Yep, I’m dying

I know nobody wants this to be true, but folks, I really actually am dying. Let’s talk about what’s going on.

Today we met with Dr. Marzbani, aka #bestdocever. I wore this shirt. 

Because not only is my homeboy, but he’s just an awesome doc. Everyone loves him. Last week when I went for an HLA platelet infusion, the woman in the next bed was his patient and her daughter told the nurses that her mama thinks he’s dreamy. It happens a lot. To me, he’s the little brother I never had and I’m like “WHO IS HITTING ON MY LITTLE BROTHER oh it’s just one of the old ladies, that’s sweet.”

So. The appointment today was about looking at my PET scan from late last week, and here’s the shit it showed:

1. My liver is chockablock full of cancer. I mean chockablock. It’s kinda cool how you can see my whole liver because it’s so lit up.

2. My lung has a nice sized tumor in it that’s causing parts of my lung to collapse. Which is why I’m constantly winded. How fun!

3. Lovely lovely bone mets in my spine, as well as in my leg that causes pain if we don’t stay ahead of it with meds. 

4. There’s all sorts of shit listed on the report. I haven’t even red it all. I’m just basically really cancery, that shit is all over the place.

Meanwhile, my white blood count is really low, and my platelets can’t seem to stay up. The HLA platelets help for a bit and then back down they go, so I have to have them all the damn time.

When I told you guys I was dying? I really meant it. We still think we’re in the 2-4 month life span. We could try some chemo if my blood counts get better, like, eribulin or gemcitamine or some other crap, but it’s make me feel more like shit. I have 2-4 months to live and zero intention to poison myself and feel like chemo shit. I mean, seriously, would YOU want to give yourself drugs that make you feel like shit and then die? I doubt it.

#bestdocever’s advice was to enjoy life as much as I can, and drink bourbon because it makes me happy. And that’s what I intend to do. We’ll be finding a lovely hospice service, and I’ll probably talk to a guy who just does palliative care on lungs, like, procedures that don’t cure, but they make the living with the cancer in there easer. Which sounds good, amiright? And dude, just as soon as my sense of taste of salt comes back (thanks whole brain radiation!) I’m going to eat SO MUCH SHIT. Bacon cheeseburgers, with blue cheese. Nachos. Everything with salt in it. Everything.

I know a lot of you were hoping there’d be some miracle out of this PET, and this is not easy news to take in. Watching your friends die is AWFUL. I’ve watched so many friends die, and it’s never been remotely OK. And now, y’all have to watch me die. But, that’s life. It’s shorter than it should be, and it comes with horrible things—pain, fatigue, wheezing, inability to walk more than 20 feet…but you know what? For now, I’m alive. I get to watch my bathroom getting remodeled. I get to watch my kids dress up in costumes. I get to watch them play with our new dog (her name is Nova and she’s perfect). This is the life I have, and I’m going to enjoy it.

I won’t be able to answer a lot of messages y’all send, and it’s not because I don’t love you all and appreciate the love you show me. It’s just the reality of my world now—it’s smaller than it was before the cancer grew so much. I’m OK with that. I’ve come to terms with what’s happening to me, that my end is coming, and that I can’t be what I’ve been to all of you. I hope eventually you’ll be OK with that, or not OK really, that’s the wrong word. What I mean is, I hope you’ll be able to take how you feel about me and my death, and put those feelings into action. A good friend of mine told me yesterday that she promised to stand up for the MBC community no matter when, and that is such perfection. I made the same promise to Carolyn Frayn, and she said the same thing to me. We can be so much for each other, and every promise to speak for us is a beautiful thing, a loving thing. I’m grateful for every promise like that.

#bestdocever has promised to come over and have some beer, because that’s what good friends do. He’s not the only one—other close friends will come over and play Cards Against Humanity and get shitfaced, and it will make me so glad. That’s the nicest thing people can do for me, just be awesome and come have fun and be happy and make me happy. Remember that as your other friends are dying too. And know that there will always be enough love in the world, and we love you too.

88 thoughts on “Yep, I’m dying

  1. I just found your blog and will have to go back and read more, as I want to get to know you more. I love your writing, your authenticity and love of life and your willingness to move towards death with such a sense of humor and love. My daughter died from lymphoma 5 years ago, and the last 2 months we had together were some of the best time we shared. Sending you love….

  2. I sincerely hope that when my time comes, I’m able to navigate the transition with as much grace, humor, and honesty as you do radiantly display. Hugs, loves and heartfelt blessings on your journey.

  3. What a lovely lady you are. Quality rather than quantity is my mantra. (You also have awesome glasses!) May you and your family take this journey with very few bumps in the road. xx

  4. I like the “deprogramming women since…”. I need to go back and read the previous blogs. One question. Did you or do you receive any type of massage, touch for comfort? I’m doing a documentary on the power of touch. I might like to include your comments in it if you are willing. From what I read you are a force to be reckoned with. Courageous and raw. Thank you for sharing in your strength and in your vulnerability.

  5. The world needs more positive lights like yours. ❤️ I will raise a margarita in your honor! Extra salt, please.

  6. Wow. I’d bring you a support Lyft of nachos and chips and other salty things if I could. Just in case your taste for salt returns which I hope it does
    Next time I have a drink I’ll have one for you and salute you for the wisdom you shared in your post.

  7. “I mean, seriously, would YOU want to give yourself drugs that make you feel like shit and then die?”

    Yes. I’m a three time cancer survivor, who at the age of 21, was diagnosed with a form of leukemia – my third form of cancer – and was told I wouldn’t see 22. October 4, 1997 I was told there would be no hope.

    The battle was ugly. But I fought. And had I died, I’d die fighting. But I lived and I’m now 41 years old.

    I can’t say whether or not you’d survive. I can tell you that as someone who has been through the fight three times, it is my greatest enemy and greatest teacher. When I read your story, it is with tears in my eyes. My heart breaks for you and your loved ones, even if you do not want it to.

    While I don’t understand your choice not to try, I respect it. Please respect mine and every one else’s to do the opposite and take our chances.

    I will be thinking the utmost positive thoughts for you. Live well.

      1. This is so not about you. MBC is Metastatic Breast Cancer, as in Stage IV of IV, Advanced, this isn’t going to end well Breast Cancer that has spread to various and sundry organs. No one asked for your approval. SMH!

      2. This is so not about you. MBC is Metastatic Breast Cancer, as in Stage IV of IV, Advanced, this isn’t going to end well cancer.that has No one asked for your approval. SMH!

    1. Has he tried Medical Cannabis?The scares plant is airing now on line now! Ty Bollinger’s work in “The Truth About Cancer”, along with some exploration into the cannabis research shows remarkable help as a cure. Why not try?

  8. how very brave and very thoughtful to share your story. although thankfully healthy here, your words remind me that life is indeed short and must be cherished, celebrated and well lived each moment. really appreciate that reminder. hope you are smiling, and today having a great day… peace and love,

  9. Beth, I am sorry the cancer has progressed and time has become so short in such a real way. I am grateful to see that you have such grace and important time to spend cherishing these important moments with family. Hospice is a blessing, and I wish you peace and comfort in these precious days.

    Keep drinking life to the lees, and I send you my love with hugs, tears and smiles.
    https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45392/ulysses

  10. I’m sad reading this because you have reminded me of all the friends, brave and funny and wonderful like you, whom I have already lost, whether it was Steve or Lisa or Jay or whoever. We all come to our end. We all hope it will be elderly, surrounded by great grandchildren. But we can’t control it. What we can control is that when death comes we greet it with dignity and even, in your case, style. My love to you and yours.

  11. Thanks for your post! I’m a hospice Doc and I wish everyone could face their realities with such courage and humor! (I’m not sure I will be as brave as you are)
    I hope you have fun and enjoy your family and friends painlessly, with bourbon and chips and anything else that makes you happy!

  12. I don’t know you but I love you, I mean I really love you. You are amazing, and inspiring, and a firecracker! I wish I could have a beer with you too, but I will raise my glass to you the next time I have a drink. God bless you and your family. You rock.

  13. Enter in peace – leave in peace. I’m sorry for all your suffering. I really hope you get a chance to enjoy your remaining time.

  14. Your strength brought tears to my eyes. I lost my sister to ovarian cancer. She showed much courage on the outside but not on the inside. She worried about everyone first. A true hero.

  15. Your strength is so admirable. You teach us to enjoy life to its last moment instead of fearing the unknown. I wish you the best of days with your family and friends. Your positive spirit helps you, your family, and friends for through what could be a very stressful and painful time. I am sure they appreciate your positivity. Your words will continue to teach others to try our best to enjoy every moment. Wishing you continued peace and happiness. Sending you hugs and wishing you many more delicious salty treats.

  16. This is the first I’ve come across your post, and all I can say is “Hell yeah.” You’re right, it is so not okay, but it is what is. I have terminal lung cancer, dx at 42. It’s been a difficult battle, and will get worse in time. People want me to get better, but it’s not going to happen.
    THIS is how I want to handle it: accepting it despite desperately wishing it was different, talking frankly about it, and swearing with abandon. You’re awesome. I’m so sorry this is happening to you, but so admire your attitude.
    Wishing you as much comfort, peace and joy as you can find.

  17. Thanks for such an open, honest and heartfelt blog. I started following you when I was diagnosed with MBC in April 16 and have admired your positivity and strength throughout. May the nachos be salty and may the bourbon hit the spot xxx

  18. You are amazing and awesome. And impossibly filled with love! I hope you make it as long as you feel well enough to do so. I wish lots of love from your family and friends. When my time comes, I hope to be as graceful as you are!

  19. I love your feedback.

    I’m a 9 year ( this coming January, God willing ) survivor of triple negative, stage one, grade three breast cancer.

    It’s all through my maternal family history and it still scares the fuck off me after nearly 9 years.

    The fact that this scary mu-fu can come back at any time is way worse than any Hallowe’en shock horror can offer.

    Clowns? Please!

    I love your candour and pray that your death will be peaceful and painless.

    It may be because of the “club” we all have been forced to join but I started volunteering in our local hospice 4 months ago and just love it.

    One woman didn’t want ANYTHING from ANYBODY. And we get that, right.

    I imagined how I’d feel in her shoes. Angry? Maybe.

    But would I fancy anything tasty to eat in the meantime ?

    I asked if she was hungry for chips?

    I’m Irish. Chips are fries.

    Home made chips.

    Not that oven baked shite.

    She had to have been 80lbs, dripping wet.

    I peeled and fried two big baking spuds and sprinkled salt on them.

    She sat at the kitchen table in McNally Hospice, Grimsby, Ontario, Canada and she scoffed the bloody lot!

    Godspeed sweetheart and may there be someone in your hospice to cook you chips. ❤️❤️❤️

  20. Your humor and wit are remarkable. Your sense of the world and what matters most are remarkable.
    Your ability to see joy where others only see darkness is remarkable.
    You are remarkable.
    And we are lucky to have learned from you-if only through your blog post.
    Thank you.

  21. Have you considered writing cards for the future? You may have discussed this already! I’m new to your story. But, oh, how I would’ve loved a card from my mom this year!! ❤️❤️

  22. I’m heartbroken reading your story, what a beautiful attitude you have. I pray for your children as well. You sound like a great person, you sure know how to make me laugh, through this sadness. Thank you for sharing your story. And thank God for great Doctors, sounds like you have the best “Homeboy” ever. Take care, drink your bourbon, and have fun

  23. You are giving your daughters the greatest gift of their lives: the meaning of life is to enjoy it!

  24. I hope I have this much grace when my time comes. Spoiler alert: I won’t. Best wishes for a beautiful time spent with those you love.

  25. Sending you peace, love and all the salty bacon cheeseburgers you can enjoy. I want you to have thousands and thousands of messages here from women who read this. I am going to share this on my page so you can be heard by many other women.
    I don’t know more about your story other than what I just read here. However, I hear your voice in your story and I am sure the rest of your story is a pretty amazing one. Don’t know what else to say other than, I think you are amazing just from what I have read.

  26. Your death, your rules. I’ve been a hospice volunteer for 10 years….never heard someone say they wish they cleaned the house more. Enjoy the time you have left, solid plan.

  27. As ever, there are no words except – you are a freakin’ BOSS! and of course FUCK CANCER! I’ve been silent through most of your journey so as not to waste your time, but instead have been carrying you and your dear family in my heart (and trying to keep my cool with the Universe on your behalf). I am so very grateful for the kindness and friendship you and your boy showed us at QAE, for your incredible work, and for you…lovely, irreverent, real, funny, clever, amazeballs you. Peace and love to you all from waaaaay across Elliott Bay.

  28. Beth,
    To you and all the others in the twitter group who have meant so much to my sister Suzanne, thank you very much. I think of you while I’m in the platelet donor chair and hope some of them get to you.
    Mark

  29. So, so much love to you, J and the kiddos, oh and Nova too. I wish you many Cards Against Humanity games with bourbon and Nacho’s. Cards Against Humanity is our after Christmas dinner tradition, yeah we’re weird like that and Grandma’s hard of hearing, so she drinks her 7/7 and watches). I do recommend non-carbonated adult beverages, those bubbles up my nose get me every time.

    As I mentioned at the Philly die in 2 years ago, Carolyn was 1st to reach out to me in a non-metastatic group and bring me to her “uncensored” group. I’ll do what I can to support us all for Carolyn, for you and for all whom I’ve lost. Though I can’t hope to hold a candle to you.

  30. Michelle settee every isn’t cousin, she is fighting the same as you, I have seen so many positive post from people who are experiencing there last days. I worked hospice as a home health aide, come of my clients would be so scared and I erasured them that there is something greater then this in our next existence. I am not a religious person but I do believe that we go on. I hope that you enjoy your last days and look forward to the next adventure, watch finding never land. I swear my sister who passed 16 years ago, helped in the making of the movie. Go into your next adventure with love in your heart, because that is your gift to people you leave. You sound so positive already. As people come visit and have a beer with you reasure them of the love we as humans get to share with each other. I feel cheated that I will not get to meet you in person. But stay connected if you can. If you see Michelle give her a hug from me. And have a drink I love coronas or bud light. I love your sweet soul and thanks for sharing a piece of yourself with the facebook world.

  31. So, so much love to you, J and the kiddos, oh and Nova too. I wish you many Cards Against Humanity games with bourbon and Nacho’s. Cards Against Humanity is our after Christmas dinner tradition, yeah we’re weird like that and Grandma’s hard of hearing, so she drinks her 7/7 and watches). I do recommend non-carbonated adult beverages, those bubbles up my nose get me every time.

    As I mentioned at the Philly die in 2 years ago, Carolyn was 1st to reach out to me in a non-metastatic group and bring me to her “uncensored” group. I’ll do what I can to support us all for Carolyn, for you and for all whom I’ve lost. Though I can’t hope to hold a candle to you. Until the day that they hear us.

  32. Thank you for your infinite wisdom and compassion — it/you are an eternal part of the universe. I promise to keep working to make this world a better place for your brilliant children.

    Much love and joy.

  33. First and foremost thank you for your candid and honest look into the world of MBC. May you and your family enjoy all the moments you have together and may you be filled with happiness and love as you head onto the next leg of your journey.

  34. You’re dying the way you choose to and that to me says your final days of LIVING will fulfill your wishes until the last beat of your heart. Blessings to you!

  35. I thought I posted this but it didn’t go through. I am right there with you. I got bad news yesterday. More progression. I have no “words of wisdom” to give – just love. I love you Beth Caldwell.

  36. Hey Beth, I am right there with you. Got bad news yesterday so I haven’t completely gotten my head around it. I don’t have any “words of wisdom”. Just know I love you. Ann

  37. Life is short, eternity is not! May God’s peace, love and mercy guide you in the “cross” you have been called to battle in this worldly life. Prayers being sent your way (I promise). Talk to God about your feelings, anger, sadness, etc., he will answer your heart. Although it’s easier said than done, especially when others are not facing the challenges you are, but please keep the faith…it’s all we really have to bring with us.

  38. Hi Beth,
    Rest assured, we will carry on the mission to extend/save/improve lives of those with mbc. You have taught us all so much. We love you. I love you. And I’ve never met you. No need. And btw, I love salty food too. Potato chips are my weak spot. Well, one of them! I will think of you every time I eat them now. Maybe that sounds weird. But I know you get it. Sending love to you and your dear ones. You are loved and in our hearts forever, Beth. xo
    Nancy Stordahl recently posted…Please Do Not Remove Your Bra for Me, A Few Other Things You Need Not Do & A Few You ShouldMy Profile

  39. You are a strong, beautiful woman.Wishing you and your family peace and love. Thank you for sharing your experience and inspiring me.

  40. Beth, Words won’t come so hopefully you can feel the love and peace I am sending through the airwaves. Your honesty and strength are amazing. I can only imagine how devastated your family is, but how very proud they are as well. All I can say is I send you my love and pray for your peace. Cancer is an evil dragon that saps the life out of too many. Here’s to slaying the dragon.

  41. Being glad is a weird feeling when reading this, but one thing made me glad. That you’ll not spend the last days doing chemo or treatments that make you feel worse. The hell Carolyn went through with the attempts they made at bypassing the tumour that blocked her liver were some of the most horrific moments of the entire 6 years. And they didn’t extend her life one day. So good for you, Beth. Drink. Play. Eat salty goodness. Love that family of yours. They certainly do love you, as did Carolyn. I wish you peace. I wish you love. I send a shit-ton of mine your way.

  42. My baby brother is dying from liver cancer. It’s hard to accept but he has chosen to live Like you. Thank you for writing this it has helped me put myself in check so I can be there for him.

  43. Whew Beth, this makes me profoundly sad but also proud to know you and really committed to doing whatever I can to raise awareness around mbc. I’ll be thinking of you, especially whenever I’m sipping on Bullitt. Cheers

  44. Dear Beth, I’d not known of you until I saw your post today (10/17/17). I’m so impressed by your spirit and your honesty. You are so eloquent about what you are experiencing — the ongoing physical destruction from this very dreaded disease, the choices you must make about treatment, the whole issue of quality of life vs. quantity, when it is time to say ‘enough’. Mortality exists, death is inevitable and most people are terrified of even mentioning it. We live in a culture of euphemisms and avoidance. You obviously do not, and I applaud you. I hope that you can face this time with ongoing spirit and courage, absence of pain, and that you are surrounded by love and peace. I shall always remember your words.

  45. Love. Just love. Bourbon, bacon and more love. Live as hard as you can. i‘ve learned so much from you, and I am so angry this has to happen. More love.

  46. Beth, you are such an amazing person. Even as you talk about the end of your life, your post is filled with taking care of us, those who love you, in dealing with your imminent death. I’ve never met you in person, but you’ve had such an impact on me. I’ve learned so much about MBC and how to be an effective advocate. I’m so glad you’ve touched my life in such a way as to cause me to have tears just writing this. Love and hugs to you, my friend. xoxo
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  47. I never got to meet you but so appreciate you and all you’ve done for us metsters. I visited Carolyn Frayn a few times in hospice and she is my “dying goals”. She had her family all around all the time and they were so loving and happy. She just seemed to take each day and cram as much happiness and life into it as she could. I don’t know how she did it but she was in a good place (mentally) and just loving on all her family and friends. It was a beautiful thing. I wish that for you. I don’t know if I will ever accept it when it’s my time but I hope I can and do it as well as she did. Hugs to you!

  48. You are a beautiful soul. My family’s favorite game is Cards Against Humanity. When we play, I will think of and toast to you. Hugs, kisses and peace to you.

  49. You are a beautiful soul. Cards against humanity is my family’s favorite game. When we play, I will think of and toast to you. Hugs, kisses and peace to you.

  50. You are frigging amazing and I wish I lived closer so that I could meet you in person and get shitfaced with you. Hugs.

  51. Your strength just blows me away.
    You inspire me to hug my kids, my husband, play with my dogs and live life as fully as humanly possible.
    Sending you hugs and hoping for peace for you and for your family.
    And love. Sending you all the love.

  52. Beth,

    As always, thank you for sharing your journey. The details and the truth. He is #thebestdocever. Because of you he is mine too. For which I am ever grateful. Drink your bourbon, love your family, do what you need and can do for you.

    You are a gem.

    Hugs,

    Kristi Lyn Reddy

  53. My heart hurts for you but rejoices in your acceptance and grace in the face of death-.. I wish I were as strong, I will go out kicking and screaming like a baby I fear-.. it sucks and it’s not fair to die so young, to fill our bodies with poison and burns and then die anyways!!! God bless you in this scary time -..enjoy every second and every shot of bourbon you want-.. yougo your way , with your finger up to cancer

  54. I have read your posts for over a year now and you have impacted me in such a positive way. Even though you are staring death in the face you are still so strong. It makes my journey seem like nothing compared to what you have been through. I know you will do as you say and have fun, drink bourbon, have your friends over and that’s awesome. When your journey has ended yes we will all be sad. But you will be remembered as one bad ass. Thank you for sharing. ❤️

  55. My heart hurts fir you but rejoices in your acceptance and grace in the face of death-.. I wish I were as strong, I will go out kicking and screaming like a baby I fear-.. it sucks and it’s not fair to die so young, to fill our bodies with poison and burns and then die anyways!!! God bless you in this scary time -..enjoy every second and every shot of bourbon you want-.. yougo your way , with your finger up to cancer

  56. Speechless. What can i say other than you should do exactly what you want. I love you more than I can adequately express. I am beyond sad at the inevitable and pissed as hell. I fucking hate cancer. It has taken so much from our family. I will do whatever I can to keep the very important message you and the MCB community have been promoting to the community of research towards metastatic breast cancer treatments. Please know my spirit and yours will forever be together sweet Beth, my dear incredible niece. I love you to the moon and back❤️

  57. I am so glad I was able to meet you and your family in Orlando with Amanda. I think I love you more than anyone I’ve ever met so briefly. “She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.” ― E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web.

  58. Beth- you are such a strong, amazing and beautiful woman. I applaud your honesty and your decision to go out in style! I’ve never met you but you are one of my cousin’s(Amy) Best friends so I know you are a true bad ass and I am behind you 100%. I wish you peace and amazing times with friends and family. Much love, hugs and peace to you

  59. Dearest beautiful Beth,
    I have been following you for the past year and never commented. I also have the same dreaded and dire diagnosis, but so far I have been extremely lucky and have not been through too many traumatic procedures or treatments. Hormone therapy is working for now. I have watched you heroically take on the fight and be a tremendous voice for all of us. My husband and I love and admire you from afar. Just wanted you to know how far your reach has gone. My life is enriched and enlightened by the poetry that lives in your posts. So much of you will live on. I do not have the gift of language like you do, but I wanted you to know how much of a difference you have made for me. Sweet dreams, lovely Beth.

  60. Classic Beth, comforting all of us even as you face death. You are a true class act if I ever met one. Well Beth, I can promise you two things:
    1. I am going to play Cards Against Humanity drinking straight up Bourbon in your honor – soon
    2. I am going to continue raising as much money and awareness as I possibly can for MBC – also in your honor – but literally because you are the one who schooled me on the dire need for more funding for this stage of the disease. You are the face of all those with MBC that I couldn’t leave behind – when I was re-staged to 3C way back then. You introduced me to Corrie who introduced me to Nik and the rest is Herstory… The Cancer Couch along with Hope Scarves and Twisted Pink are putting 1.2 million into MBC research next Saturday and it is ALL because of you my friend. Your legacy is boundless and beautiful – like your spirit, which by the way – I believe is eternal so I don’t think you’re going too far. Thank you for gracing my life with your presence, there is no doubt I am so much the better for knowing you. All my love Beth. All my love and courage and strength and comfort goes out to you and J and the two cute ones. And to Nova – roof roof!
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  61. You are truly inspiring and brave and bold. I like your style. You will leave an incredible mark in the hearts and lives of your family and every person who has followed your journey…myself included. I am grateful to you for all your words, your angry at cancer words, your Disney World fun words, your loving words about your children and so much more. May you have peace and love as you go on the path ahead and thank you for being YOU even for this short time.

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