024: When Fear Kills... let's talk about Secondary Breast Cancer

Updated: Jun 22, 2021


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Does the topic of secondary breast cancer make you uncomfortable? Is it the invisible elephant in the room that no one's discussing? Have you had a concern about secondary breast cancer but didn't feel heard when you were talking with your provider or your providers? Secondary breast cancer and recurrence are both ongoing concerns in cancerland, and so today we're going to talk about it. My guest today is one of my international breast friends and describes herself as a cocktail slinging, art doing, zip-lining, horse rider before being diagnosed with secondary breast cancer at the age of just 28. Tassia Haines is an amazing advocate and has an incredible blog called Pink Is Not My Colour. Her writing style is rife with an authenticity that comes with a diagnosis like cancer. Join us as Tassia and I talk about fear, secondary breast cancer, and how it's not about dying with cancer, but how you choose to live with it.


Tassia Haines:

Blog: https://pinkisnotmycolour.weebly.com/concept-art.html

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tassiahaines

Art Page on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/creeching_koshka

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TassiaHaines


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Transcript

Tammey Grable-Woodford

Hello and welcome to Your Killer Life, a podcast where we talk about the really real realities of a killer diagnosis like breast cancer with a focus on health, hope and happiness as we build an intentional killer life. I am your host, Tammey Grable-Woodford, and thank you for listening in.


I have a question. Does the topic of secondary breast cancer make you uncomfortable? Is it the invisible elephant in the room that no one's discussing?


Have you had a concern about secondary breast cancer but didn't feel heard when you were talking with your provider or your providers? Secondary breast cancer and recurrence are both ongoing concerns in cancer land, and so today we're going to talk about it. My guest today is one of my international breast friends and describes herself as a cocktail slinging, art doing, zip lining, horse rider, hopefully not at the same time, the zip line in the horse before secondary breast cancer at the age of just 28.


Tassia is an amazing advocate and has an incredible blog called Pink is Not My Colour. And she is joining us from Wales. And so color is C-O-L-O-U-R , which will be in the show notes.


Her writing style is rife with authenticity that comes with, well face it, a diagnosis like cancer and Tassia. I just love your tagline. It's not about dying with cancer, but how you choose to live with it.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

Could you tell us a little bit about you?


Tassia Haines

Thank you Tammey that was lovely. Yeah, so basically I had primary breast cancer at twenty four. Yeah, 2016. I won't linger on that too much. Basically went through it. You know the usual chemotherapy, discectomy, had radiotherapy and then I was on remission. Essentially. You know what, it's like you're fixed now. Off you go.


Tassia Haines

So I went off to live my life for a bit, that's where the ziplining also and stuff came into it, and then at twenty eight, so January 2020, I was diagnosed. But on December the thirty first I went to a general practitioner, so the GP, with back pain. So I've been having all weeks of December, fell down the stairs at the start of December. Brilltiant. So I left it kind of a month and then it started getting worse and worse. I thought I better go and check this out.


So I went December 31st seen a back specialist. Long story short, because it is a long story, pretty much. I went back and forth to the general practitioner six times and I was assessed ten times. So by different people, including the supposed back specialists. And by January 30th, so not even a month later or just about a month later, whilst waiting for a kidney scan, I was driving to work one day with my partner and I felt really sick.


I opened the car door just to lean out and do what you've got to do. And kind of like I just felt the blood rush from my face and this blackness. And I. I just remember feeling the pain at the back of my spine when I sort of came to my legs were underneath the car. I kind of fell out and my cheek was on like the cold, wet pavement. I mean, it was January it was freezing. And I remember I opened up, and I had longer hair then, like a bob, was just on the floor.


And when I sort of, sorry to be graphic, kind of like vomited a little bit just like this white, foamy, it had started like running towards me. And I remember the panic thinking, oh, my God, this white foam is coming towards me. But I couldn't move because my my back and my spine and everything, it's like tightened up. So again, long story short, pretty much 14 hours later. Then I had the diagnosis of secondary breast cancer.


But by that point, if I'm honest, it wasn't really a shock to me to kind of like what we touched on earlier when we were talking, the idea of, it is just kind of like you're young, you're not going to get breast cancer, let alone secondary breast cancer. But what I was told in my end of treatment care after my primary cancer was that there is a thirty three percent chance of this coming back and killing you. The fact that it's not represented in charities, it's not represented by your medical team, they don't bring that information towards you.


I find that really scary. And then that pretty much started my my advocacy journey then, if you like. And yeah, I kind of found your podcasts and everything.


Tassia Haines

So.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

Well, your blog is amazing. And you caught my attention with When Fear Kills. And I'm going to come back to that before I do, I just want to say, I mean, look at you've been in the Daily Mail. There's a YouTube video of you talking about metastatic breast cancer in your 20s. And I'm going to link to all of that in the show notes for listeners or anyone who's watching on YouTube. So you'll be able to click that and follow that.


So.


And before we talk about secondary breast cancer I do want to take a second, because I did I did want to pull up the definitions and I wanted to give those definitions not just off the top of my head, but recurrence of cancer, of course, is when cancer that is the same type as the original cancer comes back, although it may be in a different place, but a secondary cancer can develop after you've finished treatment for the first cancer.


And unlike recurrent, the secondary cancer is a different or new type of cancer diagnosis. And there are so many factors that play into that. And so when you, so you were secondary cancer and not recurrence?


Tassia Haines

Yes, that's right.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

OK. And I knew that because I cheated and looked at your blog and totally read your stuff before we got together. But I wanted to give the opportunity to talk about that because one of the things that caught my attention and I didn't I didn't realize this, right? All of us in cancer land were kind of a you know, we're all on the same train and at different stops and eating in different meal cars. Right? There's all kinds of stuff going on.


And so I hadn't thought about secondary breast cancer being something that might require a trigger warning. And, you know, to your point, you're right. Like you ring the bell or you finished treatment or, you know, whatever your healing process in treatment is and you sort of think about being done. And yet I know for me personally, you know, that I have a weird pain for two days and I'm like, oh, my gosh, you must be the elbow cancer because my elbows in.


Right. Like, you just you have that constantly in the back of your mind. And so two things I really want to talk about, not just the trigger warning. And I made a note so we'll both remember and come back to this, but also age bias. But your blog post, does secondary breast cancer upset you to the point that you need a trigger warning? Can you talk to us a little bit about that and kind of what your experiences there?


Tassia Haines

Yeah, I'll keep some of it vague, just not drop various people in it, doxxing, that sort of thing, but a few incidences occurred last year. So like you said, I thought having been through primary cancer, too, like you just said, I thought we were all on the same train, all in the same boat. I didn't realize how sort of cliquey cancer communities can be. So shocking that was. I thought, wow, we've all got this life-altering illness in my case.


And Stage four case. Stage four, by the way, is metastatic secondary for anyone confused. Yeah. Is, wow, we're dying with it. So, you know, can, you know I got a pretty thick skin. I'm OK, but you don't need to be so mean kind of thing. So basically it would happen. I like to go to a lot of forums. I like to find a lot of younger women dealing with it. My process of dealing with it is just to talk, talk, talk, talk, talk till the cows come home.


So when I'm on certain forums and things, so you get into some discussion with people. And what I found is I've got to stop, start taking myself out of some younger women forums and start putting myself in secondary breast cancer forums specifically because, now I must stress it doesn't happen often, but it has happened a number of times to put me off. You will get maybe one in a couple of people who you talking about it, and then you you're not trying to bring the mood down or anything.


Say you sharing chemo tips or something like that. Then you might say something which they are, you know, stage four and you might say something that's on your mind thinking it's a safe space, like, well, I'm not sure if I'm going to live to my wedding. Yeah. You just if you can't speak openly in a cancer forum, where can you speak openly? And you might get some people because of some of it's anonymous to say like, oh, I don't think that's the place for this kind of conversation.


It's happened online as well. Certain charity in the UK, certain charity Facebook pages. There was a friend of mine who was featured on one of these on the charity Facebook page talking about her secondary cancer. And there were a few comments. They've been deleted, I understand, a few months ago. And there were people in the comments kind of saying, "I didn't need to see this on my Facebook page", you know, and it's really like, wow, I'm sorry that our life offends you.


But you you kind of the frustrating thing about this is the advocacy and raising awareness that we do it is not for us. It's too late for us, unfortunately. I mean, hell, if I knew there was a 33% that I might get it. I might have been a little bit more vigilant. I certainly would have pushed a lot harder not to have ten blinking assessments. So, yeah. So chemo brain.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

You are in the right place, you don't have to apologize for that.


Tassia Haines

Cheers. Cheers to my friend. The thought that breast cancer. Can you help me, Tammey?


Tammey Grable-Woodford

I sure can. Absolutely. Well you know, so we were talking about just in the forums and I find this so interesting because I know my personal perspective has always just been, you know, none of us asked for this shit show. Right? Like, we were just sort of drafted and we're all here going through it and doing the best that we can to live our best life with what we have going on. And everybody we're all at different stages.


We're all, you know, even you can have two people with the exact same type of cancer, with two different medical oncology recommendations, doing two different treatment regimens. And so you just you kind of never know. I know that from my own experience with my second opinions. Right. How drastically they varied. And so we are all in the same boat. And if we can't have grace and love and support for one another, I just I, I would only hope that we could find that regardless of the stage, regardless of gender, I've had a few male breast cancer survivors on.


And so it is a little heartbreaking. And at the same time, I can say that as someone who's been through it, I understand. Right, hurt people, hurt people, and not always intentionally as we grapple with the realities of really what cancer can look like and death, you know, I can't I can't speak for the UK, but I can speak for the states.


Like we don't like talking about that. So, you know, death is a tough topic.


And yet when you hear those words that you have cancer, you're mortality and death are are all of the sudden, you know, like a two by four to the forehead, it is something that you are facing and so,


I can understand some people wanting to, I guess, protect their their mind space for lack of a better way to put it. But at the same time, I would hope that we also have enough grace to understand that we have sisters and brothers in the same space, that need to have these conversations in an open, authentic, genuine, caring, loving way because we are all facing reality. Bottom line, yes, we are all walking towards the same destination, death and taxes. None of us get out of it.


But there is a whole new level of awareness that comes with a cancer diagnosis. And so I'm so sorry that you face that. And I will tell you, I will share I've noticed some of those similar things when I was first diagnosed and I was in a in a forum and said that I had metastases to my lymphatic system, to my lymph nodes as well as my dermis, I was immediately and not so nicely corrected that I had micromets. Otherwise I would be stage four.


And it was interesting to me because again, in that environment, you would hope that we're just lifting each other up and helping each other out. And I only knew what my doctor provided me right like I did. And I don't have a medical degree. Did not stay at a Motel six last night. This is not my area of expertise.


So, you know, I'm learning with everyone else. And I'm so sorry you had that experience. And I am still kind of surprised, especially from a charity aspect, that some of that would be deleted, because in many ways, when it comes to advocacy, it seems like an important part of the message. This is the reality that we're dealing with, and there is a real sense of urgency. There should be a real sense of urgency because of it.


Tassia Haines

Yeah, you're right, I mean, to be honest with you, speaking from the heart. After I was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer and I got worse, the first bit of chemo done and then I was on more regular treatment and I could walk, I started getting into advocacy, Because I thought there's got to be something more like personally, my health care wasn't great. I was let down by more doctors, not just in the diagnostics stage. I was let down by more doctors than I was, you know, made well.


So skeptical is a word. I never really felt like I could fully trust in them. So, yeah, the issue sort of came that's it right? I'm going to have to make some connections. Let's just get involved, throw myself in. And the more I started learning about secondary breast cancer death started to become the easy thing to deal with. I thought, well, I know I'm going to die of secondary breast cancer when it comes.


I don't know. The lifespan that's quoted a lot in the UK is two to three years and then other sources say three to five years, though they don't know exactly because they haven't even got the right data. We'll go into that in a second. And so basically it was like, wow, that is there's no consistency where you live. It's all throw caution to the wind. And the only thing you can rely on is the charities, which aren't let's just say they could be doing a lot better as well.


And again, I will elaborate on all that, not just screw everyone over and just be like everything's all well. I mean, I'm still alive. So obviously some things are going well. But I do think if I hadn't taken a lot of things into my own hands, I don't think I'd be sitting here talking to you right now. That's not say you don't listen to your doctor. That's just saying try to understand, like you've said before, be your own advocate.


Try and understand what's in front of you. Empower yourself. Doctors are not gods. Yes, they are educated in it. You should listen to them. But it's a conversation at the end of the day, not a dictatorship.So, yeah.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

I love that you said that because self advocacy is so important. And I always joke that you're the the resident expert when it comes to your body because you've been living in it for however many years you've had it. And so you really, truly are. And it is a dialog. And so I kind of do want to go back and ask that question about age bias, because at, did you say you were twenty six when you had that secondary.


Tassia Haines

Twenty-eight.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

Twenty-eight. OK, so originally at twenty-four, in 2016, and then you were twenty-eight with the secondary. So twenty-eight you're still young. And you know the crazy thing about cancer is that I was super healthy at the age of forty-three and like literally doing pull-ups running every other day exercising and here I had a stage three B cancer growing inside of me. Who knew. Right? And so it's sort of this weird disease that until you know it's there and start monitoring it sometimes it's a really sneaky and so at the age of twenty-eight and you were horseback riding and ziplining and doing all these things.


So I can see where a doctor might at first think, oh well you're twenty-eight, you're active, you're doing all these things. It's probably just you twisted your back, you torqued a thing and yet ten times is a lot. And so I think that when it comes to patient advocacy, you know, my heart actually breaks for you, Tassia, because you shouldn't have had that moment in the car and on the highway to get somebody to listen.


And so what changes have you kind of made for yourself when it comes to self-advocacy after? Because I imagine you're a bit of a bulldog of a self-advocate after that.


Tassia Haines

Well, basically, since after the chemo and all the rest of it, I have been lucky, like I've been stable, growing slowly but within the parameters. So I'm happy on this treatment line. Before that, there were certain things. So basically when I was in hospital, every time a nurse would come in and give me my meds and line them up. What's that? What's the mg? How much? Why am I on that? Every time?

And think of this like four times a day in the hospital. And I did actually, again, not not badmouth the people that work in hospitals at all. Like I love them, but got a couple of occasions because they are human. A few agency nurses might have gotten some of my dosages wrong or the wrong meds, like someone maybe accidentally gave me another shot of paracetamol again. But then luckily because I was I was high on morphine, but I bloody knew what I was taking.


And then it kind of like I got a bit annoyed because when I left hospital, I was on a lot, I was on a high dosage of steroids for about a month. I needed them at the time. But long story short, because my life is just full of long story short and we'd be out all day if I went into it. I was on the steroids and they didn't really need to be longer than a week. So within the space of a month, I'd gone from like nine and a half stone to 13 stone.


No word of a lie, like, you know, my bag stretch is like being pregnant, but just like on steroids.


And what I went into the oncologist meeting and this was just before covid hit, by the way. So you can't really blame that you know, everyone blames it. But back then, it was legit, just issues due to certain miscommunications, hidden issues here and there. Again, I can't really go into it, but let's just say, yeah, I was on medication, I should have been on. And also, again, it was assumed that the cancer they had would be the same protein HER2 negative as I was on primary.


So HER2 is the protein that sort of covers the cancer cells? They assumed I would be that because it's like only a five percent chance. Turns out I was HER2 positive, so I'd been on the wrong medication for a month. So let's just say when it came to self advocacy, I felt like I learned the hard way of I need to be on it. So then I just researched myself well, what it meant forums and websites and just constantly.


And then when I joined MET UP UK, later last year it was brilliant because I literally have a question and is just full of knowledgeable women in that group. So it's just constantly like, what does this mean? What does that mean? And I'm getting that. I'm so thankful to have found that now.


But there's so many women that don't have that and it's scary. And they have to turn to the charities and the charities don't work around the clock and. Yeah.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

And limited budgets because they're charities. And so they're you know, they're dependent on the funding that they can get through donations. But this is really important. So they it sounds like correct me if I'm wrong, it sounds like they assumed you had a recurrence, but you actually had a secondary cancer. Is that correct? Like they started by treating you as though it was the same cancer and it was just a recurrence of that. And then you had some additional testing and they found out it was not that it had changed or something had changed and it was a secondary or a different diagnosis?


Tassia Haines

I think it was more along the lines of they knew it was secondary because of the CAT scan they done. Because I should have mentioned earlier, my bad, it's breast cancer, but it's in the bones. And I basically got it from both my femurs, my hips, my ribs, my lumbar spine, all with the vertebrae, the neck and the skull. So from the extent of that and from the CT and MRIs, they could see that that was metastasized.


So that was secondary cancer. It wasn't like a local reoccurrence or anything like that. That's a good question. I actually consider that to be an option. But yeah, they just assumed that it might have just been.


Basically, breast cancer cells can mutate so what , Im not an expert, what I think happened is it was from the original primary I had, and even though there was no evidence that when I went into remission, it only takes one cell to find the right environment. And if you've got bad luck, that's the way it is. And yeah, I think it just mutated into HER2 positive and that's what got me to where I am now, eventually.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

And I think it's also important to kind of pause for a moment and say, because we did both share experiences that were maybe not positive in some of the online groups and forums and things like that. And sometimes it's just not the right energy, not the right room, not the right right place. Because as you just said, there are those spaces where you have so many women and men who are sharing their experiences and so wonderfully open and authentic and genuine in their care and being taking care in how they are interacting with others who are on this journey.


And I know for me, you know, once you kind of find your home, you're like, this is this is great.


You're contributing to community. You have community. And especially with all the covid craziness being able to have, that has been absolutely amazing. And you're right, it's everywhere, from charities to forums to Facebook groups to Clubhouse rooms to like there is just there are a lot of us, a lot of us.


And yeah, once you find your your sort of like your your cancer community home, it's a really, really good feeling.


Tassia Haines

It's a club you don't want to be a part of.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

No.


Tassia Haines

But they kind of help you out at the same time because you found your people.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

Yeah, sorry. No, you're absolutely right.


I think about how lonely and hard this would be. And, you know, it's just having at first when I was first diagnosed, of all the random things, a friend of mine said, hey, I have another friend who was just diagnosed with breast cancer. Can I connect the two of you? So we were diagnosed in the same month, and even though our treatments were different, our cancer types were different. And, you know, our choices in bilateral unilateral like mastectomy, all the things are different, but still kind of having a buddy to go through it.


Sadly, since then, I've had three other friends who've been diagnosed with cancer and so sort of had this tiny cohort of people I already knew and loved that, you know, like literally being with my friend and I being the first ones, you know, people saying, what is it look like when you're going through reconstruction and sharing photos and having those conversations, which was really so helpful. And, you know, then kind of stepping out from that and looking at some of the other groups and things, you know, and some of us went to in person groups.


I live in a very rural area. So the online thing worked for me. I'm a loving Clubhouse right now, the Clubhouse app for that, because that's just been fantastic. But finding that community is is really important. And I think the other thing interesting about the community is that sometimes I shouldn't say, sometimes too often you'll see a woman who will post a picture of something or ask a question and say, you know, this doesn't feel right and I can't reach my provider.


I don't know if I should go to the emergency room or not. I don't know. And it's, you know, with. Honestly, any major procedure, but, you know, when you have implants and you have cadaver tissue and you're going through reconstruction or even if it's your own tissue reconstruction, cellulitis is a real concern. MRSA, is a real concern like all of these things. And to have that knowledge base, that collective is so powerful and such a good resource.


Tassia Haines

Definitely, yeah, I agree.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

So what would you really want, men and women who have had breast cancer to know about secondary breast cancer and how to advocate for themselves?


Tassia Haines

Cool, I'm glad you asked that. So, yeah, obviously in the U.K., things are a little bit different to the US. Everything I say can only say from my knowledge as someone who lives in the U.K., but I'm sure it must work similar where you are.


Other than the fact that we have the NHS, I'm imagining it's kind of similar. But anyway, I can go into from a British perspective. Sorry.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

Don't apologize.


Tassia Haines

Yeah. So basically I just want to give a little bit of context for going into exactly what if that's OK. Well, earlier on when I said I was feeling disturbed about the things I've learned about secondary cancer, it went beyond like the clicks and trigger warnings and all that sort of thing.


It's basically feeling like being let down all the time, not just by your oncologists or whatever, but by your by your government, by the charities. So when I started doing more like self advocacy, I was doing a lot of research for my blog and I found Cancer Research UK is the biggest cancer research charity in the UK hence Cancer Research UK. In 2018 they turned over 634 million pounds.


And that's just in one year 2018, and it just made me think and I know in the grand scheme of things, 634 million might not be that much money, but I thought, well, isn't it mad they're generating that kind of money every single year?


But we still have to go through things like chemotherapy, which has been around since World War Two. That's interesting. So started digging a little bit more, a bit more and I saw secondary breast cancer, OK, so by then I had seen MET UP UK and the statistics presented forward and thirty one people die of breast cancer in the UK, it's the biggest killer of women under 50 in the UK. So all these shocking numbers are coming up to me.


And I thought, wow, the one that stuck out the most to me was thirty three percent of women that get breast cancer will go on to develop metastatic breast cancer. So one in three people. I thought that's huge. Surely that means that's represented in the charity. So I went to the biggest breast cancer charity in the UK, Breast Cancer Now. And they kind of help lobby the government. They put a bit of money into secondary research, clinical trials, that sort of thing.


And I thought this will be the one to go to and I couldn't find any transparent information. All I could find was they aim to make breast cancer a chronic illness by 2050. And I thought I could die right now and I could be reborn and live to the same age I am now and it'll still kill me by the time they have a path. So I thought and there was nothing there to sort of say what they were doing towards that.


It was just very not, it was a lack of transparency. So it's the forums I asked around one lady kindly sent me a screenshot of a chat she had with someone that some time ago and the number they came up with was Breast Cancer Now spent 18 percent of their budget towards secondary resources. And I thought, well, surely it should be at least thirty-three percent if you want to be diplomatic. And then I thought, well, secondary cancer, secondary breast cancer is the only breast cancer that kills. You can't die from primary breast cancer.


A secondary breast cancer will kill you. It is a death sentence, not flowering it up. That's what it is. And. Kind of the shying away from just that truth, you know, like this is what it is and kind of what we were talking about, some women that have had primary might feel a bit upset and for their own personal mental health, don't want to deal with it, but know it's a very real risk. One in three is a massive risk.


Everyone needs to be aware of it. So you sort of looking around and you realize no one's bought that, everyone seems really like, just completely apathetic, you know. I wrote in the blog, coined it myself, I loved it. I was like, well apathy kills more than direct action. So we need to take direct action on apathy. And that goes all the way up to the government. You know, like I said, the government put a mandate out in 2012 to find out how many people in the UK were actually living with metastatic breast cancer.


It still hasn't been done.


It's still you know, it's taken nine years to literally, literally count people with my illness and go and put it into the picture. That's it. I know they need to have a meeting about an audit and I'm like, why is this so hard? Yeah, so my little rant there. But this is what a lot of people don't understand. It's secondary breast cancer doesn't need to be the death sentence that it is. Really doesn't if we would give them access to more drugs that we can't get on the NHS, a lot of people have to crowdfund for their own drugs.


Also, there are silly rules that don't need to be there. So say if you have a certain type of chemo on line one of treatment and then say that treatment runs out, it's growing, you go on your line two. By the time you're on line three, you could have this option of this wonderful clinical trial drug. But because you've had this chemo trial one, you can't have that. Right? So these weird red tapes that don't need to exist.


They won't operate on you. They won't remove certain tumors because it's a little bit like, what's the point? Even though it will prolong your life. I personally believe that if they took even just the tools available to them now, I could, I would guess that I could probably live to be 60. I would be that confident if they literally used everything they could on me right now that they just don't. It's a money game, isn't it? But it feeds into itself until they collect data in the UK, then they don't actually know how urgent it is.


And then if they don't get the representation, then they're not going to collect data. So it's just constantly. Meanwhile, you know, I've lost eight friends since September. We are dying very quickly, especially since covid. It's a very real issue. It's very scary issue. Yeah. Sorry.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

No, please don't apologize. I'm over here and I'm thinking to myself, like, there's so much data that's already known. They know that thirty three percent. One out of three. Right? And yeah. And and you have something we don't have in the States, which is NHS.


So I would hope there would be ICD codes that they could pull where they could get this information.


And so it's really interesting.


And as you're talking, I'm actually wondering to myself if part of it is because it doesn't fit the narrative of cancer survival, which I have a blog post from when I was first diagnosed talking about cancer math and how ridiculous it is because you're considered a survivor if you make it five years.


Right? And then but you can still end up with a secondary and you can end up with a recurrence, but you are still a survivor because you made it to five years.


And so it's like this wishy-washy math thing that happens where we count the data we want to count. And then I think there's also this. And you talk about the sexualization of breast cancer on your blog.


But I think there's also this, there are a couple of things. There's the sexualization. There's the warrior subculture where, you know, we're all warriors. And if we didn't fight it right, that's how we lost the battle. Right? I mean, that's not how it's said. But as a person who's diagnosed with cancer, that's how it sometimes feels. And I know not for everyone. And and I want to also say I support anyone who who that is a part of their healing process, their journey.


And they are absolutely can relate to that.


It wasn't something that related was relatable for me. And then also, when you think about I call October, the Cancer Awareness Month, I call it Cancer Cochella. Right? Like, so here we have Cancer Cochella every month where we acknowledge the fact that we don't have a cure and we're still, quote unquote, in a race for the cure and we're doing all these things for the cure. And while we're doing it, you have women who are literally fighting for their lives, but damn, their makeup is on point there.


Right. Like the imagery that is given to us and shown to us. And so as you were talking, it really had me wondering if part of it is that it just doesn't fit that cancer narrative or the optic that that that they want to work with. Or and by they, I don't even know who I mean, society, you know, whatever, that that is the standard, I'll just put it that way, the optic that is the social norm of what breast cancer is, because it does feel oftentimes with breast cancer, like we should be celebrating that we got a boob job, which we did not, that we should be grateful that we got the easy cancer.


Right, like all of these things that are said to us.