The Underbelly

Welcome to the Underbelly Magazine. When the feeling of survivor or warrior doesn’t resonate, and the brave face is a lie. You’ll find those stories here, where we illuminate the darker side of breast cancer. We aren’t here for the pink ribbons and silver linings.

It's About Time

YOUR STORY MATTERS. It's about time metastatic breast cancer had more attention, more funding, more research and more support.

Story Half Told

A Story Half Told began in 2014 to spotlight the misperceptions that surround metastatic breast cancer and focused on supporting women with breast cancer, including those with metastatic disease, in multiple aspects of their lives - the doctor's office, the workplace and in society at large. This new chapter aims to address the lack of understanding of metastatic breast cancer by featuring women living with this disease, chronicled by well known photographers.

If you've been here before, you might be checking the URL and wondering if you're still in the right place. I assure you, you did not make a wrong turn. Even upon reading that, you doubt, your eyes flicking around the page, uncomfortable at the ghastly implications and more.

Breast Cancer is a carnival sideshow. What you see upon the stage, the costumes and the make-up and the lights, the tutus and the boas and the hats and the props, it's all smoke and mirrors. The beads, the cheers, the happy songs of hope. Of course they want you all to see a pleasant sight and enjoy your time. Why else would anyone pay admission for the attraction then? Who would donate, who would pledge, who would buy a ticket to cry? We want our happy bubbles of lies, our false narratives of comfortable worlds where no one deals with any pesky emotion and we're always smiling.

Shh. Come closer, step back here, around the tent, and look behind the curtain. Look under the glamour, the mirrors, the smoke and lights. Look at the truth.

The coffins.

In the United States, over a hundred people dead from Metastatic Breast Cancer every day. And for all the pink ribbons... who knows what metastatic means? Who knows what stage IV (4) is? Who knows what it takes for breast cancer to murder you... and who is vulnerable?

Psst. I'll let you in on a secret.

There's no such thing as cancer-free with breast cancer.

I know, I know, you were probably told that you were. And you're angry now. How dare I say that. Your own doctor said so, probably.

But it doesn't work that way.

Breast cancer doesn't go away. No matter what you do. You can never be truly certain it's really gone for good. No matter what. No matter how many years have passed.

I know of a woman who turned metastatic 20 years out from being "cancer-free". It's a slumbering beast, and it may or may not wake up to kill you. No matter what.

And then there's the rest of us, who were already metastatic -- de novo, it's called -- from initial diagnosis. From Zero to Deathzone in sixty seconds. Do not pass Go, do not collect Survivor Dollars.

A friend of mine was told to "die more quietly" when she was trying to correct the twisted "facts", the lies, damned lies, and statistics. Direct quote.

But why did the site change from the pretty looks I had before? My fire died. I died inside. And then... I got it back. And it came back as Greek Fire. The more people tried to put it out with all known logical means, the worse it burned, the hotter the flames.

I'm done playing nice.

No mercy, it's a bit too late,
The game is on.
Don't run, don't hide, don't wait,
'Cause if we've got no honor,
Then we've got no shame.
If it's in self-defense,
Then we will take no blame.

Parting note: While I am a co-Founder of METUP, this is my personal website. What I do and say here is not an official reflection of METUP, and not an official voice of METUP. And the song quotes, along with the woman in index page title, belong to Miss Emilie Autumn, who is a very wickedly incredible individual.

lyrics by Emilie Autumn | teacup image not by me.