Unmasking Cancer

Cancer is weird. I say that because despite “having cancer” I’m fine.  My whole life really is fine. Maybe it seems weird to hear me say that. Bear with me. I promise I’m not Pollyannaish. I’m pretty real. 

While a lot of my cancer journey this past year has been “fine”, there are some parts that have been sucky. I have been pissed. I have cried. I have joined too many Facebook groups and become overwhelmed with advice people put out there. I have felt like I didn’t know what I should do at so many points along the way, questioning all of my decision-making. I followed a woman on Instagram who was dying from cancer. Talk about sucky. 

When I look through my journal that I’ve inconsistently kept, a lot of the entries are about hard things but I’ve also written about the good things I have taken from cancer. And I specifically worded that to say “I have TAKEN” because I don’t want to give the power to cancer. Cancer didn’t give me the good things, I took the good things from it. 

I went through chemotherapy, a double mastectomy without reconstruction (first I got expanders put in because I thought I would do reconstruction and then after a few weeks had them removed and now plan to stay flat), radiation, and just had a total hysterectomy last week to prevent future cancer because I have the BRCA 1 gene mutation. See, that’s sucky. 

Despite the hours and hours I have spent dealing with cancer this past year, I still feel “fine.” I spent a lot of time in treatment writing and thinking. About cancer. About the medical system. About people with cancer and other chronic illnesses. About people showing up for me. And I think things will be fine. I hope you’ll keep reading and maybe find some “fine” in your journey too.

About the Author:

Kelly Klehm is breast cancer survivor who uses writing as a tool to share her experiences. She will be joining us monthly to share her journey with us.

Haute Pink 2022!

Haute Pink was designed to inspire, empower, support, and honor Alabama breast cancer patients, survivors, and their loved ones by featuring 10 of Forge’s clients modeling outfits created just for them by local Birmingham fashion designers.