There is a chill in the air this morning and memories are pouring in. Eleven years ago on a beautiful fall morning, I finished my walk and took a shower. There, I discovered a lump in my breast. After a series of tests, I was diagnosed with Stage 2b Triple Positive Invasive Ductal Carcinoma – Breast Cancer. I spent the next two years undergoing treatment and poking fun at the disease and the irreverent thoughts going through my head. So hang on as I list some things that I learned through my experience.
- If I had known that my breasts were going to try to kill me, I wouldn’t have wished so hard for them to grow when I was a teenager.
- You should never tell an oncologist, “Bring it on. Let’s do this!” Because they can and they will.
- Being bald has its perks. People practically beg you to go ahead of them in line, and you almost never have to open a door for yourself. And you can trim down the time it takes to get ready in the morning because of no “bed head.”
- Unexpected people will surprise you with kindness.
- You can find laughter and joy and hope at a cancer clinic, as well as compassion and care.
- You can get a tan in the middle of winter getting radiation. My Radiology Clinic even had a palm tree stained glass window above the table!
- Being diagnosed with Breast Cancer is not necessarily a death sentence. Many, many women and men survive the disease.
- Blowing up pumpkins after each chemo treatment was absolutely therapeutic and hilarious.
- It’s okay to be mad about having cancer, but it’s more fun if you find a creative outlet for that anger, see above.
- Doctors will actually write you a note to get out of things you don’t want to do. I have a collection of them, and it sort of became a game to see how far I could push it. I especially liked the one that said, “No snow removal until she feels ready.” I’m still using that note!
- Anyone going through cancer should get to choose how they get through it. Cry, fight, hide, tell your friends/family, don’t tell your friends/family, wear a wig, embrace being bald, you do you. I chose humor.
Each October, I remind my friends to take a moment to do self breast exams. They work and it might save your life. I found my lump, and it saved my life.
My book, Laugh With Kathy, is available on Amazon. All proceeds have been and will continue to be donated to support breast cancer patients during treatment. If you want a signed copy, email me at [email protected] or vist my shop page