Living with a deadline

For people with advanced cancer

Cancer fighter Cate North

Welcome! My name is Cate North and I created Stage 4 Living as a resource to help people dealing with advanced cancer.

Cancer has been a part of my life for over 20 years, and since 2016, I have been living with MBC—metastatic breast cancer. I am fortunate to have treatment options that have enabled me to beat to odds. Now I want to be of some small service to others with MBC, or to anyone with advanced cancer of any kind.

About the picture: Taken by friend and professional photographer Kay Beaton, not long after my first recurrence in 2007. She helped me get my mojo back!

My cancer story

Principles of Stage 4 Living

Stay in the game

Choose to be fully present and stay engaged, as best you can. Adapt as the rules change and respond to curve balls that come your way.

Lighten your load

Determine and focus on what matters. You have enough of a burden; let go of the petty stuff to live with greater ease and grace.

Honor the journey

Empower yourself by taking one step and one day at a time, bearing witness to the experience and finding purpose and meaning.

About the lotus flower

Lotus flower blossoms in mud

Rooted in mud, the lotus flower submerges every night into murky water and re-blossoms the next day in pristine condition. We all have mud and muck to go through. It may be of our own making or beyond our control, yet the choice is ours to emerge as beautifully and unscathed as possible.

(Image source: Pixabay)

Latest blog posts

About Her—HER2, that is

On April 17, the FDA approved a new drug called Tukysa (tucatinib) for use in combination with chemotherapy for patients with HER2-positive breast cancer that has metastasized to the brain. All new treatment options are good news, but this is particularly good news because: HER2-positive breast cancer is not as common as …
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Epic data on drop in cancer screenings during COVID shutdown

Back to cancer screenings after COVID shutdowns

If you’re reading this, I’m sure you are aware of the importance of early detection for cancer of any kind. Yet smart people (especially men) routinely procrastinate anyway, putting off doctor visits and recommended screenings like mammograms that could be lifesaving. Due to COVID-19, which made it impossible to schedule a …
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Can remembering the dead ease our fear of dying?

For many people, including and maybe especially Americans, death is a topic to avoid at all costs. Yet many cultures and philosophies honor human mortality and the inevitability of death, seeing it as a route to enlightenment and happiness. Stoicism is influenced by the ancient practice of memento mori–remembering we …
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ER, PR, HR—hormones and breast cancer

HR positive or negative, PR positive or negative, ER positive or negative—these are the various types of hormone status in breast cancer. HR is the acronym for hormone receptor ER = estrogen receptor PR = progesterone receptor This information is important because it influences treatment options and an individual’s prognosis. About female hormones Estrogen and progesterone …
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Presence and awareness in every moment

Finding calm in the cancer storm

Getting a cancer diagnosis is like getting thrown into a raging sea without a flotation device. The initial shock pushes you upward for air and light as you try to keep from immediately drowning. You sputter and flail about for a few moments as you realize that life as you …
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In memory of John Prine

Singer / songwriter John Prine survived two separate and distinct rounds of cancer, only to succumb to COVID-19 on April 7, 2020. After hearing the news, NPR music critic and correspondent Ann Powers wrote this about him: “Prine’s songs claimed sweet revenge by making room for the wide range of emotions that …
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Memento Vivere

Memento vivere means “remember to live” in Latin. As author Anthony Doerr wrote in All the Light We Cannot See, “Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.” If any blessings come with advanced cancer, it’s the blessing of deeply understanding that life is indeed precious and fragile. That heightened awareness inspires us to make the most of the moments we have.