Tacoma newspaper columnist documenting her journey with cancer
Longtime and much-loved Tacoma newspaper columnist Kathleen Merryman, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in December, is documenting her treatment in a series of stories she calls, â€śThe Lucky Woman's Guide to Breast Cancer.â€ť
Though there is no good kind of cancer, Merryman explains, her cancer is the least bad, which is why she describes herself as lucky.
â€śI will have an occasionally unpleasant walk through it, and I'll survive,â€ť she wrote in her column that runs in Tacoma Weekly.
In her most recent update on Facebook, Merryman says: "Home from 4 days at TG, getting my white blood cells up to fighting strength. Great medical care, and lovely people. Mahalo TG!"
One reason sheâ€™s sharing her detailed story is to encourage others to be aware of their own health.
Merryman writes: â€śDr. Virginia Stowell, Goddess of Boob Surgery and reader of The Tacoma Weekly, said that, no matter how much is written about breast cancer, more is better. When a friend gets it, people do their breast self-exams and schedule mammograms.
â€śSo let's make a deal: Let me thank you in advance for your kind thoughts. Instead of putting them into words, point them at your own boobs. Do a breast self-exam. Set up a mammogram time. That'll make me happy, and it will keep you in touch with your breast health.â€ť
â€śMan, have I lucked out?â€ť Merryman said during a recent visit. â€śDrs. Stowell, Chitaley and Singh?! Total dream team.â€ť
Merryman also received an outpouring of support from friends and the community.
Co-workers at Tacoma Weekly shaved their heads in solidarity, and Lincoln High School hosted a head-shaving event that raised more than $1,000 for the American Cancer Society.
â€śCancer is the news no one is quite prepared to get,â€ť Merryman wrote. â€śIt demands a reaction for which most of us have no reference point. All of a sudden, we're sloshing around in information, family stories and preconceptions that may or may not have anything to do with what we'll be fighting. â€¦ So, yes, when we get the news, we have no idea what's coming at us, or how we'll meet it, then deal with it.â€ť
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