The last 5 years I have been living my life straddling a fence. I fight every day to stay balanced. Steady. On top and moving forward trying to live my life while also making some kind of difference.
There are days when I don’t feel well or I have side effects from treatments. I struggle to keep my balance. Then there are days when news of a another life stolen from this insidious disease makes it way through friends and social media like a sick game of telephone. Its all I can do not to fall flat on my ass onto the ground.
Last year, singer/songwriter P!nk released a song: “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken”. I’m sure she had her own reasons for writing this song. Clearly, it’s not because she knows me or understands what a day in the life of any Metastatic Breast Cancer advocate is like, however, that is exactly what this song is to me.
“I will have to die for this I fear
There’s rage and terror and there’s sickness here
I fight because I have to”
The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2018, 41,400 men & women will die from MBC. That number hasn’t decreased in over 30 years. But that’s not widely talked about.
The only way to see that number move in the other direction is to actively fund meaningful research that will focus on Metastatic disease and drugs that offer longer progression free survival.
“There’s not enough rope to tie me down
There’s not enough tape to shut this mouth
The stones you throw can make me bleed
But I won’t stop until we’re free
Wild hearts can’t be broken
No, wild hearts can’t be broken”
Over the past 5 years, I have held several fundraisers benefitting the only two organizations that exclusively fund metastaic breast cancer research. I have traveled to Washington D.C. three times to help organize and participate in public demonstrations to raise awareness. I’ve spoken to lawmakers and I am vocal on a daily basis on social media. If it’s going to make any kind of impact, I’ll do it. If it could potentially save just ONE life – ONE. I’m there.
You bet there isn’t enough rope, chains or straps to tie me down. You’ll never find any tape or glue to shut my mouth. (Ask my family – they’ll vouch for the mouth).
Sure, there will be people that may say “why bother, it’s too late” or “Go out and enjoy the time you have left; stop focusing on ‘cancer'” To those people my message is simple: I’m not just doing this for me. I’m doing this because I need to make sure my future grandchildren won’t ever have to worry about this.
Wild hearts can’t be broken, but every time another friend dies, tiny cacks appear. Those cracks are there to remind me and the rest of us that tirelessly advocate that it’s essential and to keep plugging along.
This song is my battle cry. It’s what motivates me when my headspace says I can’t. It’s what I listen to after learning of another death.
I owe P!nk a debt of gratitude for writing what feels like an anthem for all those living with and madvocating for a terminal diagnosis.
Should anyone happen to run into her, please pass that message on to her.