Effects on the Side

Kat Caverly. self-portrait, copyright © August 2013

No one every puts “Cancer” on their To-Do list, but when it found its way onto mine I was determined to make the best of it.

The beginning of this chapter of my life started with a diagnosis of Stage IV breast cancer on July 22, 2013. This was also the beginning of me getting very lucky. I was scheduled for a PET CT the following week which proved it had not metastasized, so it was NOT Stage IV, which cannot be cured.

I have learned a lot about this part of me in the past 6 weeks. Yes, it is a part of me. Mutated into Bizarro Kat sure, but still made by me and evidently immortal. I learned that from the extraordinary book, “The Emperor of All Maladies” by Mukherjee, a book I ravenously consumed in less than a week. This read gave me respect not only for the oncologists and cancer researchers, but for the cancer I had created, albeit with no intention.

I expected the chemotherapy, and the tests, and the surgeons, maybe radiation, and definitely too many risks of side-effects. But what I didn’t expect were the effects on the side. Starting with a new-found tolerance for the human condition.

It ain’t easy being human, mostly because it is our nature to be irrational if you believe Dr. Albert Ellis, which I do. I studied with Albert over the course of 1995-96. I learned the theory and worked it in practice, beating the zero odds a psychotherapist gave me in getting over an early childhood trauma. So I figured even Stage IV breast cancer odds wouldn’t stop me from grabbing this bull by the horns and riding it all the way into enjoying my life anyways.

When I was 17 years old I decided that I was going to be happy. I had never seen an example of a happy adult human being, so I wasn’t even sure if it was possible. But I was committed to getting as close to being happy as was humanly possible. I achieved HAPPY in early 2011 with a happiness practice which includes Haysa Yoga. I’ve believed for almost twenty years that you can even be in pain and still happy. And now I get to prove that theory in the laboratory of my own body!

Don’t get me wrong. Cancer sucks and the treatments are intense. I didn’t know if I had the emotional, intellectual, and/or physical strength to get through all of this. Now I do. I am ready for this.

More to come as I continue on this adventure.


Now read this

Starting Out Life Living with Breast Cancer

I don’t remember a time when breast cancer wasn’t in my life. Picture of me and grandma before her breast cancer, 1958 The first five years of my life were turbulent, to say the least. Started with my mother’s schizophrenia diagnosis... Continue →

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