A fellow Stage IV early mets person sent me this article, which allowed me my first night without a semi-panic attack I've had since being diagnosed. She had a similar experience with DCIS/stage IV, and a similar path with Tam, and the same sense of guilt. But if what the article describes is true, then it seems possible-- probable? that the metastasis may have started way before I ever even had my first mammogram.
"The findings “challenge everything we thought we knew about how cancer spreads and forms metastases,” said Dr. Julio Aguirre-Ghiso of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, who led one of the new studies, published in Nature.The discovery might shed light on some of the most frustrating mysteries of cancer. For instance, why doesn’t early detection, such as with mammography or even more advanced methods such as breast MRI, save more lives? The metastases-forming, super-early departees leave when the tumor is microscopic. By the time a tumor is detectable, they’ve already — perhaps for years — been seeding potentially fatal metastases at distant sites, said Aguirre-Ghiso."
I know, I know, this isn't definitive, and doesn't speak to whether Tam might have at least slowed this down. But it's science, and fuck me, I am going to take it. I am turning responsibility for this over to cancer. If this isn't my fault, than it's just about dying, and I can do that.