Counting My Blessings and Passing Them On

I have been blessed.

Of the 209,060 women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, I have not been one.  So far.

Of the 3 million women who are living with breast cancer as I write this, I am not one.

My daughter, as most of you know, was not so lucky.  She was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 33.  (You can read her story here.)  But even she has been blessed, because now, over four years later, she is cancer-free.  She paid a very high price and fought an extremely grueling battle, but she won.  And after all she has done, her odds of a recurrence is about 1%, much lower than mine of being diagnosed in my lifetime.

This is a post in my on-going series during October, posted in observance of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

I’m writing today to introduce you to an amazing woman.  Her name is Kelly Corrigan.  In 2004, this 36-year-old mother of two was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer.  She had discovered a lump that turned out to be 7 centimeters, about the size of a golf ball.

She underwent treatment, documenting it in photographs and memoir.  Since finishing her treatment, Kelly has dedicated herself to getting the word out about breast cancer, offering support to those who have it and to those who love someone who has been diagnosed.  She wrote a wonderful (and, amazingly, entertaining) book, has made appearances on television, given speeches, created web sites, and blogged.  And she has done all of this in an uplifting, positive way.

(click image to read an excerpt)

My daughter Lisa was inspired and strengthened by Kelly’s words, as was I.  If you have breast cancer, or you know someone who does, I cannot recommend Kelly Corrigan’s book, The Middle Place, strongly enough.  Heck even if you don’t, read this book. It is a terrific book no matter what your situation. I promise you will be anything but brought down by it.

Here’s a tiny taste:

“…I called home to tell my parents that I had cancer.

And that’s what this whole thing is about. Calling home. Instinctively. Even when all the paperwork—a marriage license, a notarized deed, two birth certificates, and seven years of tax returns—clearly indicates you’re an adult, but all the same, there you are, clutching the phone and thanking God that you’re still somebody’s daughter.”

Kelly created this web site, Circus of Cancer, to help us step up and support a friend with breast cancer.  There is an incredible “how-to” section that answers the question we all have: “What can I do?”

You will also find an amazing photo-journey of Kelly’s own battle from start to finish.

Kelly Corrigan is one of our Superheroes.  Thank you, Kelly.

And now, my friends, meet Kelly Corrigan.

This entry was posted in Breast Cancer, Cause, Lisa. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Counting My Blessings and Passing Them On

  1. souldipper says:

    Being ‘newer’ to your blog, I now understand your staunch support and action during this month designated for remembering. Thanks the Powers That Be.

  2. PattiKen says:

    Yes, this is my month to howl: in encouragement to all women to keep themselves healthy; in support of everything that’s done to forward the cause and end this terrible disease; in anger that so many women are still dying; and because my daughter carries a big stick. 😉

  3. JeffScape says:

    You know, I’ve been thinking… given my decently-sized circle of friends, I’m actually devoid of anybody who’s had to deal with breast cancer themselves (several have friends and relatives, however). There’s been leukemia, lung cancer, skin cancer, and others… but no breast cancer.

    I’m making no type of statement, but since your blog has asked us to think about it, I have been. Kinda weird how lives twist and turn.

    • PattiKen says:

      You have been very lucky in that, Jeff. I have had five women in my life with breast cancer. Two were relatives (my daughter and a niece), two very close friends, and one an in-law. One is dead. Look around at the women in your circle of friends and your family. The statistics say that one in eight will have breast cancer. Some may already have it and not know they do.

      This is going to sound really odd, I think. I feel a little odd even saying it. But tell the women who are your friends and family to do monthly self-exams, and if they are over forty, to consider mammograms. You might save a life.

      I love you for thinking about it. ♥

  4. 2zpoint says:

    It does my heart good to read this…I know that she is a survivor but a reminder after last weeks loss is a beacon of light when things seem dark. I just can’t believe that some people actually take a stand against breast cancer awareness. Those people make me so angry due to their insensitivity and plentiful selfishness. I can only think that if my mother would have been more aware a few years earlier, she might be here today and my autistic brother might not be in a home for the disabled because he lived with her as long as she was able to take care of him. I hope that your daughters light keeps shining and telling others as you do thank you for the article. I have added you to my “Awesome Authors Worth Reading ” list. Have a great day!

    • PattiKen says:

      Thank you for this. It is unbelievable that anyone would stand against awareness. The consequences of being unaware are often heartbreaking. Your loss and that of so many others might have been prevented or delayed. I might not be writing about my daughter in the present tense today.

      Your mother sounds like she was a wonderful person. It’s tragic that you’ve lost her to cancer. I am so sorry.

      Thank you for your good wishes for my daughter, and for the honor you have paid me on your blog. I really appreciate both more than I can say.

  5. Jamie Dedes says:

    Hey, Patti, I’m going to assume you won’t mind my re-blogging to help get the word out. Well done. I have a passion for this cause, which took down my mom and two aunts and now has two friends in its grip. Hard to find the time to track because, as you know I think, I’m dealing with a different challenge for the moment. You and your daughter and others are real heros for all that you do to create greater awareness. Blessings … Blog on …and thanks. Hugs!

    • Jamie Dedes says:

      P.S.: Just noticed you quoted Gibran above. Love him.

    • PattiKen says:

      I know that you know how grateful I am to have the word passed on. Thank you again for that.

      Yes, I do know what you are facing, and I so admire you for the way you keep on keepin’ on.

      Thank you too for the hero comment. I’m happy to be included in the legion of people fighting to end this.

      Hugs to you too.

      P.S. The Gibran quote just said it best. Glad you like it.

  6. Pingback: COUNTING MY BLESSINGS AND PASSING THEM ON (via PattiKen and the Muses – Home Away from Home) « MUSING BY MOONLIGHT

  7. desk49 says:

    I’m 61 and my wife is a survivor my mother’s not so Thank You
    It is hard to write this through all the tears so Thank You
    The video was very heartfelt so Thank You
    Thank you for caring
    Thank You for reminding me to care

    • PattiKen says:

      Ellis, my heart breaks for your mother, your wife, and for you. What a ravaging this disease has done to your family. People forget that not all the victims are women. I’m so sorry about your mom. I wish your wife continued good health.

      Thank you so much for your visit and comments. And for your thank yous, you are so very welcome.

  8. Heart says:

    Patti, I come here from Jamie’s! Thanks for telling us the story of Kelly, it is truly an inspiration! There is so much to hope inside the veil of sorry!!

    • PattiKen says:

      You’re welcome, Rachana. I urge you to read Kelly’s book. You will find yourself filled with hope. She and others like her do so much to make sure breast cancer stays in the forefront of everyone’s minds. Because of her advocacy, lives will be saved. It’s a simple as that.

      And while I’m on the subject, life-saving starts at home. You know what to do.

  9. buttercup600 says:

    I love you for doing this Patti, also very dear to my heart and am going over to your daughter’s blog too. Love you oxox

    • PattiKen says:

      Thank you, Amanda. I passed your comments on to Lisa, and I know she’ll appreciate them too. Thank you for being a good friend. Many hugs to you, Girl Friend!

  10. PinkLady says:

    we lost a lot of my mom’s siblings to cancer and my mom herself is a throat cancer survivor. one of my closest friends survived breast cancer. so it’s no wonder that talk of the big C really scares me. thanks for people like you who spread the word to educate us about this much-dreaded disease.

    • PattiKen says:

      I’m so sorry that cancer has hit your family so hard. It is such a terrible disease.

      Thank you for visiting and commenting. I hope you’ll read my most recent post here, where my daughter, who is a survivor, speaks for herself. You’ll find it at She Speaks.

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