Sunday, May 26, 2013

My week with cancer.

This is not a blog about cancer. This is a blog about all of the people I love and the strength they give me. A week ago I was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer. Let me state from the beginning though that this is not MY cancer. It is "the cancer" or "this cancer" or whatever you want to call it, but mine. I found a lump on Saturday and had the results by Friday. I had a pretty solid weekend long pity party and woke up Monday morning ready to fight. It was all so weird at first, it still kind of is. The reality of the situation has started to sink in but sometimes it still seems like a dream. I don't have any "why?" questions running through my head. With the help of a friend the "how the heck am I gonna do this?" went away (one day at a time). So now I'm just ready to start. I'm ready for my first treatment, ready for my body to start fighting. My treatment begins this Thursday and I will be receiving chemotherapy once every two weeks for 20 weeks. After a couple weeks of recovery I'll have surgery, more recovery, radiation, more recovery, reconstruction, more recovery, and wrapping it all up with hormone therapy. Right now my focus is chemo, one step at a time. The good news is I won't have treatment the week of my birthday, on my dad's birthday, or over the 4th of July! And even though I will be logging a lot of hospital time this summer, I plan on keeping my life as normal as possible. I will still work this summer, be able to finish out this school year, and hopefully have the best quarter life crisis a girl could ask for. I am ready to get summer started!
There are some weird things that come with having cancer and the treatment involved. For example, no summer at the beach. Unfortunately, Lake Michigan is a little too dirty and my immune system will be a little too low. Also there will be no partying like it's San Francisco because everything I put in my body has to be fighting fuel. Continuously hearing about how this is going to be a "long, challenging road ahead" is strange, too. In my head I'll bang out each treatment and get on with my life (fingers crossed). I had to make a decision about the children I haven't had yet and received a prescription for a wig, not to mention I had to give up my gardening career. With the help of my new friend Amber (a true angel) I have my purses all prepared for chemo and stocked full of gum, kleenex, lip chap, sunscreen, and band-aids. Also, I now own my first thermometer! And in my hospital bag is my fuzzy Justin Bieber blanket. Be prepared.
There are also many good things that have come from this diagnosis. I will never question the quality of friends I have. They are strong, unbelievable, and have stood by me every second of this adventure. I haven't been to a single appointment alone and I don't even see them allowing me to. My family has been rock solid and ready as usual. My parents packed up their home in Arizona in a day and are already on their way back to Chicago. I've had my wonderful aunts and uncles showing their love and support and my cousins around to make me smile and feel normal. Kira has already taken charge and designed and ordered bracelets, not to mention is ready to drop whatever she's doing to be there for me. Oh and my work! All of the lovely folks that I spend every weekday teaching with have been there for me every step of the way and are a core group in my army. All of you are. Every single one of you will have a hand in this victory.
The bad is very small in this new challenge. Cancer likes all of the same foods I do, so my diet has changed. Everything that goes in is fuel. My daily bag of Wild Berry Skittles will no longer be happening. And my mom gets another year of being the frosting queen! I cannot wait till remission... I've also heard that being bald isn't an easy transition, but I've had so much hair for so long now it might be a nice change! And who isn't excited to see me with my Justin Timberlake in the 90s hairstyle?!
More than weird or any other feeling I have felt through this experience, I have felt love. Love from my family, my friends, my work family... everyone. I am so humbled by your love. Your love is what makes me feel strong. I am fueled by your love. There is no way I could fight this without you. I can fight this and I will beat this because of you. So I have to thank you all for helping me do this. It seems impossible without your support. "It takes a village."

So how can you help? The texts, emails, and Facebook messages have made me smile and kept my spirits high. Positivity. I need lots of positive thoughts and vibes my way. One of the committees I've formed for my army is a simple, uplifting quote to start my day with. There are also plenty of other groups, people researching diet and exercise, there's the "pretty committee" in charge of making sure I feel beautiful through this, friends to make sure I don't hole away, people to help with this blog and other updates, the lists go on. And I am so touched to have everyone wanting to take part. If you want to help just ask. Want to do something? Ask me first. And don't be afraid to because not only do I want to hear from you, I want to stay empowered through this. I don't want to roll over to this cancer and let it or anyone else control what I need. There will be days that I don't want visitors and just will have my family around. There will be days that my family needs to get out of town to recharge and I might need someone to spend time with. Just ask, I'll be honest with you.

Again, thank you all for your love and care. My family and I are blessed to have the most wonderful people in our lives. I know that God will use this new adventure for good and He is using me for something beautiful. I know He is near me and will hold us all in His hands through this. Good will come from this. It already has :)
Love you all so much! Check back for updates, we'll do the best we can to keep you informed.
And remember, this is a blog about all of the people I love and the strength they give me. This is not a blog about cancer.


  1. Hi I'm a friend of Kiah's. I just wanted to say I'm praying for you :) You're a huge inspiration and example of positivity and carrying of your cross. Way to go, girl. XOXO
    With love and prayers, Emily

  2. Kayla,
    Mojo just forwarded your blog post to me. I had heard about your plight and she wanted to update me.

    WOW!! I just can't get too much beyond WOW! You are beyond amazing!!! Mature waaaaaay past your years, incredibly positive waaaaaaay beyond anyone who's never had to deal with cancer, and awesomely inspiring!! Your post reads like a blast of sunshine when others may have made it into a story in the depths of despair. As I said to Mojo, this cancer hasn't got a chance!!! You go girl! You know the whole world is behind you! :)


  3. Your blog title says it all K La. At these moments God will use you my dear niece to show us the depths of his Love for you and all of us willing to receive his Grace all around you.
    Your message of Love and this is not about Cancer touches me in a place our family knows all to well.
    I will be with you to laugh(Justin Timberlake Blanky) and cry(Cubs fan, NOT ME) and all of the feelings in between. I will not dwell on the how did this happen but WHAT can I do to be there for K La and Patty,Tom and Kira.
    Kiah Marie and Kira you are both so special and we as family are so blessed by your grace.
    K La I have chosen to Chair the Bad Joke a Day Committee during Chemo(which I truly find comes easy for me) HaHa!!!
    DAY 1) What did 1 cannibal say to the other while eating a CLOWN?
    Does BOZO( local chicago clown) taste Funny to You?
    Peace,Love and Healing My K La