Metastatic Breast Cancer Patient
Patti has battled cancer almost her entire adult life, and yet she has continued to lead a life full of discovery and love.
Diagnosed 22 years ago at the age of 30 with breast cancer, the list of where her cancer has spread has continued to grow. First, it was her spine. Next came her lymph nodes, clavicle and sternum. It then progressed to her lungs, ribs, liver and most recently, her brain.
When she first heard the term “metastatic” in 2002, she was panic stricken.
“I didn’t really know what it meant to be metastatic,” says Patti, who’s now 52. “Just what you assume, what most people assume metastatic would be.”
What Patti did know for certain was she would be in for a long, difficult road and she chose Moffitt Cancer Center to navigate her treatment plan based on the strong partnership between the physicians and their patients.
“They took the patients views and opinions into consideration,” says Patti. “They allow you to sit at the table and have a say in what’s going on.”
She soon learned having metastatic cancer wasn’t an end, instead it was only a “shift” in treatment. “It shifts from cure to you’re going be treated for quality of life,” says Patti.
In the 14 years she has been treated at Moffitt, Patti has been very responsive to treatment, a testament she says to her team of physicians and nurses in charge of her care.
“They are all the best at what they do and bring you to a place of ease no matter what it is you have to face that day.”
She also credits her caregiver and sister Margaret, whom she calls her “reserved strength.” Margaret attends all of Patti’s appointments with her and is the calming force when difficult news is delivered. She’s also the “first to crack a joke in a room that needs a joke,” quips Patti.
Although Patti’s cancer has been uncertain, her source of courage and support has always been constant.
“When somebody asks me what gives me courage I think of my family, I think of my siblings, I think of my husband and I think of my children,” says Patti. “I must get up and face whatever the day brings me because I want to come home to them at night.”