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.