Living Well with Recurrent and Metastatic Breast Cancer
Advocacy If you've had breast cancer, the possibility of recurrence and spread of breast cancer stays with you. This is a reality that Kimberly Jewett knows all too well.
Kimberly Jewett was shocked and scared when after nearly four years cancer free, she learned her breast cancer had returned as metastatic breast cancer (MBC), meaning it had spread outside of the breast tissue. Facing uncertainty and unsure of what her next step should be, Jewett, like many patients, turned to the internet to explore her options and find support. While she discovered a wealth of information, it quickly became overwhelming. To learn more about Jewett’s experiences with metastatic breast cancer, we asked her some questions about how she learned more about her diagnosis and found strength throughout her journey.
Mediaplanet: Being a two time survivor, what advice would you give to someone facing a metastatic breast cancer (MBC) diagnosis?
Kimberly Jewett: It is so important that when someone is diagnosed with breast cancer, and especially metastatic breast cancer, that they never let the diagnosis define them. Rather, they should strive to let it inspire and empower them to live their lives to the fullest. By surrounding themselves with loving, positive people, they can draw on the support of their loved ones to get them through this difficult time.
MP: How important is it to have information about MBC at your fingertips?
KJ: Having access to information about metastatic breast cancer is essential. Information is powerful and can make a most difficult journey easier to bear with knowledge and education. This is part of why it was so important to me to be part of the development of MBC Info Center, an online portal designed to provide many of the valuable resources that are necessary for women with metastatic breast cancer and their families.
MP: Which resources did you depend on when you had questions about your MBC diagnosis?
"It is so important that when someone is diagnosed with breast cancer, and especially metastatic breast cancer, that they never let the diagnosis define them. Rather, they should strive to let it inspire and empower them to live their lives to the fullest."
KJ: I found that the internet was great to connect with other patients like me, and find valuable resources and credible information about my specific disease state. However, when I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, it became more difficult to find information specific to my new needs. The launch of MBC Info Center was an important step in providing access to trusted information that supports the unique needs of women with MBC.
MP: How important is it for women to be their own healthcare advocate?
KJ: One thing I learned during my journey with breast cancer and metastatic breast cancer is that it is extremely important to be your own advocate. Three tips I always give women with breast cancer that I meet are trust what your body is telling you, be aware of yourself, and communicate regularly with your healthcare team.
MP: When you were battling cancer, where did you turn to find hope and strength?
KJ: So many things have given me strength through my best and worst times. I have great faith. I have an amazing family, dear friends , and two children that are the greatest blessings. My children encourage me by telling me how strong I am and how proud they are of me. I also have my story, and the ability to share my story with others and encourage them to be self-advocates gives me strength. This is where I find continued strength to continue my fight.
MP: How do you define courage?
KJ: Courage is looking fear right in the face, and overcoming its adversity.
MP: How have your BC and MBC diagnoses changed your life?
KJ: I would define that with one word. Gratitude. Having cancer twice has allowed me to appreciate and love life every day, to reflect how grateful I am: for each day God gives me, for allowing me to be a mom to my kids, and for being a voice for patients who don't have one today, and for the other patients that are fighting and surviving everyday of their lives.