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Survivor Stories - Brenda

My original diagnosis of estrogen receptor positive breast cancer was in 1994 when I was 45. After a mastectomy and chemotherapy, I felt I could move on with my life. I'm not saying that was easy, but eventually I relaxed into a routine and went forward. In 2015 that all changed when once again I had to face cancer – this time metastatic breast cancer. My first question was, "How can that be possible?" I quickly learned that ER+ breast cancer can metastasize decades later. Somehow, the cancer cells lie dormant in the body and something triggers them to grow. Research has not yet figured out what protects the cells all those years or what triggers them to grow. Metastatic breast cancer is Stage IV with no cure. But there are medications that can prolong life and fortunately one of them has now worked for me for five years. Cancer Support Community was there from the beginning of this latest journey with cancer – and I have attended their annual retreat for women in any stage of cancer, Mending in the Mountains, for several years. This year CSC even held the event online and it was a great success. Through CSC I have found support specific to MBC [and they] offer an online MBC support group in Montana. I am happy to learn that even after COVID, CSC plans to continue to offer many of their programs and support groups online. That is important for those of us who live in other areas of the state where we don't have support options like those available in Bozeman. Thanks to the wonderful staff at CSC for all they do!