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Barbara is a mom, wife and nurse by training that is living with mBC. Barbara advocated for her health and getting a diagnosis. Surrounded by a community of family and friends, her strong support network and relationships help her manage living life with mBC.

This is Barbara’s story.

Diagnosis: In August 2014, I felt a bump on my back. I went to the doctor. After that visit, I was still having difficulty breathing and I felt weak, so I decided to go to the doctor again. One day, after going to hospital in an ambulance, an examination detected that my lungs were filling with fluid. I’m a nurse by training, so I knew that there were metastases in my lungs. And that it was a relapse of the cancer I had seven years earlier.

It was devastating! In a week, I was hospitalized in the ER with intubation in my chest. When my family and friends came to see me in the hospital, I told them the news. It was a real disaster for all of us! I felt like I was healthy! I had been jogging all summer with my husband and family.

Living with mBC: I had to stop working due to lack of energy and because my immune system was so weak. However, I still do yoga four times a week. Now, I feel good. I’m making the most of life. What motivates me, day after day, is my relationship with my daughter, my husband, my sisters, my parents, my friends, and others. I’m living life to the fullest! I also like recharging my batteries in nature. Life is good!

The concept of time is complex. The time is the present. I don’t see time the same way since my diagnosis. I spend more time on things I enjoy and with people I love. I take time to take care of myself. I want to be seen as a person who lives with passion, gives a lot of love and, most importantly, is not afraid to receive love.

To support people with metastatic breast cancer, you first have to keep treating them like normal people. Don’t label them and treat them with pity or sadness. People don’t talk about metastatic breast cancer much, because the word ‘metastatic’ is scary. People are uncomfortable that this cancer still has no cure. There is also so much to learn about breast cancer. Since the metastatic form seems to be less common, people talk about it less.

I’d like to tell people to trust their intuition. I was misdiagnosed twice. I persisted, since I knew that something was wrong. You have to listen to your body and your little inner voice.
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