Woman with metastatic breast cancer makes powerful video

Jun 10, 2015 at 3:40 p.m. ET

There is no cure for metastatic breast cancer. That's the first thing Holley Kitchen of Texas wants people to know. Diagnosed a couple years ago with stage 3 cancer, Kitchen received the bad news that her cancer had spread recently, and now she is officially in "fight" mode for the rest of her life. It's something she decided to address in a video.

Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer is aggressive. It means the cancer has spread outside the breast. And Kitchen wants people to understand what she and other women living with breast cancer are going through.

Her powerful three-minute video, presented mostly in silence (with Rachel Platten's "Fight Song" in the background), does just that. It has received over 43 million views. See below:


The truth is, not many people understand metastatic cancer and what it means. There is no cure. There is only fighting long enough to prolong the life as much as possible. Kitchen is only 39.

She says some of the things she doesn't want to hear: "But you look so healthy!" "You are too young!" "You will beat this." Even if people mean well, they are hurtful. Because she won't beat this. She will gain more time, and she will fight, but the truth is, metastatic cancer patients never stop treatment. It's a painful reality and not what anyone wants to hear.

It's not the pretty pink ribbon or the messages about warriors and fighters and winners. All the terminology around breast cancer seems to imply that people who can't beat it somehow "lost." That just isn't the case.

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A combination of bad luck and genetics and some outside forces came together to create this storm inside a person. It is nothing she did wrong. My own mother died of metastatic breast cancer in 1993, and it was nothing she did wrong either. Being sick is no one's fault. And a person who dies of cancer or whose cancer spreads is no less a fighter or a champion than the person whose cancer doesn't. We all want a happy ending. But the painful, sad truth is we don't always get one.

Being a good friend to someone with a diagnosis like this means loving them and praising them and praying for them while also accepting that they are doing all they can. Sometimes it's just not enough.

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Kitchen's video will continue to make the rounds. I hope it will open people's eyes and let them know what this diagnosis truly means.