In Loving
Memory of Jaspreet

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Jaspreet was first diagnosed with cancer in her early thirties. To better understand mBC to be able to share with others, she joined in-person and online communities, and blogged about her experiences.

This is Jaspreet’s story.

Diagnosis: Maybe I should just start from the beginning. I was originally diagnosed at the age of 31 with stage 3 inflammatory breast cancer, which is a rare and aggressive type of breast cancer. Treatment started quickly after my diagnosis. I went through chemo, surgery (mastectomy) and radiation. After months of recovering from treatment, I was feeling pretty good and getting back to life as… normal – or my new normal.

It had been just over a year since I finished treatment and all of a sudden I had a seizure at home and was rushed to the hospital. That’s when they discovered the cancer had metastasized from my breast to my brain. They found two tumors.

Treatment: I had emergency brain surgery to remove the big one and radiation on the smaller one that remained. I had been stable since January and only recently learned that there are three new tumors in my brain and I will be having radiation to treat those. It is very scary because there is no rhyme or reason to it. I have no idea if, when, or how many of these tumors will show up in my body. I am optimistic that recent treatment will stop the new tumors from growing and hopefully I will get a break from any new ones appearing for a little while.

Living with mBC: Thinking back to when I was first diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, I thought I was going to die right away. But then slowly I started reaching out and getting more information and realized that you can live well while being terminally ill. I reached out to Rethink Breast Cancer and they connected me with other women who were diagnosed with mBC, I also joined some Facebook groups that are specific to mBC. Hearing other women’s stories – that some of them are three years or four years out and are still doing OK – gave me so much hope.

Trying to explain mBC has been challenging; awareness is very low. Even the word ‘metastatic’ – no one I talked to knew what that meant. It’s almost a year after my diagnosis and I still get a lot of, ‘oh so you’re OK now?’, ‘when will you finish treatment? ’ I will be on treatment for the rest of my life, and I just wish that new treatment options become available and I stay ok until then. I share my experience on my blog and what mBC is, but there are still so many people that don’t know.

I’m very much a planner so initially I felt this immense amount of pressure to get everything in order because well you just never know. But, I’d say a few months ago, there was a turning point. I don’t really know what happened. I’m truly just now living in the moment.

I get scans done every two months. I think that’s part of the reasons I’m thinking about time differently. I don’t know what’s going to happen at the next scan and worrying about it won’t change anything – or at least I try to tell myself that.

My husband has always had this living in the moment mentality, and I had always been the opposite - as cliché as it sounds I guess opposites do attract. This kept us balanced but now I’ve moved to the other side - I am living more in the moment. I really understand and appreciate how it’s a nice headspace to be in.

I still have those moments where I think, ‘next year I want to do this’, or ‘can’t wait until this or that event’ but then I remember that I may not have that luxury of time and I truly don’t know what will happen with my cancer. If it’s something I can do now, I try to do it now. I can’t plan for things, which is liberating, in one way, but also scary. It’s scary that I can’t plan past two months, but in the same way it makes me live my life now.

I think the main thing I’d like people to know about mBC is the pressure of time, and this constant pressure to remain stable long enough for another better treatment option to become available and for it to work.
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