Today is a day that is marked with great sadness and a dose of reality for all of us who wake up daily fighting the good fight against Metastatic Breast Cancer. We lost one of our own, a fellow MBC sister, the courageous Holley Kitchen. A lady who managed to make a huge impact on our cause by allowing the world to share in her journey. I was introduced to Holley for the first time many months ago right after my own diagnosis. She made a video that found it's way onto my Facebook newsfeed. When I watched it, her story was like listening to my own story and I knew then in that moment that I was indeed not alone in this fight. I quickly found her Facebook page called Holley Kitchen and the Cancer Lifers so I could continue to follow her for guidance and support. What I found through her mostly though was "empowerment". Many people who are diagnosed with terminal cancer choose to stay quiet. They choose to hide the most difficult parts of this journey from everyone they love because it is a painful and difficult thing to face. We wake up every day and put on our happy faces and our armor of strength in an effort to hide the fear and anxiety that is an every day reality for us all. I admired Holley for being brave enough to share not only her moments of gratitude and happiness but also those most difficult moments when she was sick and when the fighting obviously became very difficult to bear. It was because of Holley Kitchen that I decided to do the same and invite people to share in my journey which is only just beginning. I feel that it is important to share the truth about what those of us with MBC go through from year to year. The fight is never ending... we have no choice but to fight forever until our lives come to an end. Because if we choose not to fight, we die. That is the reality. The other reality is that no matter how hard we fight, Cancer will eventually win. Someone described it perfectly when they said it feels like we are always standing in the middle of a busy intersection dodging cars, occasionally we get hit and one day we will get hit hard enough that we cannot bounce back.
Now more than ever I am empowered to continue to educate and share my story with anyone who will listen. And now, I choose to continue in Holley's honor, to keep fighting her fight, which is also my fight, and the fight that right now over 40,000 men and women are fighting and who will unfortunately lose this battle in the coming year. As I've said in earlier posts, I do not fight for myself... I fight for my daughters, my son, my husband and everyone who is impacted by the loss of someone they love to this disease. We must turn away from the pretty in pink propaganda that we have made great strides toward a cure when that is not the case! Just as many men and women are dying today as there were two decades ago. Awareness is not a cure! Now more than ever we need to push even harder to see that money raised for a cure goes exactly to that. Are you listening Komen??? I hope so... because the Metastatic community is not going to be silent any longer!
I would like to end my brief post with this beautiful response I received from my friend Robin. It was directed to me but I think it is very profound and fitting for this moment:
"Cancer loves everyone in his wicked way of taking lives. It does not care what gender, what age, what nationality, it just loves to take control of your body. However it will never have your soul or your spirit. It will never have the love and kindness we have for you. No one will stand by and help it fight. We will all be fighting this Monster beside you."
To Holley... Cancer took your life... but it did not take your spirit or your soul. Your love, kindness and courage is what you have left behind. I for one will continue to remember that each and every day and use it to pay it forward. Your life and journey made a huge impact on me and made a difference in my life. We never met, we never even knew each other, but it doesn't matter... I valued your life as much as I valued my own.
Click HERE to watch Holley's Video...