They say your life can change in the wink of an eye. Mine was the flap of an arm. I know, I am a unique little duck, so it fits. On December 13, 2018 I was coming home from Trader Joe’s. I had just loaded up on all of our favorite Holiday foods. Bags littered the front porch as I went to unlock the front door. My right arm started flapping like a duck. I looked at my daughter Whitney and said, what the fuck is going on? She laughed and thought I was playing. When she looked at my face she saw the fear.
I laid down and within a minute the flapping stopped. We phoned Juju who was at an airport in Southern California. To make sure I wasn’t having a stroke we did an assessment. My nurse friend Alicia came over and looked me over. It seemed all was well, until I sat down to answer e-mails. It looked like I was staring into a glass bottle. Something was terribly wrong.
We agreed that Whitney would take me to urgent care. As we were driving that small but mighty voice deep inside me whispered that I needed to go the emergency room. Whitney didn’t question my new request, she had me at the E.R. within five minutes.
The doctor ordered a CAT scan. As I laid there waiting for the results I thought it might be a blood clot or aneurism. I had a heart attack at 39 and it made sense that something vascular was going on. Nada. The doctor said it was a brain mass on the left side. Not at all what I expected. She ordered an ambulance to take me to San Jose for treatment. On the way there I sang, Do You Know the Way to San Jose for the young emergency responder.
I spent ten days in the hospital. Dr. Soren Single preformed a craniotomy and removed a 2cmx3cm meningioma. It looked as if the ordeal was over. I had limited use of my right side and couldn’t walk. Dr. Single was sure that as my brain healed I would regain the use of my right side.
On January 10, 2019 we went to see Dr. Soren for a follow up. I remember him saying “the tumor isn’t what we thought” but I didn’t hear much after that. I had stage III Hemangiopericytomas brain cancer.
Some call them angels but I call them bad ass unicorns because they do the impossible. Dr. Soren was able to remove ALL of my tumor. This was good news for my prognosis. I would need radiation to complete treatment.
Dr. Scott Montgomery worked with me until I could not only walk again but run! It sucked having cancer but I had amazing people helping me. I was grateful and it was my turn to be a bad ass unicorn.
Creativity is my greatest asset and I would use it as I danced with cancer. Along with my creative spirit comes a defiant boldness. I don’t believe everything I am told, especially by doctors. No one knows when they are going to die, even if you have cancer.
The Kimba Project is a creative endeavor of how to not only survive but thrive after a cancer diagnosis. I will share research, resources and ideas with the hope of helping others. This summer I will begin developing a Kaleido Art Journal specifically for cancer patients. I will also advocate fiercely for cancer CURES, not just treatments that prolong our lives. As a life and creativity coach I will offer services to others.
I had no idea that I would be the face of cancer, but here I am. I invite you to join the Kimba Project. Together we can make a difference.
Kimba Livesay is a certified Creativity Coach with over ten years of experience helping visual artist and writers. She developed an expressive arts coaching program specifically for creative people. Kimba offers personal coaching, classes and workshops. She is also a visual artist and is currently working on a cozy mystery. For more information visit www.kimbalivesay.com