One Weekend, Four Deaths

Four FlowersJude Calligros.

Victoria Ford.

Kristi Frazier.

Jaime Spring.


These ladies, four of my sisters in mets, died this weekend. As hard as I try not to make their deaths about me, it feels like it is about me. That thing that killed them is going to kill me – that’s one thought. Another thought is that they are done; they can rest now. And then I feel a little jealous.

It is easy to get caught up in causes and to write angry Facebook posts about the paucity of research into metastatic breast cancer. It is easy to make fun of Pinktober and to denounce the trivialization of breast cancer in the media. It is even easy to make wryly humorous remarks about playing the cancer card.

All that is easy and it’s distracting. It distracts me from pain and fatigue, opportunistic infection and the harsh reality of the disease that killed Vicki and Kristi and Jaime and Jude and is on its way to kill so many more. But then someone dies, and the distraction becomes worthless.

Every time one of my sisters in mets dies I think of my other sisters and brothers. I wonder which of us will be next, and I wonder when my turn will come. I wonder what will take me, which organ will fail. Will it hurt very much? Will I be aware that I’m dying? Will I be alone? Will I be missed? Will I leave something lasting behind when I go?

Yes, very self-centered. But that’s how it is for me. I cannot take in a death from metastatic breath cancer except through the filter of my own death. I cannot read about metastatic breast cancer except through the lenses of my own disease.

The deaths of these four ladies is a glimpse into my future. Even so, until that future becomes my present I can choose how to live, and I choose to live as well as I can until the moment comes when I will die as well as I can.



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34 Responses

  1. Carolyn says:

    I Love you, Knot… I’m living the same way, waves of distractions and then reality hits hard again with every death to our shared disease. Thank you for writing about it, so very well. Such sadness, so much loss.

  2. Carolyn says:

    I wonder some of the same things that you wonder, where will it strike next, will it hurt. But what I don’t wonder about is whether or not you will be missed. You will. You will be missed very much by the amazing community of your friends that you have gathered. And you will have left behind your very being in your words and within their hearts. In my heart too of course, should I still be here. 😉 <3

  3. Lisa says:

    You don’t have to be in stage 4 for these deaths to shake you to the core. I have watched many of the wonderful women who supported me in the chatroom at breastcancer.org go into stage 4 and leave us. It is so painful that I find it difficult to go on the facebook page because it hurts so bad when the announcement is made. Every death hits way to close to home as we greive for all that our friends and their families suffered. I completely understand that it isn’t about you or me, but is so very about us.

  4. So much loss. So much heartache. Thank you for writing this. We will not forget. xoxo

  5. Scorchy says:

    Yes, there is no other way for me to see either. And now that I’m feeling much better than I have in a long time, I feel guilty. How can this be? How can I feel better when others feel so bad?

    What if I never feel bad again? What if I don’t feel bad before all my friends are gone? What if feeling good is just a joke and I decline and never feel well again?

    I’m afraid to live. It’s paralyzed me.

  6. Christine says:

    I also live in the reality of this disease, day in and day out. I wonder the same things, and when other ladies die of this disease I want to ask the questions of what actually happened in their last months and days that actually took their lives, how long they have been fighting this disease. I know how morbid these facts are but I am always guessing and wondering how close I may actually be to the unknown of this disease. Doctors don’t tell you, friends say you look great, but I wonder if these women knew or if some weird complications’ took them. I hate, hate, hate this disease and the fact I am even asking these questions, but I want to know just how this disease will get me to the dying point, and praying I am no where near it yet. I send my heartfelt prayers to these ladies families. I wish and pray that they find strength in the fact these ladies will feel no more pain. I will continue on with my life and continue to wait on the medicine that will keep me here for 40 more years or that I will not have to much pain involved and I just dream off to sleep. I can still wish.

    • Gail says:

      I replied on the main thread. Pls take a look.

      • Lisa says:

        Jus like all of our journey’s into this disease is different, so is the journey out. Your best bet to get those questions answered is to talk to a hospice nurse.

  7. Gail says:

    Yes, it’s hard to take. I protect myself a bit now, by not attending mets support group. Ironic that the support leads to friendship which leads inevitably to death (your friends or you) and grieving another loss. Unfortunately it is necessarily so, because no cure! Try to turn the sadness into anger. Another tip someone gave me: try to think of the attribute you most admired about each person and try to incorporate that into your life. This helps me remember my friends lost in a positive way. Tough weekend. Take time to grieve and recover. Healing thoughts going your way!

  8. Gail says:

    Christine, I have had same questions. Reality is that there are a variety of things that could happen which will lead to end stage disease. I have witnessed a few. In each case there was time to know what was happening. I hope that gives you some comfort. We need to live each day we feel well to the fullest. Take care!

  9. Kathi says:

    Ah, Knot…hugs, my friend.

    I’ve known Vicky for quite some time now. Damn. Didn’t know the others, but bloody hell, four in one weekend? Thank you for being real about it. Of course this is what would go through your mind…

    And part of what goes through mine, selfishly, is sheer dread. Dread about losing you, or Carolyn, or Jody, or Scorchy, or any of the other women who have become dear to me through our miraculous cyber-connections. And, of course, dread that mets will sneak up on more of us. The heart just hurts.

    Love you, sweet one.

  10. Helen says:

    Beautifully said… Never doubt that you will be missed… Hugs to you ❤️

  11. Linda says:

    Wow. You said it all. Thoughts I have had now there for me to see I am not alone in those thoughts. Yes I know it will be my name soon and I wonder , will it hurt ?

  12. Maxine D says:

    Oh Knots, I dreaded to read this entry as I can appreciate your hurt – I know how I felt when I heard last week that a friend of mine has less than a week of life left, thanks to the accursed MBC 🙁 – the third one to go, the second in the last 12 months.
    You will be missed, never doubt that, and you have left a legacy of words that will both challenge and bring comfort.
    Blessings and prayers

  13. Lori Markell says:

    I can certainly relate with each of your thoughts and fears….it never gets easier. I keep trying to push the negative yet realistic thought of dying and replace it with the possibility of a cure, that maybe I could be an exception to what science says…that my friends who also suffer from this disease are an exception….I’m very sorry for your loss….

  14. Caroline says:

    crap. I’m sorry.

  15. Lara says:

    This made me cry. There is nothing self centered at all about the thoughts you just shared.

    You will be missed, and you will be mourned. <3

  16. I am so sorry for the loss of your friends. I understand the feeling of watching others who share your disease. It can be so discouraging, but sometimes inspiring. When I see someone like you who is suffering, but still living her life the best she can, taking a tragedy and using it to touch others lives, I feel motivated to do the same. People can live their whole lives without purpose and meaning, but, you, you show us how to live.

  17. oh, Knot,

    thank you for writing this and giving voice to how so many of us think of the same things. i am so very sorry for the loss of four of your sisters, and i am sending you and their loved ones waves of compassion and sympathy.

    “…until that future becomes my present i can choose to live as well as i can until the moment when i will die as well as i can.” me, too. i love you.

    Karen xoxoxo


  19. Homa says:

    Everyone who leave will be missed so closely and dearly and it will hurt the grieving person so much. Each moment of day, each joy, and each laugh will remind me of the loved ones I lost too soon.

  20. What a sad and beautiful post. You are not self-centered. xo

  21. marsha says:

    Yes a very bad weekend for us all and yes you would be missed. I personally have lost 3 friends in the last 20 days but the loss of Vicki shook me to the core …. I will miss her presence so very much.

  22. maesprose says:

    I am so sorry Knot. Four friends in a weekend is a lot. You have expressed sentiments we’ve all felt, even those without mets. It’s not self centered to want to be remembered.

  23. Susan Zager says:

    Knot- you are not being self absorbed at all. Every death just is so upsetting. I feel guilty for feeling better than I have felt in a long time and yet all around me there is so much death from this disease including another very close friend on April 10 that just tore me up. With or without mets – it sucks…but with mets I am sure it sucks that much more. Four people at the same time-that’s a lot. KT you mean a lot to all of us and I just love everything about you. You have such a gracious heart and I just wish I was in Israel and could give you the biggest hug right now. We just have to keep on keeping… Much love and light – Susan

  24. I just realized I feel the same way, whether it is a news story about a new drug — could help me/can’t help me – or a death, especially the women I didn’t know. Thank you for holding up a mirror so I could see this.

    And yes, my friend, you would be missed.

    • Knot Telling says:

      Thank you, Kate. And I apologize for taking so long to reply to you. It’s been a strange few weeks.

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