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. Knots says:

    Knots, Wow, four friends at once! So very sorry. {{{hugs}}}
    I understand so completely why you think of your own future with this disease whenever you hear of deaths from it. My support group includes a few of us who are metastatic – we seem to have about one death per year, and each time I not only mourn a lost friend, but wonder about how my disease will progress, will end.
    I know compared to the women who wonder if they will even see their kids grow up, I am blessed. Mine are now young adults. But, I wonder if I will be at the weddings of my kids who are still single. (One married before I got sick.) I rejoice I have seen one grandchild, held him, enjoyed baby kisses and hugs, heard him say “ga-ma.” But I wonder if I will see my other grandchildren, his future siblings and cousins. And I wonder if I will live long enough for him to remember me, to miss me.
    I, too, wonder about how the end will be. My oncologist has assured me they have come a long way in pain relief since as a kid I watched my grandmother die of metastatic breast cancer 46 years ago. And I am still near the beginning of this journey. I’ve been told some women make it 10 years, but I know there are also many make it much less.
    In just a little over a week, I have another PET scan and bloodwork. Everyone says, “relax, it will be fine,” but I have the pre-scan jitters. I have compared it to Damocles sword hanging over my head, but apparently that is being too dramatic. Sometimes, I wonder if I’m being morbid, other times I wonder if all my friends and family are in denial.
    KT, if you are even a little like your blog, you are a beautiful woman. True beauty is in the heart and soul, and even though I have never seen you, that inner beauty shines through your writing. There will truly be many who will miss you. I will miss you.
    My prayers are with you.

    • Gail says:

      Your family and friends have no idea re scanxiety. They are trying to reassure you but by saying these things they are actually shutting down the conversation. I’m sorry. V common. After ten yrs of going through these tests I have decided that uncertainty of any kind is the absolute worst situation we humans face. I see it in people who are waiting to see if the offer on a house they want is accepted, in kids waiting to find out if they are accepted to university, etc. Perhaps if you explain it in those terms you will get more support. But chances are they will say something like “don’t worry about it until you have the results”. Ha! It’s a relief to get the results no matter good or bad…because yes then you can deal with it. It’s the uncertainty that gets to all of us! Be well!

  2. Ann Lee says:

    You would be missed very much and these same thoughts running through your mind is running through mine!!! Bless you and Love to you….ann

  3. Lara says:

    I was diagnosed with mets in January. There were two others in our young survivors support group with mets. Now they are both gone. Died within two years of their diagnosis. I am in utter disbelief and fear. At times it is so great I can’t even breath. I go about my day looking totally healthy and people are so glad to see me doing “well.” I continue to be a mom to my 6 and 9 year old children. I exercise and eat so healthy. Yet- I feel so helpless and scared. When will their date be mine. I know so well the feeling of looking at deaths of friends and just fearing what will happen and dreading a time it is my family grieving. Gods peace surround your four friends and all of us facing this disease.

    • Knot Telling says:

      It is a very helpless feeling. That is why it’s taken me so long to come back to this post to reply to comments. I’m sorry I left you hanging, Lara.

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