What is the life expectancy for stage IV metastatic breast cancer?

Jan 08, at the age of 34, I was diagnosed wit StageIV Metastatic Breast Cancer with over 25 tumors, in both breasts, lymph nodes, bones, liver, and lung.
I've been through it all! Spinal replacement, hip replacement, femur replacement, weekly taxol chemo, herceptin, zomeda and much more. Originally the doctor gave me 4 weeks to live, but I did treatment and it's now 15 months later, 95% of my cancer is gone. I’ve been told that I’m a medical miracle.
Last appointment with my oncologist, she told me that it's not a question of IF the cancer will start growing again, it's a matter of WHEN it will start growing.
I'm doing everything I can to fight this thing that I taken so much from me. Along with all my Western meds, I get acupuncture, reiki healing, and nutritional supplements.
Is it possible that I will still be able to live years? Anyone been through something similar? Any thoughts? Am I alone?

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Honey,
you came to the right place to see the various responses. There is so much wisdom here!

First, let me rejoice with you in where you are now!!
its a lot to go thru, but you sound like the energizer bunny and a timex watch!! but we are all still human and finite.
I do a lot of eastern/western/herb things too. And prayer and laughter and balance.

I was dxStage 4 in 1992, 17 years ago, age 36, upper left femur mets. At that time, they were doing autolougous bone marrow transplants as an option for later stage breast cancer. I had one at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa FL, thru the recommendation of my Orlando Onc.
I then followed up with Tamoxifen, and amazingly entered a ten year NED period. I stopped taking tamoxifen after three years cos i wanted to stop.

I then was re diagnosed with new mets to pelvis 2003.

They have discontinued BMTs for us because further studies, to the best of my knowledge, showed that there was just too little success overall to justify.

I think I was one of the lucky ones.
And there have been the develpment of hormonals, Herceptin, and a lot since my first time.

I have gone thru the gamut now, having arrived at Abraxane/Avastin for the second time. We'll see.

I feel selfish sometimes wanting more time, after all I have received. But I think its ok to want it all, if you also spend a little time preparing for less that would have been optimal.

You will find lots of info out there about survival/ longevity rates. Some docs/sources are very brutal, others are hopeful, the answer lies somewhere in betwwen.

remember you are not a statistic. use the numbers only as a general info tool. Nobody knows the future!!!
And you don't have to be superwoman. Be good to yourself and be true!

one last thought: whether we live 6 months or six years or 30, each person's journey is unique. No one's expereince is better or worse than another's. But we are in it together.

best wishes,

peggyr

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You are not alone... Hang in there and treat your body with nutrients. It will reward you.

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Thanks so much for the encouraging words! I'm interested in hearing what people think!

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Just want you to know I'm thinking about and care about you; am very sorry for all the goop you've both had to go through, and are now going through. I'm really glad you're getting the Reiki, acupuncture, and taking supplements (I do the same, when I can). I'm Stage IIIC breast cancer, just finished chemo, have another surgery and radiation ahead, so obviously I'm not been through something similar to your experiences. Please know that you are not alone as a human being--there are heaps of people who care about you. So I blow a kiss to you, and wish you wonderful things. I think it is certainly possible you can live years--look what you've accomplished so far!

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Obviously you're in a fairly unique situation. Seems like certain cancer organizations ought to help you find peers. I know there's a way! If you're a member, I would suggest you contact Gilda's Club; also Cancer Lifeline might have way to assist you--maybe even the Susan G. Komen foundation(?). I'm certain there are people with similar situations to you; I'm also certain there are ways to find these people. Hope people send you some good ideas. Thinking and caring about you!

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Thank you soo much for your very kind and thoughtful response! All the best to you!

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All the best to you, DiSabatino! Still trying to figure out how you can find these unique persons. All I can think of is contacting the press (while concealing your identity) via one of the big cancer-fighting support organizations (or if you have any friends who work with the press or some online organization). I live in Seattle; Craigslist is quite popular here. If there's a way you can make sure your identity is secure, you might try posting something on Craigslist. I believe there's no reason that what you are told about your life expectancy due to cancer via professionals is finite. One can be realistic about cancer, but look how you've already sort of broken the rules about your life expectancy! So soak in all those treatments you're getting (I look forward to receiving some Reiki the end of the month, especially for the relatively new neuropathy in my feet). Make a sort of nest for yourself with healing Prahna (or whatever you think works) and go for it, kid!

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How are you doing, if you don't mind my asking? Just thinking about you. Here are some items about me, so you know from where I'm coming: I have Stage IIIC breast cancer. I'm scheduled for a mastectomy (R breast only) on July 2; then four to eight weeks of radiation. I finished my chemo over three weeks ago. I was diagnosed Sept. 4, 2008, so one might say I'm a "first-timer." I've had a wire-guided partial mastectomy (and all my R underarm lymph nodes were removed--ten were cancerous); then a re-incision a week later. That was in October and November. I live in Seattle, and my cat Xeno is yowling and purring by my legs as I type this. So that's me, in sort of a weird nutshell.

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Your situation remind me of a testimonial book that I read "Cancer Battle Plan" by Anne Frahm, stage4 breast cancer and done all possible allopathic treatment to no avail. She gone home to do Gerson Therapy and cured herself and live for more than 10 years, she eventually passed away not of cancer but a side effect from a bone marrow transplant that she performed 10 years prior. A very inspiring and hopeful book to read and I am doing Gerson Therapy myself to keep recurrance at bay.

Since then I researched into alternative treatment like Gerson, Budwig diet, Protocel, Herbs....It's absolutely worth giving it a try afterall they are all natural, what's the harm if we already allow cytotoxic to enter our body!

pauline

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Was nice to "SEE" your email. A question I keep asking myself. I have mets stage IV also to lymph nodes, vertebrae, sternum, pelvic and right lung. First diagonosed in 2004 and it mets in 2008. Most recently went thru radiation and 3 months, every week of taxol. Tumor markers (estrogen +) went from 116 to 31 - excellent. And then in 3 months they shot back up to 74. Recent pet showed now in pelvic and sternum bones. I go in for bone biopsy next week before they can determine next treatment. Sad to say, when first diagnosed it mets in 2008 - I totally changed my diet - no red meat, no dairy, lots of juice, veges, no yeast, wheat etc. Have been on Protocel for a year and just now stopped. Obviously didn't work for me. Life Expectancy - well, I share with you from what I've met others - can be 1 year to 17 years. But the important thing...this is our life. The cancer doesn't go away. It may go silent, but then the nasty creature will rear it's head again. It sure makes us sit up and cherish each day doesn't it??!!! I wish I was my old self - but I'm not (only 52). Don't have the energy I use to and the nagging sore body makes you tired. BUT, each morning I get up and start with a bang. When I hit the wall, I rest and realize - ok, so I don't go to so many outings anymore - but I'm still here. I still eat healthy but also have learned to enjoy when I want. And....the most important.....my faith in God keeps me at peace. If anyone out there has come across ANYTHING they think is worth trying to prolong a life - welcome to hear it. I have a friend, same predicament, who did Gerson Therapy. Sad to say, cancer moved forward fast. She went thru chemo and radiation and other meds and is "holding her own" now and doing ok. God Bless you all for being here. Nice to be able to reach out to others.

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my god l do feel so sorry for you, lwill pray for you, it is a wonder you have not gone mad, but l always say it is there and you have to get on with it, but there is only so much, but 95% is good news keep fighting l wish you all the best

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You poor thing you have gone to hell and back. May God bless you for what you are going through.

Please do keep us posted on how you are doing. We do all really care about you. My prayers are with you.

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I was just diagnosed with mets to the lungs. Originally diagnosed in 2006 with stage I. I put my head down and plowed through treatment always trying to get to the next level and get back to my life. This news has really thrown me. I want to fight and I will but I'm having a hard time getting my game face on. I want to be strong for my kids. reading your stories helps, thankyou

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Oh spud, I think I've told you the specifics of my Dx and treatment three times now--just saw my prior posts! I very much apologize. Prior to my mastectomy, I purchased the book "Anticancer: A New Way of Life." I found it on Amazon.com, and got hooked my reading parts of it. I consider that book and my copy of "Nutritional Healing" as my guidebooks for getting through all this. The Anticancer book gave me considerable hope. I reommend you check it out. It's written by a psychiatrist who has gone through treatment for brain cancer twice. I wonder if, via any aspect of that book, you can find some of your cancer-treatment-peers! You're NOT alone. And it's great you're getting acupuncture. If/when I can afford it, I totally hope to return to acupuncture treatments! I really believe you are doing right by yourself. Of course you can teach a lot of people things, just by being you. I'm sorry you got put in the position to teach some of these things, however! I wish you some really nice green tea, things like that. And please understand that I throw in all this info. about my Dx and treatment because, until I know you better, that's initially all I have to offer. I've learned a lot of the "cancer language." (I consider a lot of things one goes through similar to learning a new language, or a new perspective about life.) I haven't been through anything like what you've experienced, but I figure anybdy who has been through cancer is some kind of fifth cousin of mine, at least!
There are times when I too want to find someone who somehow understands a lot about what I've been through--had similar cancer, etc. Right now I don't feel the need for this so much--just learning how many people there are (no matter what their situation/setting) who can, and do, help me get through.
Take care.

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I am new to this site. I see that no one has commented in quite some time. I just wanted to add something. I was diagnosed with BC this past December and immediately started the Budwig Protocol. It is all natural and doesn't cost much. No one is making money from it so it isn't a scam. I have had good results and will continue down this path that has helped so many others. Even others with late stages of various types of Cancer. There is a yahoo support group called flaxoil2 that you all may want to look at. Just a suggestion. I hope all that have posted are doing fantastic!
Blessings,
Kristy

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Hello fellow Metsters/Survivors!

I would like to invite anyone that's been diagnosed with breast cancer at 40 or younger (and their caregivers) to join me at the Young Survival Coalition online support group/bulletin board. We are thousands strong and are there for each other through it all...from initial diagnosis and treatment, to reconstruction and beyond. There's a segment of the board that is specifically for those dealing with metastatic disease (like me!).

COME AND JOIN US!!!

Love and hugs,
Renee

I'm Silverwolf73 there, too! :)

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Oh, and as far as life expectancy, my dear friend Lila says it best...we don't have an expiration date stamped on our forehead!!

We're the ones that shouldn't even HAVE cancer...how can anyone say how long we're going to live?

We all have a choice to make...we can live every day like we're GOING to die, or we can live every day UNTIL we die. Hope is the one factor that throws stats out the window.

LOVE YOUS!!

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Sheesh, chemobrain. It helps if I give the website...

youngsurvival.org


:)

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