Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer: Insights and Inspiration

Embracing My Strength Navigating Metastatic Breast Cancer with Confidence

Embracing My Body with Metastatic Breast Cancer

By Deltra Kroemer, Caryn Sullivan, and Ann Gootee, as told to Keri Wiginton

Embrace the Journey, Connect with Others, and Let It Go

When faced with a diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer, one might expect despair and defeat. But these incredible women – Deltra, Caryn, and Ann – have found strength, resilience, and even humor in the face of adversity.

How have they adapted to their diagnosis over time?

Deltra, ever the optimist, refused to let cancer dominate her life. She decided to focus on living, not dying. Caryn, inspired by the lyrics of “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen, embraced the mantra and cried tears of liberation. Ann urged us to remember that this journey is anything but linear. It’s a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs, progress and setbacks, with the occasional midday nap to recharge.

Finding Solace on the Hardest Days

On those tough days, what brings comfort to these brave women?

Deltra finds solace in journaling and connecting with others, knowing she’s not alone in her experiences. Caryn cherishes the simple pleasures, whether it’s watching her favorite soap opera, snuggling with her son, or finding solace on the beach. And Ann seeks solace in prayer and engaging conversations with loved ones, finding respite in leisurely walks during pleasant weather.

Embracing New Perspectives on Self-Care and Body Image

Is there anything easier to do after diagnosis? Surprisingly, yes!

Deltra has become the queen of self-care, unapologetically prioritizing rest and relaxation. Caryn shares a hidden perk—rarely wearing a bra and loving every minute of it. And for Ann, getting ready now takes a fraction of the time, thanks to her carefree approach to styling her hair and maintaining her eyebrows with microblading.

Furthermore, cancer has changed their perspective on their bodies. Deltra shifted from feeling betrayed by her body to showering it with love and affirmation. Caryn discovered newfound physical beauty beyond her once-prized features, embracing the wholeness of her being. As for Ann, she takes a lighthearted approach to questions about her grooming habits, thanks to chemotherapy-induced hair loss.

Letting Go of Worries and Embracing What Matters

Before their diagnosis, what were their worries? And what have they let go of?

Deltra realized that what matters most is what’s happening inside her body, not how it appears to others. She now lives life on her terms, unbothered by judgments or expectations. Caryn gained clarity amidst her battles with cancer, learning to let go of things beyond her control and focus on what she could influence. As for Ann, she no longer frets over a few pounds, understanding that medications and treatments can cause weight fluctuations beyond her control.

Empowerment and Transformation

Have they made any lasting changes to their bodies or lives?

Deltra has shed the burden of negative body image and embraced self-acceptance. She seizes every opportunity in life, no longer waiting for the perfect moment. Caryn has pursued wellness with unwavering dedication, adopting a plant-based diet, prioritizing sleep, exercise, and incorporating mindfulness practices into her daily routine. Ann continues to prioritize a healthy lifestyle, making the most of her physical abilities.

Shifting Perspectives and Rediscovering What Truly Matters

Cancer has awakened a newfound perspective on life for these courageous women.

Deltra has realized that time is precious and should not be taken for granted. Caryn believes in holistic self-care, focusing on multiple aspects of wellness. And Ann has come to cherish the importance of deepening relationships with loved ones, expressing her love freely at the end of every conversation.

Words of Wisdom for Those Newly Diagnosed

For anyone beginning their journey with metastatic breast cancer, these resilient women have some advice to offer.

Deltra encourages taking time to process emotions, allowing yourself to feel and heal. And when you’re ready, raise your voice and join the supportive cancer community—knowing they understand like no one else. Caryn highlights the importance of seeking multiple opinions and gathering as much knowledge as possible. Each conversation can be a wellspring of valuable insights. Ann advises embracing your role as your own advocate, educating yourself, and considering second opinions. After all, this is your body and your life.

Supportive Strategies for Friends and Family

If someone you love faces metastatic breast cancer, how can you be there for them?

Deltra emphasizes the significance of respecting and supporting their choices while alleviating their burden by offering practical help without hesitation. Caryn suggests considering the patient’s preferences when offering assistance and being proactive with your support. And Ann reminds us to maintain open lines of communication, allowing patients to decide how much they want to share about their journey while offering steadfast support.

Final Words of Inspiration

These extraordinary women want you to know that life with metastatic breast cancer can still be cherished and embraced.

Deltra cherishes every moment, finding joy in the little things and deeply connecting with others. Caryn radiates love and positivity, showcasing how focusing on goodness can pave the way to happiness despite life’s challenges. Ann shares the importance of finding a support group to navigate this journey, highlighting the power of laughter in the face of adversity.

About Deltra: Deltra Kroemer, a true inspiration, faces metastatic breast cancer head-on with unwavering strength and courage. As an ambassador for For the Breast of Us, a website and community for women of color affected by breast cancer, Deltra continues to make a positive impact. She resides in Waterbury, CT.

About Caryn: Caryn Sullivan, a beacon of hope, has been living with metastatic breast cancer since 2013. As the founder of Pretty Wellness, author of the book Happiness through Hardship, and host of a podcast bearing the same name, Caryn uplifts others with her wisdom and resilience. She resides in Fairfield, CT.

About Ann: Ann Gootee embodies strength and determination as she battles metastatic breast cancer. Living alongside her husband of 37 years in Glen Ellyn, IL, Ann continues to defy the odds and inspire others with her courage.

Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. Help us create a community of support and inspiration for all those affected by metastatic breast cancer!