Have a Story to Tell? Had a medical error?

This blog is about patient safety, medical malpractice, staying healthy, and preventing future errors. Help & empower someone else, Teach a lesson, Bear witness, Build our community - Email us or call 781-444-5525.

Frustrated with a health problem?

Need an ally in your health crisis? Call 781-444-5525, or learn more.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A breast cancer survivor's interview: To wring their perfectly coiffed head

Question by Karen Weintraub: You talk about getting a lot of strength from other people going through treatment, people you met in hospital waiting rooms and elsewhere.

Answer by Kelley Tuthill: For me, that was a constant theme of being sick. There was always somebody who was dealing with something far more challenging than I was facing. You say, if they can face this, I certainly can do this.

Q. Was it challenging to be so public about your disease?

A. It was an incredibly positive experience to go out in Boston and have people say - even today - "how are you doing?" The flip side is some pain that the public feels, they share with me, and that's difficult, too. By going public, I've had opportunities to try to do something about [my frustration with the lack of a cure]. My coping mechanism is to try to help.

Q. Do you have any advice for people whose friends or loved ones are going through treatment now - things they shouldn't say to cancer patients?

A. That "you have the perfect head for being bald." If one more person told me that, I was going to wring their perfectly coiffed head! People mean well, but you go: Really? Really? I don't think so.

Q. People with life-threatening diseases often talk about how the challenge made them stronger. Was that your experience?

A. My life is better than it was five years ago, hands down. I appreciate life more. I have so many amazing people in my life now - and that's because of breast cancer.

Read another story about a breast cancer survivor. Thanks to Karen Weintraub for her interview of Kelley Tuthill, excerpted here from the G Section of today's Boston Globe.