Kelli's Story

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KELLI: Hi, I'm Kelli.

Text on screen: Kelli

When I was diagnosed metastatic, I’d had breast cancer twice already, so, once a Stage 1 and then again a Stage 3.

And, it was devastating, you know, to be 31 years old and have your whole life ahead of you and all these plans and dreams and aspirations. I just couldn't handle it. You know, I didn't have the coping mechanisms to, to deal with the news. So it was really devastating.

The, the emotional aspect was something that I was unprepared for.

Little by little I started to lose my grip on reality. I stopped getting out of bed. I stopped going to work. I moved my bedroom downstairs so I could really just kinda relish in the darkness that was my, my new reality.

I stopped sleeping. I would literally set the alarm for two o'clock in the morning at every 15-minute increments just so I could relish the fact that it was still dark outside. I stopped eating. I lost 40 pounds in a month. And I just saw myself dead.

It was incredibly isolating. So being in the institution for, for two weeks was actually the best thing that I could've ever done for myself.

Text on screen: She now sees a therapist on a regular basis.

I can't deny that having a complete response to therapy has been critical in my, in my recovery. Talk therapy is really good for me, so it's something that I continue to do today. The key to my mental and emotional wellbeing has been to help others and to look at metastatic breast cancer as a cause, as a career if you would, rather than, you know, this is something that's happening to me and something that is going to end my life one day.

The way that breast cancer itself became a conversation topic in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, is because people started to talk about it. It's scary. I get it. It's terrifying. It's taboo. And that's gotta change. We have to figure out a way to make these conversations less scary to talk about. Talk about it anyway, that’s what we have to do. Otherwise nothing's going to be able to change.

First person I ever met with metastatic breast cancer, her name's Max, and she said, “Okay, Kelli, you know, you either get busy living or get busy dying.” And then she would say, “I acknowledge that one day you’ll die from metastatic breast cancer, maybe, but today's not that day and tomorrow's not looking so good either.”

And that really resonated with me. I'm not going to die today. Not today, not today, not today, not today.

It's made all the difference. Two little words that have really just transformed my life.

It doesn't matter how positive you are. It's just, it's a disease, you know, it's just something that happens.

You are deserving of love. You know, whether it's love you give yourself or you know, love you find other places. But please don't devalue in yourself because you have this disease. It’s a pitfall that I fall into on a regular basis but I tell you what, you know, cancer is, cancer is just a footnote in your overall, you know, the cool, awesome, amazing things about you and it's the least interesting thing about you. So just keep that in mind if you're out there struggling with. with depression or with feeling worthy of, of love and affection because gosh darn it, you are.

Text on screen: No matter how you feel, you don’t have to feel alone.

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Kelli shares her story

Despite living through cancer twice before, Kelli was not prepared for the blow to her emotional and physical well-being caused by her MBC diagnosis. After struggling with depression, she found a way forward through therapy and by embracing the MBC community. She speaks frankly about isolation and relationships in the hope it will help others feel less alone.

It's really been life changing to get outside of my head and get out into the community and help others. I think people are understanding the importance of sharing their own story now.”

— Kelli

Need someone to talk to?

Cancer Support Helpline: 1-888-793-9355

CancerCare’s Hopeline: 1-800-813-HOPE (4673)

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741

Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC) Breast Cancer Helpline: 1-888-753-5222

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