Moving Through Grief: Tips for Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer

Blogger Amy Schnitzler of shares the story of her metastatic breast cancer diagnosis, her stages of grief, and how she combats the loneliness, sadness, and fear that comes with MBC. Follow her journey on her blog here!

I received my metastatic breast cancer diagnosis at 26 years old, on April 11th, 2016. I had just been accepted to my top 3 graduate school programs for Opera Performance and Classical voice the week before and was in the middle of trying to decide between them—all while attempting to process my beloved grandmother’s sudden death on March 30th, 2016. To say this time in my life was “full” is a monstrous understatement.

Sandi: Living with MBC for Over 20 Years

Below is a poem by Sandi Spivey, a retired human resource director from California, living with metastatic breast cancer since 1998. She volunteers as a match helpline mentor for others with metastatic breast cancer and blogs at

Sandi shared this poem at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in December 2018.

At First

Victoria: Living with HER2+ Metastatic Breast Cancer

My original cancer diagnosis was on Valentine’s Day of 2005.  I was 44 years old, had a busy career, a husband and two young sons.  During a routine gynecological exam my doctor found a small lump in my right breast. Subsequent tests confirmed a 1 cm invasive ductal carcinoma.

Fear and Hope Competing

On a sunny day in April of 2013, at the age of 48, fear and hope began a competition unlike any other I had experienced. I was told I had a terminal disease; my life’s story had reached its final phase. Fear and hope were racing to the finish line of my life.

Terlisa: Survivor Grateful for Second, Third and Fourth Chance at Life!

My name is Terlisa Sheppard, and in November 1998, at the age of 31, while I was 34 weeks pregnant with my second child, I was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer.

I had been complaining to my gynecologist about feeling a lump under my arm but he informed me that it was probably a milk duct that had formed due to the pregnancy and told me not to worry about it.

Meet Eileen

I first met Eileen at the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network (MBCN) conference in Baltimore last year. She stood out from the crowd, partly because of her fabulous shoes but also because she was incredibly vivacious. Eileen’s story was compelling to me and I asked her to write about her experience. She told me she had just written something and sent it along. What I discovered were select journal entries from her original diagnosis in 2008. What I love about this is how Eileen expresses her concerns and fears in what she calls “Thought for the day”, and how her personality, determination and actions are expressed in “What I know for sure”. Recently, at NBCC, I ran into Eileen and her daughter who is an emerging leader. Eileen danced the entire night ( I have proof) and had what looked like a hell of a lot of fun doing it. “This” she said, pointing to herself, “is the face of metastatic breast cancer”. -Christine Benjamin