I’ve known Kori for a LONG time. Her story is one that can only be described as miraculous on steroids. For a long time Kori’s story was drug addiction, alcoholism, theft, and prison. Change began happening in her and soon treatment and recovery were added to her story. At last, this year saw opening up before her a life of integrity and freedom that she began living with a tenacity and grace that amazed me.
Then, 134 days ago, she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.
I sat down with her the day after her last chemo treatment to see how her life, her mind and her heart have been changed for the better and worse by cancer. Here’s what she had to say.
How do you think your perspective has changed since cancer?
It has changes quite a bit. Drug and alcohol treatment changed my perspective – but not enough. I still thought trivial things were important after that but now, there are things that are just NOT important. Being the fastest person on the road, not important. Getting there safely, important. Disagreeing with people over silly things, not important. Making memories, living in the movement – important. The bottom line, not important. Taking care of each other, important. Finishing together, that’s what’s important.
The entire disease has been a blessing, it has opened my eyes to so many things. It has brought me so much joy in the face of something so horrible. To endure the chemo and actually feel like “this must be what dying feels like” and then be surprised daily with gifts or encouragement and life from friends and SO many strangers has just completely overwhelmed me.
I am determined to live a life of trying to giving back in accordance with all that I have received.
What would you say about your own cancer journey?
Life doesn’t stop when you find out you have cancer. Food, medicine, gas, bills don’t stop just because you get sick.
I had to leave my job that I loved to move in with my mom who lived far away from my friends and community.
It wasn’t real until the port was put in and it was devastating. I have this foreign object inside of me and this scar on my chest. I thought I’d been through enough … I’d just turned 40 and I was really excited, hoping to find and meet someone. I had a job I loved, a family that I could finally see, children that I have a great relationship with … and then it all changed. I was mad. I couldn’t work out, I had to take chemo, I lost my hair, and I didn’t want to be sick. The sick really took me by surprise. I tried to do normal things and then just felt terrible. I realized I couldn’t “be normal,” I couldn’t do things I wanted to do.
Giving up my life, my hiking, my beach, my summer – the season I live for because I can be in my most favorite place just sucked. I feel like I lost a lot.
Are there questions you wish people would ask that don’t get asked?
I like people to talk to me instead of stare at me.
I like the question, “Is your bald head a fashion statement or are you going through something?”
I most appreciate when people acknowledge my fight. I have strangers hug me and tell me, “I had a double mastectomy and I’m fiver years clean.” Those get me and change the feeling of my day in a positive way dramatically.
For those facing Breast Cancer … what would you tell them?
- Read encouraging stuff like this everyday:
- It’s all in your attitude. Don’t let the thought of cancer beat you, you can’t. It’s mind over matter – the power of positive thoughts AND actions. Find something that brings happy to you everyday; for me it was my future, going back to school, the thought of writing my book, and sharing my story.
- I have too much that I want to do and I’m determined to accomplish it. I love my life, I’ve re-built this life, I went through too much to be here and cancer is not going to stop me.
- Be willing to let your purpose evolve and change, everything is always changing.
- I have so much strength in me now that I feel like I can be a strength for somebody else.
… Amazing right?
Following Kori’s cancer journey on Facebook has been so wonderful and heartbreaking to see. My favorite comment of hers on cancer simply stated this:
“I am the happiest person with cancer. It’s leaving my body and I’m thankful for that. But everything that has happened to me when I got cancer has been a blessing to me.”
If you would like to help Kori out by making a donation to help her keep up with the bills that don’t stop just because cancer starts, please click here.
|| what do you think?
– Do you have a cancer story, your own or a loved one’s?
– What did you learn from it?
– How has it changed your life?