May 22, 2018 KimHarms 4Comment

I was 40 and already had a head of prematurely gray hair (I hide it well) when Dr. Testroet called with the crappy cancer news, but the following words from Jen Wilkin’s 27-year-old experience ring true inside of me. Once you hear a cancer diagnosis, you can’t unhear it. Even with successful treatment, it changes the way you number your days. I had been given an opportunity not many 27-year-olds could claim: the opportunity to count each of my days as precious. Any illusions I might have had that this life would last forever were effectively removed. I learned a…

May 8, 2018 KimHarms

  Books are kind of my thing. I’m reading three of them right now. One is a gift I’m giving to a friend (I’m reading it first. Shhh…don’t tell), One is a spiritual growth kind of book and one is just a sitting on the deck reading for fun book. Over the past couple of years, I’ve added a few cancer books into my reading repertoire. Of those books, Warrior in Pink, grabbed me and took me right back to the beginning of my own cancer story. Author Vivian Mabuni and I have much different experiences. Her breast cancer had…

April 24, 2018 KimHarms 2Comment

I have no idea how it works. I’m a mediocre singer. I took piano lessons for five years and the only thing I can play is the first several measures of Could’ve Been by Tiffany. But somehow, when God created music, He made a salve for the human soul. My 10-year-old sings himself to sleep each night. His sweet sweet voice is a daily reminder of beauty from ashes. Of a miscarriage and many months of grieving and waiting followed by the gift of Lewis. My little man has no idea, but his voice is a soul-soothing touch from my…

April 17, 2018 KimHarms

2:36 a.m. The February night is moonless, black, as you turn your head to the left and gaze out the second-story window. The limbs and leafless branches of the huge maple tree just outside are like cold, barren, groping arms, sinister in the streetlamp’s dim glow. Lying flat on your back in bed, each arm is propped up on a large pillow. Except for your elevated arms, you are nestled like a caterpillar in a cocoon. You would think this should make you feel safe and secure. You would think. Where did they put your breasts? Were they tossed in…

March 21, 2018 KimHarms

You never know when it’s gonna hit. I haven’t even given cancer much thought recently. I just live and write and buy groceries and do boy mom things and complain about the nine inches of mid-March snow that the weatherman did not forecast.  And it’s good. I like this life God has given me. I’m happy. I’m content. I’m blessed. But this guy named Brandon Elder walked into our living room via the American Idol try-out stage the other night and he opened up wounds I wasn’t prepared to revisit. This sweet 22-year-old guy started talking about his mom while…

February 27, 2018 KimHarms

I’d like to introduce you to Wildfire Magazine. I came across it while doing some breast cancer research online, and it’s a fantastic resource. Real stories written by real women who’ve had a wide variety of experiences with breast cancer, from the early stages all the way to Stage 4. This month’s theme is Infertility, and the magazine is filled with beautifully written, raw stories. Next month, the theme is Body Image, and I am honored that I will have an article in that issue. Wildfire is a wonderful community of women whose lives have been changed by cancer. And it’s…

February 20, 2018 KimHarms

When I discovered a lump in my breast on January 9, 2016 (there are some dates you don’t forget), I opened a new Word document on my computer and started typing. The title of the doc? When You Think You Might Have Cancer. By the time I stopped adding to that document months later, it was 55 typed pages long. Add to that all the journaling I did with my handy ink pen and I have close to 80 pages of my cancer experience on paper. Yowzers. This week will mark the 2nd anniversary of my bilateral mastectomy, and I’ve…

February 6, 2018 KimHarms 2Comment

I remember the day Carter started kindergarten. The eldest and most timid of my children, I can say with certainty his first day of school would still rank somewhere in the top 5 if he kept a Terrible-Horrible-No Good-Very Bad-Day list. That was a long day followed by a long difficult year of adjustment. But he got through it. I remember the day Owen realized he didn’t have super powers. It was a blow to his self-confidence when his dad broke the news that it was a remote control turning on the ceiling fan; not the super-spin motion created by Owen’s alter…

January 23, 2018 KimHarms 2Comment

Every woman is different and there are a lot of varieties of reconstruction surgery, but the following are 5 things I greatly appreciated while walking down the road to reconstruction. If you have a friend who’s going through this bizarre and challenging life circumstance, she might appreciate something from this 5 Breast Reconstruction Gifts list. A Sherpa Blanket Sherpa blankets are super-soft, ultra warm blankets that you can just sorta hibernate in. My friend Marti gave me one, and I called it my magic blanket. I slept with it for months. Even when I finally went back to my bed…

January 4, 2018 KimHarms 2Comment

Sometimes it’s hard to look in the mirror. I had the opportunity to talk with Tori Haverkamp several weeks ago about body image and learning to live with my altered form after a bilateral mastectomy and breast reconstruction. There are so many pieces that come into play when walking through breast reconstruction process, but body image is not something that I thought I would struggle with at all.  As it turns out though, losing a piece of me changed the way I looked at myself.  And it kind of broke my heart. But God is good,…