Mom With Stage IV Colon Cancer Braves Chemotherapy In Costume

When Karen Walsh found out she had Stage IV colon cancer, she never planned on speaking publicly about her diagnosis.

An accomplished Broadway actress, wife, and mom to two young kids, Walsh had noticed stomach cramping pains here and there for some time, but never once considered cancer as a likely cause.

By the time doctors diagnosed her cancer, they found 12 tumors total three in her lymph nodes, eight in her liver, and one more in her colon.

Furthermore, due to where these tumors were positioned throughouther body, surgery was out of the question. Chemotherapy, then, become the only viabletreatment.

Around the time of her first round ofchemo, a friend who’d recently battledbreast cancer urged Walsh to reconsidervocalizingher situation. Speaking about her cancer could raise all sorts of awareness and support.

Convinced and inspired,Walsh decided to take her friend’s advice and run with it. She began dressing in empowering-women-themed costumes for herchemo treatments, snapping photos, and has since become quite the social media hit!

Scroll through our gallery to learn more about why this mom plans tokeep wearing her costumes to chemotherapy.

[H/T: The Huffington Post]

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Right around her 40th birthday, Karen Walsh found herself at the doctor’s office, suffering from stomach cramping.

She’d just had surgery a few months back, so had been attributing her pain to that experience.

But now, something felt really off, and unfortunately, it was. Walsh’s doctor diagnosed her with Stage IV colon cancer.

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With tumors in her liver, lymph nodes, and colon, Walsh told the Huffington Post, “Im unfortunately inoperable because of the location of the tumors in my liver, so chemo right now is the only option for me.

Initially, Walsh a successful Broadway actress, wife, and mother of two wasn’t planning to speak publicly about her heath situation.

However, after speaking with a friend who’d survived breast cancer, she soon changed her mind in a big way.

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Walsh decided not only would she showcase her chemotherapy on social media, but, as a performer, she would do so in the wayshe knew best in costume.

Since initially opening up about her cancer diagnosis online, she and her friends have dressed up in all sorts of different themed costumes.

They always chose costumeshonoring a strong, female figure fictional or real.

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Walsh told the Huffington Post, “I really view this as a coping mechanism for myself.

She continued: “Its really strange to live, you know, just sort of maintaining your cancer.

Without being able to have an operation, I have to just rely on [chemotherapy] until medicine hopefully catches up with cancer a little more.”

She’s hoping, though, to stick around long enough for researchers to develop new treatment methods for her to try instead.

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In the meantime, though, she heads to chemo every week in a new getup to keep things exciting, fresh, and fun.

She said: “[There are times] when Im like, Oh god,I have cancer.And I have two young kids, my husbands companys closing, we dont know what were going to do about insurance.

“You know, we have a lot going on in our home thats really stressful.

I think its really important to let that out, but I dont feel the need to sit in it longer than I need to sit in it.

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While every themed costume set she and her friends choose is different, they all share that one, same common trope.

Theyare all homages to strong women.

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Walsh told the Huffington Post: “The thing I say to everyone when they get a text message is I want it to be empowering, I want there to be forward motion, I want there to be joy or strength.

“I also want this to be something my daughter and son can see.

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This mom is keeping up with her cancer as best she can, and raising awareness in the process.

Since choosing to vocalize her diagnosis, her brothers went in for testing and had polyps removed.

She’s also connected with all sorts of different people through social media, and became a volunteer for the American Cancer Society.

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However, while she may be getting lots of attention, in her eyes, there is nothing shocking about her actions.

She’s doing all she can to cope with this reality in the hopes of sticking around long enough to see new treatment opportunities unfold.

As Walsh told the Huffington Post, “When people are like, Oh, youre so brave, youre so inspiring, sometimes I dont understand that because I just dont see how else I would handle this.

Ihaveto get through this for my kids… I just dont have any choice if I want to be around to see my kids graduate from college, or get married or whatever they end up doing.

“I want to be around for that, so I need to try everything that I can.

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Walsh welcomes this distraction, if it means she’ll get to spend more time with her loved ones.

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This woman is doing all she can to brave her chemotherapy regimen, and raise awareness in the process.

What do you think of this mom’s chemotherapy costumes?Let us know in the comments.

Read more: http://www.littlethings.com/mom-treats-cancer-in-costume/

Mom Wears Incredible Costumes To Chemotherapy To Boost Sons Spirits

When Ashli Brehm was diagnosed with breast cancer, this mom of three beautiful boysquickly choseto facethis new experience as she has approached everyother challengein her life thus far: with boundlessauthenticity.

Beforeundergoing her double mastectomy in February of this year, she began prepping for chemotherapy.

Once folks started learning about Brehm’s diagnosis, the floodgates opened with an outpouring of well-wishes and gifts.

One of those gifts was a Wonder Woman shirt, meant to give her strength through her journey.

Staring at that shirt, the idea came to her she’d wear costumes to her treatments, to make the experience feel fun for her and her family.

Brehm told LittleThings of her costumes, “My boys LOVED the costumes, but also, I did. It made me smile to see my nurses and doctors smile when they saw me. And I loved that it somehow removed the fear and made it a happy day.”

Keep scrolling to see how this amazing mom, battling cancer, has kept her boys smiling throughout her chemotherapy journey.

[H/T: India Times]

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When Ashli Brehm of Omahawas diagnosed with breast cancer, she wasn’t about to let the news get her down.

This brave mom of three adorable boys and devoted wife decided early on that she was going to do everything she could to facethis challengeher way.

She wanted to be strong for her boys. The last thing she wanted was for themto fear the hospital, her chemotherapy, or anyother health unknowns.

But how could she possibly turn this scary experience into something fun?

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Brehm told LittleThings: “It started with a Wonder Woman T-shirt. Upon diagnosis, I received an outpouring of goodness from people… mail, on the daily… and one of those items was a Wonder Woman tee complete with a cape and a crown.

“When I was prepping the night before my first chemo, absolutely terrified for the chemotherapy experience, I looked in my closet and decided that I could at least fake it until I could make it.

“And so, the first costume was born.”

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From then on, Brehm wore different costumes to each of her chemotherapy treatments.

She continued, telling LittleThings of wearing her costumes: “It started out to quell my nerves, but once I was through the first round, I knew that the day of chemotherapy is not what is scary.

“It’s the side effects that knock you down after. But my boys 7, 4, and 2 seemed to love the costumes.”

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For her boys: “It made chemo days a celebration of killing the cancer cells. A day where I could be positive about the treatment plan and they wouldn’t have to be scared about where Mommy was going or what was going into my body.

“And then, figuring out my next costume each time became so much fun for me. It made me count down the sessions faster. It made it so doable.”

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Throughout her chemotherapy experience, Brehm’scostumes weren’t the only things keeping her spirits up.

Brehm told LittleThings: “Between chemo and my mastectomy, I did a 5Kand each and every step, my husband ran with me, and I listened to One Republic’s ‘I Lived,’ and I didn’t stop because each step I thought, ‘I just got through chemo, I can totally do a 5K.’”

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She continued, explaining, “It was incredible to watch my husband, who has always been supportive and loving and my better half, step up even more so, and really, truly honor our vows.”

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He helped keep things normal for my boys and he cared for me as I’d rebound from each session.

“I can’t imagine any 35-year-old guythinks, ‘I’ll be having to take care of my wife when she’s 33.’”

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For her very last chemo treatment, Brehm decided to pull out one last, extra special costume: her wedding dress.

Of finishing chemo, Brehm told LittleThings,“The most incredible feeling about chemo is when you complete it and you think, ‘I just did that.’”

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Throughout this experience, Brehm has learned all sorts of different lessons.

She also realized that: “Everybody has ‘hard’ in their lives. And everything impacts people differently.

“And no one else’s hard has to make your plight seem ‘less than.’

“I have so many people say, ‘I shouldn’t complain, you have cancer,’ and I say, ‘I had a newborn. What you’re dealing with IS hard. It’s not NOT hard just because I have cancer.’”

Additionally, Brehm told LittleThings: “One of the biggest things I have changed since having cancer is waiting. I no longer wait to do something.

“If I want to take the kids to a movie, we do it. If we want to get in a walk, we make it happen. If I’m cleaning the counter and they want to read with me, I do it. I don’t wait. Because we just never know.”

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She told LittleThings: “There is goodness everywhere. Everywhere. In every day. Sometimes you have to look harder, but it’s there. There is beauty in even the crappiest parts of life.

“Being alive is so much better than I ever gave it credit for. And of course, it’s the people in your life that make the difference.

“Family, friends, and even, when you least expect it, strangers.”

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Her final round of chemo behind her, this mom plans to continue sharing her journey through motherhood on her blog, Baby on the Brehm.

Brehm’s last radiation treatment is also coming up. It will be next Wednesday, on Cancer Survivors Day.

So far, someof her most valuable takeaways, whichshe shares withother parents about to embark on similar journeys, are: “Love your children just as you always do. Be honest. Do the things you can with them and leave the rest to others.

“Don’t be afraid to emote in front of them, but if that isn’t something you are comfortable showing them, that’s okay.

“And most importantly: Ask for help. Take help. And just say thank you. You need to rest. You need to heal, emotionally and physically. Do not feel guilty for that.”

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This fearless mom chose to live her cancer experience her way, and now soars stronger than ever before.

What do you think of this mom’s story? Have you or a loved one ever had to endurechemotherapy? How did you make it through? Tell us your story in the comments below.

Read more: http://www.littlethings.com/chemotherapy-mom-wears-costumes/