Friday, July 23, 2010

Kelly Corrigan, My New Breast Cancer Mentor

I am now reading a wonderful book by Kelly Corrigan called The Middle Place that more than one of you sent me. It is a heartfelt memoir of her breast cancer diagnosis/treatment journey and I couldn't let another day go by without writing about it and HIGHLY recommending it to all of you that have or had breast cancer or know someone who does/did. I feel as if am connecting with her on a very deep level as I read her very personal account of what she went through and how she handled it with such grace, humor, and the occasional meltdown supported by her wonderful husband, friends and family. I had read a brief synopsis of her story in O Magazine but this book took me so much deeper into her world.

Kelly has taken it a step further with a website called the Circus of Cancer where she posts videos, pictures, tips for how to help your friend with breast cancer. And it is this last piece I feel most compelled to write about today.

I think Kelly must know you all.

She somehow saw that you all flooded my inbox and mailbox with cards, letter, emails, phone calls, texts.

She must have listened in on our phone calls as you asked about David and called him too knowing he was going through this right along with me.

She has to have watched as you sent me referrals of doctors, survivors, websites, books, resources, connected me with college buddies who are now breast surgeons or functional medicine MDs and were there to answer my every question any time I needed another opinion.

She certainly laughed along with me as you sent St. Peregrine medals and lucky charm necklaces right off your own necks, funny old photographs, gifts of your own handmade art including sculptures with hopeful words on it like Success, Abundance, Love, and Hope, a cute stuffed dragon names "Scorch", a pink ipod shuffle loaded with the King Singers, a whole set of silver and pink jewelry and a giant box of pink stuff - bags, notebooks, journals, pens, toothbrushes, pink linen tops that buttoned down the front, soft t-shirts, pashminas, pretty slippers, aviator sunglasses with pink rims .... all with funny post it notes about what each item was for including a pink ring that said "you may want to wear this on your middle finger." The picture of me above is me in the hospital waiting room with my sister Cindy between procedures wearing or holding as much of it as I could.

She was there as you offered help of all sorts - from making dinner to celebrating the small victories with champagne to taking in our mail or watching our dog when we were in Boston, to weeding our garden, doing laundry and cleaning up when I couldn't lift things after surgery, tips on what to eat/not eat, sharing your own stories or simply just listening to me without ever once forcing a cancer conversation or pushing advice.

And she must have felt it when you visited me, hugged me, sent me positive energy, let me know you were with me every step of the way.

So thanks for channeling Kelly Corrigan and doing all the things you're supposed to do when your friend has cancer.

I get "mapped" on Monday with tiny tattoos to guide the beams and radiation begins the following week at St Peter's hospital in Albany NY. They say I might be a little tired like after an all day visit to a beach but I am not scared of this part of the treatment at all. It will be inconvenient for trips to the city for work but is coming at a time when things are slower there anyway as clients and colleagues take much deserved vacations.


Cathy C (Spanky) said...


What a great article! I'm glad you got so much support from everybody. What a nice way to acknowledge it...

I will catch up with you at Christmas time...

Kathy said...

Thanks cathy! I am very blessed! Sorry we missed this month but we look forward to seeing you in dec!

Stacey said...

Hi Kathy!

I loved reading this SO much - of course, I always enjoy reading your updates, but it's always particularly lovely to read how much support you're receiving. We're so lucky to be in your circle! Much love, s

Kathy said...

Thanks Stacey! I am the lucky one!

Kelly Corrigan said...

You are the one to be admired. Hang in there sister.

Kelly (Corrigan)

Kathy said...

Thanks Kelly! I just feel like I'm doing what I need to do to get through it. If I can help inspire even onee person, or get one woman to keep current on those mammograms then perhaps it has all been worth it! It's great to have amazing role models like you to pave the way.