In a few weeks I am going to get together with some friends. When we were all diagnosed with breast cancer, we belonged to the same 'introductory' support group. Six years later we are still in touch and get together. I have been bad recently and haven't made it to some of the recent get togethers - between being sick and on vacation, I missed more than a few.
One member of the group passed away a few years ago. When she was in our group, she was on her second diagnosis and later had a recurrence. We supported her through more chemo. We still miss her.
Another member was diagnosed with stomach cancer a year and a half ago with metastases (from one of the cancers - I'm not sure which or even if she knows - to her bones). She has been through chemo twice now and she just had another PET scan showing her bone mets have progressed. She recently started chemo again.
She is struggling emotionally with this because I think she finally she is realizing that this is the way her life will be. Chemo followed by scan, more chemo or other treatment, throw in a few clinical trials, and more tests and bad news.
I have other friends who are in stage IV. Some of them cope better than others. Some family members cope better than others as well. I think, now I have never had stage IV cancer so I am supposing here, that there is an emotional breakthrough when they finally realize that their treatment will never end in a positive fashion.
Some people take it better than others. I know people who at the stage IV diagnosis, start saying they are terminal. The friend I am seeing tomorrow, and many others, were seeing the world with rose colored glasses, and assuming that life will continue to go on.
Eventually they come to the realization comes and they have the emotional breakthrough where they realize that they are living the life of the metastatic patient with chemo, trials, scans, and more and it won't end positively.