very much I am very touched that you share m’y little text with people who are dear to you.

  2. Maxine D says:

    I do not have cancer, but thank you for your insights as to how you feel and think. I read your post to my husband who has a (non-cancerous) terminal illness, and he appreciated everything you said.
    In a way we are all tightrope walkers on the thread of life, and in time all of us will fall, it’s just that some of us do not know the when or how quite as obviously as you do.

    Prayers and blessings

  3. Sylvie, thank you for sharing your story. I wish you the very best health and happiness.

  4. dear Sylvie,

    thank you for sharing your story, especially about how hard it is that many who surround us have no idea what living with metastatic disease entails. you articulated so well about the dilemmas faced while “on probation” and “walking a tightrope” just to survive. I wish you comfort, healing, and…

    love and light,

    Karen, TC

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