Friday, March 28, 2014

Pictograph Facts

I stumbled across this handy-dandy document this morning. For those of you who have been asking me questions about why I am raging against the machine (Susan G. Komen), here are some of the reasons:

"Mammography screening does not prevent or cure breast cancer..."
"Overdiagnosis of breast cancer has led to ..."
"...incidence of metastatic disease has changed 0%.."

Please take a second to educate the title says, it may surprise you.

BC Facts

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Motherless Daughters Club

Isn't that just the saddest title? The Motherless Daughters Club? The name brings me a titch of pain, to be quite honest with you. is an accurate, literal descriptor of me.

In hopping on Twitter and trying to become an MBC advocate, I have begun to follow many brilliant minds, one of whom is Marie Ennis-O'Connor from Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer. In corresponding with her, she sent me the link to this article, written by Nancy Hicks:
The Motherless Daughters Club

And my breath was taken away.

"There is a huge hole in my life where a mother — and now a maternal grandmother for my children — should be. I still wish I had a mother to call when something good happens, when something bad happens, or when nothing at all has happened, just to talk about the day."

I soaked in every word. Someone was speaking my language. I felt a connection across the internet, across continents. There are people like me. While I choose to believe my mom is with me (I swear, the other day I had the strangest feeling that she was riding in the car with me), I know I am, physically, a motherless daughter. 

Yesterday was my 35th birthday, the first without my mom and the second without my dad. Last year, my father had just passed away in January, I was pregnant and my 34th birthday was spent in an emotional haze. It was an awful day. Yesterday, my husband gave me some perspective in a funny story about my mom that he told me at 6:00 in the morning. He shifted my perspective from mourning to smiling. It was a decent day. I felt mom with me. I coped. And I am back at it again today.

"When asked how much of her life her mom’s death affected, Edelman says all of it. Everything. It affects everything. When a mother dies, a daughter grieves, and then her life moves on. She will feel happiness again. But the missing her, the wanting her, the wishing she were still here — that part never ends."

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Some education...

"I knew that breast cancer had stages and that Stage 4 wasn’t good. I didn’t realize that no one dies from early stage breast cancer–but that 20 to 30 percent of those with early stage breast cancer will go on to have a metastatic recurrence."

As I am delving deeper and deeper into my advocacy for metastatic breast cancer, I came across this blog post today and HAD to share. Metastatic breast cancer makes me MAD...really MAD. But some people don't know why I am so pissed about it. I thought this post was eye-opening and just the thing that someone with no knowledge of MBC could learn from. Please take a few minutes to check out this article:

What have we learned about Metastatic Breast Cancer, Charlie Brown?

Friday, March 21, 2014


In publishing my last post, I saw that my mom's eulogy was sitting in my drafts. I was honored to deliver this eulogy for her. Words are not adequate to express my love. I know she heard this....and I hope that she knows that every single word is true. I had a good mom.


Thank you all for coming today to mourn and celebrate our mom. She was a hell of a woman and put up the fight of her life. She is so deeply missed, it's hard to even fathom going through this lifetime without her.

This past weekend, families and friends were out and about for Labor Day. The last hurrah of the summer. My family and I were having labor day as well.....actually, it was a labor of love weekend. My sisters, dad and I were at mom's side all weekend, caring for her, sitting with her, loving her. Not knowing that she would finally be at rest so soon. I know we'd do it all over again, a thousand times, to see her healthy and whole. I know that mom knew we were there, each doing our very best for her.

Like I've said, ma was an amazing woman. I'd like to take a couple moments to share some thoughts on her. 

All three of us girls meant the world to mom. We had a REALLY good mom. We've each learned from her, inherited her traits and have made her proud.

I inherited my gift of gab from mom. Dad always said that mom would tell anyone her life story and that was true. You know, it's just like she and I like to share things with other people that they may find interesting. They NEED to know these things!

Mom and I also shared a strong bond through our love for her mom, my grandma Faye. For 23 years since she has passed, every February 18 mom and I talk on grandma's birthday and every February 22 we call each other to mourn the anniversary of her passing.  This coming Febuaury is going to be very hard.

Katie, as mom was, was a younger mom. There were many challenges that my mom faced having me so young and Katie had some of those as well. But the amazing thing that happened was that Katie fell right into mom's footsteps and made a wonderful life for herself, her daughters, Aubree and Kelsey, and her husband Dan. Mom couldn't have been more proud of Katie for going to nursing school and kicking butt as much as she has. Mom will certainly be beaming from Heaven in May as Katie graduates with her well-earned nursing degree.

Kasey, the baby, has always been mom's soft spot. I remember thinking that when Kasey went to college, mom was going to go with her. Watching one of Kasey's dance recitals with mom and dad one year, it was actually beautiful to see mom gaze at Kasey as she flowed across the stage. Mom was entranced by Kasey and loved her with all of her heart.

She loved each of us girls intensely. We were her life. She was proud of us and would tell anyone she met. But her true joy were her grandchildren. Aubree, Kelsey, Sadie and Colin. She was an awesome grandma. It was rare that she would come over without some kind of gift from a garage sale in her hand for one of the kids. She loved their laughter, their smiles, their chubby cheeks. During my mom's last hour with us, I made her the promise that we would raise all of our babies to know her, just as we all knew and loved grandma Perkins. Our children will know their meemaw, their grandma Kim. My sisters and I will make sure of it.

The last piece of my mom's heart belonged to my dad. Her companion and husband of more than 30 years. Their love was a strong one. One that had its ups and downs, but always prevailed. They would go leafing, out to Eddie's Grill, sit on the back deck or just have their chats in the morning. They were a simple couple who had an amazing love. I know that mom is watching over her man as he begins his journey without her. Us girls will be with him along the way.

We love you mom. I know you are with grandma right now, happy and healthy and whole. Sadie told me the other night that I would be with you again one day when I am an angel like you. I anticipate seeing your beautiful face again, but until then, I will help to love our family as strongly and deeply as you did. I love you.


As I touched on earlier, words that will stick with me for eternity are:

"The fruits of Kim's struggle may take years to realize."

These words were spoken at her service by Father Mark. The words come to mind almost daily. What fruit will come from my mom's struggle? Will breast cancer end because of HER struggle? Nope. Will people stop pinking because of HER struggle? No chance. Will her struggle make someone think again about breast cancer?I will try my best to make damn sure of that.

What I mean about think again is to not just see a color. To not just see a smiling face. To not just see a survivor. To think again means to take the reactions and emotions that my sisters and I have exhibited and to think about WHAT breast cancer is. What it actually is. It's NOT a color, it's not only survivors. It's not only hope. It's despair. It's disgusting. It's disfiguring. 

Maybe some of my mom's fruits will be that people think again. Breast cancer isn't the "easy" cancer, although it's marketed like it. My mom's death has challenged me to help spread the word on metastatic breast cancer. I vow to never let anyone think breast cancer is easy. I used to think it was. Until I met MBC. Then my world was flipped upside down.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Kohl's/Komen Debate

I eluded to it in the last post, but this blogger did a great job of summarizing the debacle that is currently happening. Please take three minutes to read this post:

 Drowning in Pink

Father Mark said, "The fruits of Kim's struggles may take years to realize." I've taken that to heart. My mom didn't suffer for nothing. She has made me an advocate. And advocate I will.

Hard to see

Mom's friend Jenny
This picture was posted to my sister's FB page yesterday. Mom's friend Jenny, who has stage 3 breast cancer, walked in mom's memory for the Southwest Florida Komen Foundation. Jenny said there were 5,000 people in attendance. Here are my instant, gut reaction thoughts:

1. It has "in memory of" on that piece of paper. That is a hard pill to swallow. I know my mom is gone, but now people are walking in memory of her. It feels yucky and weird. The sentiment is fabulous, I just hate that it's done for MY mom.

2. The money collected from those 5,000 attendees could have been used for greater awareness had they been directed to The Gathering Place or to the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network or METAvivor. These are places that care for the patient and family and also deal directly with the breast cancer that KILLS. The ONLY breast cancer that kills; stage four - METASTATIC.

I have lots of anger right now with the whole Komen/Kohls debacle. But that is for another day. Today I am trying to wrap my mind around "in memory of."

Love you, mom.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Six months later

And I still haven't had the mental space to write about my mom's death. I think of her (and it) every day. The silliest things will trigger my thoughts of her dying breath. Yesterday, it was someone actually saying the words "taking a dying breath." They were goofing about something on the radio and I thought to myself, do they have any idea how horrific it is to see someone's dying breath?? I watched my mother die. I literally watched her die. As I write this, I just want to write it over and over and over again so that people understand. I watched my mom die. The woman who brought me into this world.

Why do I want to repeat it? Because my mom didn't just die, I WATCHED it happen. I wish I could explain all of my thoughts....but I can't. I've heard that it takes awhile after someone in Hospice care passes to remember them any other way than as sick as they were. I guess I have flashbacks of mom, but truly my main thoughts are typically around her last day.

My sister had her 28th birthday two days ago. Her first without mom. She seemed to handle it well, although I know she was a mess. I know that last year I was a mess on my birthday because of my dad's passing. I just can't wait until March 25th when I have a birthday and both of my parents are gone (insert sarcasm HERE).

I've had so many life changes going on, I can barely stay focused on a task for more than 10 minutes. Let's recap:

Found out I was pregnant with third child 1.16.13
Dad passed away 1.21.13
Mom passes away 9.3.13
I gave birth to Elise 9.16.13
I lost my job 10.15.13

Yeah....that pretty much sucked.

I have been so busy with caring for three children (no small feat, I am amazed at how difficult it has been), working full time, searching for a job and house in Columbus, trying to sell/rent our house, trying to be a good wife, that some things have slipped. Relationships have slipped. And that's okay. I can only do what I need to do right now and I have to be okay with that. And I am. Friends and family that haven't heard from me in awhile are okay with that, and I am grateful. In spite of all of my losses I am grateful for my support system.

So, the death story will wait for another day. I want to write it down so that I don't forget it....but really, how could I?