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How Kelly Preston’s Death Affects Me as a Cancer Survivor

Yesterday morning I woke up to the news that Kelly Preston died after a two year battle with breast cancer. I was heartbroken. I wasn’t friends with Kelly or her family, but I hurt for her family and for Kelly as if they were my friends. She was only 57 years old. First her son died when he was 16, and now her death. Not fair at all to this family.

My next thoughts were, why was I so lucky to have survived my breast cancer? Then I started thinking about my upcoming mammogram. It’s been two years since I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Possibly around the same time that Kelly was diagnosed. Mine was caught early thanks to my annual mammogram. I am thankful for that, but I am also nervous every time I get a mammogram now.

Kelly was private about her breast cancer battle. It was definitely private to the public, but we don’t know how many of her friends and family knew. I was very open when I got diagnosed. I’m pretty much an open book and I used my diagnosis to urge others to get their routine tests done. However, if my cancer were to come back, I don’t know how open I would be.

Prior to having breast cancer, I never understood how every single person’s diagnosis and battle can be so different. When I heard about Kelly’s death, I first wanted to know what her diagnosis was, her stage, her grade and so much more. Why did I want to know? I’m not sure. But I wanted more of her story. Not for gossip. But as a breast cancer fighter.

Although my cancer is gone from my breast, I don’t consider myself cancer-free. I wish I could be like so many people who, when they finish chemo or radiation or surgery, say they are cancer free. I have three and a half more years of taking drugs to prevent a recurrence. Maybe at the end of three and a half, I will call myself cancer free. Though I don’t think I will ever stop feeling like a part of me has died when I hear that someone has lost their battle from breast cancer.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Originally published: July 14, 2020
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