The average age of women at the time of menopause is 51, with the most common age range being between 48 – 55 years old. But I don’t like averages. After all, the average years of survival from being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer is only three years. That stat doesn’t sit well with me, so I plan on crushing those numbers. I don’t want to be in ‘that meaty part of the curve’.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is Steven Koren. His G.P.A. is a solid 2.0! Right in that meaty part of the curve – not showing off, not falling behind.
– George Costanza
While the number of my cancerversaries is still to be determined, I am already not the average age of your typical menopausal lady. With the help of modern science and at the age of 35, I am officially going through the change: hot flashes, night sweats, extreme moodiness, a little weight gain around the mid-section. This all sounds lovely, I know, but because I am now considered to be in menopause, I can begin my new treatment, which is obviously a positive!
So, tonight I take my first dose of letrazole, which like tamoxifen is a hormonal treatment, and is a super duper tiny pill – it is amazing it does anything at all! I tolerated tamoxifen beautifully, so I am expecting letrazole will behave the same way for me in terms of side effects – but more importantly, will be effective for a very very long time.
When I found out my cancer had spread to my liver, I reached out to a friend I met along this journey who is living with metastatic breast cancer as well. I wanted to know if she took tamoxifen, and if it stopped working, what was next. She told me she shut down her ovaries, then had them out and also began on letrazole which she is still on and tolerating quite well. A simple e-mail exchange with her put me at ease and having connected with her showed me how important it was for me to have made friends with other women living with mets. Being connected with others in the metastatic community provides me with a group of friends who truly understand what it is like to live with this disease and can also act as fantastic resources.
However, there is a very difficult side to being part of this community. Unfortunately, with the nature of this disease it too often takes the lives of young women. Yesterday I found out that two beautiful young women I met on my yoga retreat in February passed away. This was extremely difficult news to receive. I thought about how their lives were cut way too short, I thought about the pain and suffering their family and friends are going through and then selfishly, I thought about me. I am not really that spiritual, but last night I prayed that these two women are at peace and their loved ones can find comfort in the memories they shared. I also prayed for myself and the other women who I know are living with mets – that one day there will be a cure and we can put this all behind us.