Kim’s Journey of Personal and Spiritual Growth after Breast Cancer
Q: Now that you have survived, what is your commitment to help the cause and create awareness for other women?
K: I lost my mother to the disease, which prompted me to be more aware and active in breast self-examinations.
The more women become educated, and know how to perform breast self-exams, the more lives we can save if the disease is caught at an early stage.
Q: What were your diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment?
K: I was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer. I chose to have an elective double mastectomy and reconstruction, and did four months of chemotherapy. My prognosis was positive, as I caught it early, and I think that is what fuelled my fight.
Q: How did being diagnosed with breast cancer affect you on a personal level in regard to:
A – Your lifestyle, what did you have to change (eating habits, exercise etc)?
K: I was always very healthy in my diet. I ate organic, drank green juices, and exercised. The only change I made was to cut out sugar, which is said to feed cancer. I also started a vigorous yoga practice, which has helped my body build up strength after the double mastectomy. Yoga is also a very good as a holistic tool to heal body, mind, and soul.
B – Your outlook on life, are you more positive or negative, more or less spiritual?
K: I am much more positive. I am less afraid to take chances. I have always had a spiritual outlook and cancer forced me to practice it. When I was ill, I made a conscious decision to get through this and not let cancer destroy my positivity, as that, with my faith was all that I had.
I now feel extremely focused, empowered and more driven to create the life I want.
C – Your future and the future of your kids / family
K: I don’t think anyone knows what the future holds. I used to spend so much time planning for the future. Now I plan for each day, and a few months at a time. I live in the moment. My priority is to spend as much time with the people I love as possible. At the end of the day, memories are what you are left with. Vacations have become much more important!
D – The impact on your husband, how did he deal with it?
K: My husband was incredible. He did not think of himself, and put my young daughter and me first. He took over everything – managed our home, looked after my daughter, cared for me and saw that I had everything taken care of. I think we both went into survival mode, as our main focus was my young daughter, and me getting through this. We often chat about it, and neither of us can believe that it happened. After the panic, one realizes what a nightmare it was.
Q: What have you learned about yourself from your experience?
K: I have learned about my own power, and have realized how strong I really am. I also have a zero tolerance for bull*+$%.
Q: Have you changed your style in any way (apart from your hair!)?
K: I don’t think I have changed my style. I have always loved fashion and just adapt looks that suit short hair.
Q: How do you feel about breast cancer now, do you look at it as something you’ve survived and therefore you’re not afraid of, or are you still scared of the future?
K: I would be lying if I said I did not have fears of it coming back. When I have those fears, I let them float out my mind and focus more on positive thoughts. I think a healthy mind is one of the keys to staying well. I refuse to be scared of the future, I embrace it. I have given up control, there are certain things I can do, and certain things I can’t.
Q: Are there vulnerabilities there that you don’t show and if so, what are they?
K: I am still processing what has happened. I often feel like it happened to someone else and not me. I feel very vulnerable when the other breast cancer survivor friends that I have made have had health scares.