Jo-Ann is probably one of the longest living stage IV survivors. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer over 12 years ago she was given 9 months to live. She had very strong chemo and double radiation, treated very agressively for that time period. Remember chemo has changed a lot even in 12 years. After a couple of years Jo-Anne had a second breast cancer that was totally different from the first. She had a mastectomy and that was her only treatment for that cancer. She has other health problems now like diabetes, some artery blockage, etc. She is now 60ish. AND she just drove to Florida from Texas, took a cruise and is wending her way back home visiting in SC, GA and God knows where. Nothing keeps her down.
My daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer in 99, had one round of chemo was not Stage IV at that time, but 8 years later cancer was found in lymph nodes and bones, then went to bone marrow. She has been treated with chemo weekly since the bone marrow was found and was clean for a year or so, but now it is back. The chemo was changed and she is still is functioning far more than anyone would expect. Avastin was one of the drugs that kept her clean for that year plus. She was 39 when first diagnosed.
My husband was diagnosed this year with lung cancer. He had no symptoms, but bone mets were found during an injury to his chest. He has really bad mets to his sternum and the pain has been horrible. Chemo didn't do much for him, but radiation to his sternum kept him pain free for a few months in that area. He is now on Hospice care but insists he will be up and working again next spring. We have a small farm we bought for his retirement.
Each person is different. Each treatment reacts differently to the individual. I hope your wife is able to conquer the pain and the spread for several years. I'm sure you have heard that breast cancer, actually all cancers are being treated like diabetes as a chronic disease that must be watched, tested and treated the rest of your life. I was lucky in the cancer area, I was diagnosed at 58 with breast cancer and have had no more signs of it, but have other health issues now at 71 that makes life difficult. I am thankful for my situation and would gladly trade places with my daughter. I hate seeing all these young women being diagnosed.
Give her a hug for me, Mary K.