Kat Caverly

Bringing JOY into people’s lives since 1986 creator/producer/bon vivant

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Do Healthy. Be Healthy.

Do Happy. Be Happy.

Can you be healthy even when you have cancer? I think so. Health is not a state of lack of disease. Health is the body’s ability to heal, especially in the face of disease.

Happiness and health are forever intertwined, interdependent. Like the mind-body connection, happiness and health cannot be separated. To be happy, we must do happy. To be healthy, we must do healthy. These actions are specific to the daily circumstances, but there are basics.

Making a daily gratitude list is the single most important thing I do to maintain a high happiness level, which in turn is the foundation for a strong immune system. I truly make every day Thanksgiving, and now, living with cancer, I see the proof daily that I am so very lucky, and surrounded by love and support.

I am lucky. I was born with both a higher than average level of optimism, as well as developed a robust

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Queen of Hearts

This was our first Valentines Day: talk about first impressions, Tom didn’t even bring me a card! This is an outrage to me made all the worse by the fact I am a greeting card designer. Tom tries to explain Valentines Day is nothing but a capitalist plot but I’m not letting him get a word in edgewise as I give it to him with both barrels of indignation.

Tom is standing on the set in my studio. There is a 9 foot wide roll of red seamless paper rolled down behind him. I am running out of words when he pulls out a tool of his trade, a Swiss Army knife. He turns and starts cutting into my precious red paper before I can stop him. Now I’m in shock. He is ruining it as far as I’m concerned.

Tom takes out a pen and writes on the piece he has cut out and hands it to me. Now speechless, I look down and see Tom has made a red heart, and written on it is “Be Mine Valentine”. This is a Valentine I

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Radiate!

Kat Caverly, Self-Portrait February 8, 2014
Kat Caverly, Self-Portrait February 8, 2014

The first time I heard that Jack Johnson song was the week before my first radiation treatment. I walk the 1.01 miles to Ulster Radiation, and as I walk I believe “every part of the dream.”

I am looking forward to walking in the snowstorm. It’s 8am and I am already planning how to dress for this adventure, layers layers layers! I get to wear my winteriest clothes. I am ready for real temperatures under zero, and the wind chills too. Bring it Mother Nature!

Treatments are every morning, 8:50am, Monday through Friday. I am eager to complete this part of my cancer dance card with no delays. The sooner I do it, the sooner I will be done with it all.

The walk challenges me, especially the hills. I think as I walk up the steepest part of the hill, “Will I survive this?” every time. Then I make it to the hospital parking lot, once again. By this

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Process and Progress

I had been nervous about this impending surgery since the Friday after Thanksgiving. I put off editing the footage for this video because I was overwhelmed with emotion. It is good to see that I could still be funny. Even better that I can still laugh at myself!

With chemo I was consoled, for the most part, by the fact most of the side effects would be temporary. Surgery is so very permanent, as are the lifelong risks associated with some of the procedures. The good news is now I have another excellent reason to exercise regularly!

The new year has brought me a whole new chapter of this seemingly never-ending story. I knew I would be facing radiation too and just the word made me nervous. So I started calling it ‘radiotherapy’. It just sounds friendlier. Tom says I should ask them to tune me into an “easy listening station.”

We each have different ways of coping. I cope by finding

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Snow Flake

"Snow Flake" by Kat Caverly, Self-Portrait, December 13, 2013

Tom had spent about three hours in the dark OR waiting room. It was peaceful. He had watched as other gurneys were wheeled by quietly. He had spoken to the surgeon. Then he heard this commotion, as the big double doors burst open and a “bald Lucille Ball was yucking up two nurses and I knew it was Kat.”

I was sitting up on the gurney, laughing up a storm, telling jokes. The nurses were saying that they wanted me to come back every day, to teach Patient 101. I didn’t want to ever come back, thank you very much!

The first thing I said to the nurses in the recovery room was, “Hey, I’m hungry. I guess that’s a good sign!” They asked me about pain, and I asked what would they give me. “Morphine” was the answer and that scared me more than any pain. I said no to any pain killers that first day, and on day two too. I was so excited about the NO PAIN by the third day I did a little dance and

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Warrior Princess and the Pea

Kat Caverly, self-portrait October 31, 2013, Warrior Princess and the Pea

Anyone that knows me well, knows all too well I am a fighter. But if you know me intimately, you know I have very sensitive, thin skin. I feel every little breeze and light touch. Tom pegged me right. He calls me his Warrior Princess and the Pea.

This is the reason why I fight dirty. If I can avoid getting hit at all is always my goal. But I couldn’t avoid the hits with chemotherapy. In fact I had to open my arms and full embrace this warrior’s stance: hit me with your best shot! Chemo pulled no punches, but I was ready for this fight.

I had to learn and I had to learn fast about these opponents/fellow warriors. I read too many bad books before I found “The Chemotherapy Survival Guide” by oncology nurses Judith McKay and Tamera Schacher. This gave me a solid foundation to apply my knowledge of herbs, and what I was learning from “The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils” by Kurt

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Enjoying One of My “10 Best Days of Chemo”

Pumpkin, self-portrait of Kat Caverly 103013, all rights reserved

I spent four hours today getting my third infusion of the chemotherapy drug Taxol. I listened to my “Happy Songs” playlist while reading “Anatomy of an Illness” by Norman Cousins, which I devoured in just one sitting.

I also got a heavy dose of the steroid dexamethasone, both oral and IV, which can explain the flood of creativity, but this is the first time I felt like this on Day 1 of Taxol. I am positively filled with a rush of hope, the faith I am going to be fine.

And being “fine” includes whatever comes next, even the worst case possibility, no matter the odds. Today I decided I am ok, in every sense of the word; ok despite the cancer, including the side effects of the treatments, and the fact I face all of this while living alone five days a week. This is already a miracle.

I am enjoying the hell out of this day. The sun came out. I’m in love. I actually feel good after chemo

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I’m Too Sexy for My Hair

Too sexy for my hair

Too sexy for my hair

Kat Caverly, self-portrait, October 20, 2013

I’m too sexy for my hat

Too sexy for my hat

What you think about that?

Kat Caverly, self-portrait, October 20, 2013

I’m a patient

You know what I mean

And I do my little turns with the Chemo

Yeah, with the Chemo

With the Chemo, yeah

I take my little turns with the Chemo

Kat Caverly, self-portrait, October 20, 2013

Too sexy for my hair

Too sexy for my hair

Too sexy for my hair

Too sexy for my hair

I am beginning to really love being bald.

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Packing a Punch: the Pink Pugilist

Kat Caverly as the Pink Pugilist, animated GIF, October 17, 2013

Back in 2006 I hired a boxing trainer and in October of that year I bought these pink Everlast ProStyle training gloves. I felt the bright pink gloves gave me an advantage against even the toughest opponent, since they tended to inspire bemusement back then, not the fighting spirit.

Now, in 2013, I too have joined the ranks of those diagnosed with breast cancer, and Breast Cancer Awareness month has a new meaning for me. I read “The Race is Run One Step at a Time” by Nancy Brinker, sister of Susan Komen, and founder of “The Race for the Cure”, the Susan G. Komen Foundation. They successfully made pink equal breast cancer awareness.

The marketing of cancer in many ways is irritating in and of itself, but it is through such marketing that not only awareness has, but funds for research have, been raised. Unfortunately, not even research has been enough to secure a cure for breast cancer

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Silencing My Inner Big Baby

I hate being sick.

I’ve always hated being sick. My bottom lip sticks out and everything. The hardest part are the tantrums. My inner child is a brat.

Kat Caverly as the Big Baby photo no.1, Oct. 17, 2013

My outer child hugs her close. She tells her, “We have to do this.” She’s the big sister. “We’ll do fine.”

Deep down I know we never really know for sure. Still, I am grateful for the optimism.

Truth is, I am just not a very good sick person, which explains why, even with a diagnosis of cancer, I still refuse to think I am sick. My inner Big Baby thinks I am just making myself sick. “Stop it!”, she screams. Sadly, I know that I cannot.

Kat Caverly as the Big Baby photo no.2, Oct. 17, 2013

I have to stubbornly do it again. And again. Then again. The cure is not worse than the disease. There may be no cure. Twenty years from now, with still no evidence of cancer, I still may not be able to say I am cancer-free. Wait, what?

No wonder my inner child is a big baby. My adult wants to

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