My name is Denise Neish, and I am living with Stage 4, or metastatic, breast cancer. I am a survivor, but my story is ongoing. Since April 2011, when I was first diagnosed, I have been navigating this new phase of my life. For the first couple of years I was completely overwhelmed at the frightening prognosis I was given.
The cancer spread to my bones, but has not caused me pain. After my first year of intense chemotherapy, radiation, and surgeries, I was in a beautiful remission for two years. I became quite hopeful that I was one of the lucky few who were cured, but my remission did not last. A small spot on my biannual PET/CT scan, followed by a bone biopsy, showed a recurrence in my right iliac. Two years later it has spread to more spots in my bones, and is also in my liver.
I have accepted that I may never be rid of the cancer completely, but I remain hopeful that a cure is found in my lifetime. I think it’s possible. Most likely it’s something I need to learn to live with, and treat as sort of a “chronic” condition. I’m tired of being told that I will never “get better”. I don’t need to get better. If I stay as I am, I feel great! I’m able to take care of my four small children, run, and live a happy life with my husband and wonderful family and friends.
I hope to be back to NED (no evidence of disease) soon, but I will always need to take good care of myself physically, be on some sort of treatment, and most importantly, take care of myself spiritually and mentally. I created this site to offer hope, courage, and whatever wisdom I have gained, from my battle with cancer. Everyone’s physical treatment plan is personal and unique, but we all share similar fears and concerns when we are living with cancer. I have gained so much from reading the insights and stories of other women facing this diagnosis, and I hope my story, thoughts, and perspectives will benefit someone else. I plan to live a happy and purposeful life, and I hope to do that until I am old.
Please feel free to contact me if you are battling breast cancer at any stage. I will not tell you how to be treated, and I don’t credit myself, or anything I did, to my survival. I do, however, have some insights on dealing with this overwhelming diagnosis you have received, and would love to offer hope, encouragement, and share some friendship and thoughts with you. Mostly I want you to know you are not alone!