Well here we are, November… and the focus for cancer awareness moves to lung and pancreatic cancers … basically we hate all cancers, right. I know we’ve all got to die at some point, but it would be great if we weren’t tipped into an early grave by cancer (and other illnesses) – and also that we wouldn’t have to live with the crappy side effects.

 

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#BusyLivingWithMets

A post shared by Bex Lewis (@drbexl) on

#IAmThe31

This past month has been a busy one with the focus on Breast Cancer Awareness (although we are still super sad that only October 13th is a day for metastatic breast cancer (the type that actually kills). I have been involved with conversations with METUP-UK for the past few months, and a couple of months ago, agreed to take responsibility for shaping a social media policy (though not doing all the social media) and a blog strategy.

Emma, who works in digital marketing, had come up with the idea of the #IAmThe31 campaign, with a video featuring those of us living with metastatic breast cancer (of which 31 people will die of this every day in the UK, including 6 men per month)… as we try and get across the urgency and realism of our situation (not enough research, poor government policies, limited education about metastatic cancer) – we’re not trying to be negative, but we’re ‘fighting for our lives’ (not against the cancer itself, but against the systemic problems – which could be changed!)

It’s a real challenge, as even the breast cancer charities don’t seem to want to talk about secondary cancer much – it’s all about early detection… *see Tassia’s cartoon in featured image.

Walking 3.1km Average

I said that I was aiming to walk 3.1km+ average per day across October, to raise awareness and funds for METUPUK: super thankful to those of you who have cheered me on, shared information, and donated funds. As someone who used to do 8-10 mile hikes at the weekend, after a full week of week (where had cycled 6 miles each way to/from work) it didn’t seem that far. With ongoing chemotherapy, radiotherapy tiredness, and just a body and brain battered by 3+ years of treatment, it was actually quite a challenge – but I did it!

I am going to maintain my walking, but maybe not trying to catch up from e.g. treatment day! And of course, just because breast cancer month is over, doesn’t mean that we can forget about this … I and my friends have to live with this every day, and far too frequently see our friends dying of it (especially frustrating when treatments are available but not funded, etc.).

Of course, within all this, we’re continuing to seek to be #BusyLivingWithMets… now when/where can I next find an opportunity for wild swimming?!

Andrew Gwynne, MP

I was incredibly grateful to my own MP who shared information about our campaign across his social media:

This Week’s Side Effects

I wrote last week about the overall side effects (and the fact that the treatment is shrinking the tumours), and this week in many ways it’s much the same.

Being Thankful

As we head into a deeper lockdown (doesn’t seem to make that much difference to my life to-be-honest, though still hoping people can come and join me in my back yard before too many more weeks!), wait for the impact of Brexit (and hope that Trump gets toppled this week) – I have an app called ‘3 good things‘ that I use last thing at night to remind me that however dark things get, there’s always something to be thankful for (even if it’s that I’m still breathing, or that the rain wasn’t TOO heavy today, etc.). I am not overthinking this – and doubtless will think of many other things later:

Featured image cartoon by Tassia Haines.

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