It’s probably a new word to many, as it was to me a year ago. I am one of the unique cases, diagnosed with Oligometasatic disease.
Definition of Oligometastatic Disease
• Oligometastasis is an intermediate state of cancer spread between localized disease and widespread metastases.
• The metastases are limited to a single or limited number of organs.
• Patients with oligometastatic disease may be amenable to a curative therapeutic
I do not belong to any local support groups for cancer. Just one very small online group. My choice. A good one.
First, most support groups are for early stage cancers, 0, I, II and III. Showing up for one of those, potentially puts an elephant in the room, as you are, as one diagnosed stage IV, every woman’s worse night mare.
Second, I do not like to rehash my diagnosis over and over and over and over again.
Third, I am a thriver ~ not a fighter, survivor or warrior.
However being oligo puts you in this strange place of not really fitting in to any group, which makes it even easier to not share at all.
Recently in the online group I belong to, someone made a comment about feeling like they were in the wrong club.
(why does cancer have to even be a club? I didn’t pay a membership fee.)
The women began to share the extensiveness of their advanced stage cancer…..and I began to feel ashamed at my oligo status.
Here is an excerpt from my response to the thread:
I have been reading all of the posts in regards to sharing where our mets are, treatment etc. I have been hesitant to share…..until now. Here is why….
When I attended the LBBC in April of this year, one of the things that I felt was “guilty”. Why? Because here I was oligometastatic, with one, yes one, bone met to my acromian, while there were others pulling around oxygen tanks, in compression cuffs, etc. I remember sitting outside with others that were just like me after one of the sessions, (fellow oligo’s) and we all felt the same way…… we all questioned why we came at all. WE all had been diagnosed with stage IV, however it seemed that even in the cancer culture , there was a hierarchy of who had it worse than others.
I have come to realize that cancer is cancer. Stage IV is Stage IV, Advanced is advanced…..it all sucks, whether we have one spot or innumerable spots. We all live this tight rope journey, where half the time we don’t know what the heck is going on inside of our bodies, BUT yet we choose to live…….everyday. For some of us, we are stable, others are active, and maybe in just a few months the status’s will change and we may find ourselves in the other position.
But this I know, all of us Metavivors need each other.
In early stages of cancer 0, I, II and III, women come together because they have this fighting, warrior, I-can-overcome mentality. When we are diagnosed with Stage IV, we are catapulted into a new reality…..the one that poses the question….”how will you live your life?” I believe that we move into the stage of “Thriving” and what that looks like for each us is different.
I need those of you who have traveled this road much longer than I. I need your wisdom and your insight and your encouragement. I believe those with more advanced mets need us too, the oligometastatics, for what, I don’t know exactly yet, however its hard being an oligo in a room full of non oligos.
Thanks for letting me share …..transparency and vulnerability is key to living with courage and daring greatly as Brene Brown would say.
Thanks for reading.