March Forth with Erin Powers Schiller
This week‘s guest on DJ Breast Cancer is Erin Powers Schiller. She is a ChIcago native and it fills my heart to talk “Chicago” with someone! Erin explained how the initial diagnosis of Stage 2B changed to Stage 4 after scan results. Erin remembers her initial diagnosis in the polar vortex of Chicago. Trudging from appointment to appointment in the bitter cold of downtown Chicago. Erin recalled the game changing, nurses and techs speaking differently, procedures being cancelled and being told it was stage four. This day was March 4th, which to Erin felt symbolic. Marching forth she is!! Erin is determined to create her own narrative and to be her own statistic.
Erin continues to pursue her doctorate and is such an amazing example of living her life in the midst of this crazy diagnosis. We talked together how it was much easier of a conversation when it was stage 2, but became much more difficult when it was stage 4 when talking to friends, coworkers, etc. Erin is determined to fight for research, for others with metastatic breast cancer. Erin traveled fo Washington DC in October for Stampede the Capital to continue the conversation. She met with senators and representatives to discuss medication costs of chemo and waiving the two year disability waiting period for those with metastatic cancer.
Despite the crazy and the whirlwind, Erin tries to find joy in the chaos. She gently reminds us to not get stuck in anger or sadness. We laughed about the danger of google (seriously scary!!). Erin looks at long term Metastatic survivors for hope. Erin is making plans for the future (doctorate and 40th birthday). The biggest message is to donate to organizations doing the research. We are all aware of breast cancer, but we need to do more to make metastatic cancer a manageable chronic disease.