I recently came across this video by Kelly Corrigan, who was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer in August 2004, just days before her oldest daughter turned three.
Her family was surrounded with support and kindness for months, carrying her through eight cycles of chemotherapy, a lumpectomy and two months of radiation. The meaningful and creative ways her friends found to support her was the inspiration for this site.
Shortly after her own battle with breast cancer, Corrigan launched Circus of Cancer, a how-to web site for friends and family of women with the disease. The website includes a photo album of her own struggle against breast cancer and writings in such categories as “Finding a Lump” and “Losing My Hair.” Below is an excerpt from “Getting the Diagnosis”:
At 1pm, Emily Birenbaum called and said these exact words: “Kelly, I understand that you called in this morning. I have the biopsy report and Kelly, it’s cancer.” I called out, “Edward!” and he came to me and we crowded around the phone, politely asking the simplest of questions.
“Is the test always correct?” “Does it say how much cancer there is?” “Could it be a false positive?” After a very short conversation where we learned the phrase ‘invasive ductal carcinoma’, we hung up. The girls were at our knees, needing to be fed and put down for a nap. There was so much to do, on so many fronts, that the only thing to do was to start doing.
Bestselling author of The Middle Place and Glitter and Glue, Kelly Corrigan shares her thoughts on motherhoood and the great adventure. Glitter and Glue is a new memoir that examines the bond — sometimes nourishing, sometimes exasperating, occasionally divine—between mothers and daughters.
When Kelly Corrigan was in high school, her mother neatly summarized the family dynamic as “Your father’s the glitter but I’m the glue.” This meant nothing to Kelly, who left childhood sure that her mom — with her inviolable commandments and proud stoicism — would be nothing more than background chatter for the rest of Kelly’s life, which she was carefully orienting toward adventure.
After college, armed with a backpack, her personal mission statement, and a wad of traveler’s checks, she took off for Australia to see things and do things and Become Interesting. But it didn’t turn out the way she pictured it. In a matter of months, her savings shot, she had a choice: get a job or go home.
That’s how Kelly met John Tanner, a newly widowed father of two looking for a live-in nanny. They chatted for an hour, discussed timing and pay, and a week later, Kelly moved in. And there, in that house in a suburb north of Sydney, 10,000 miles from the house where she was raised, her mother’s voice was suddenly everywhere, nudging and advising, cautioning and directing, while escorting her through a terrain as foreign as any she had ever trekked. Every day she spent with the Tanner kids was a day spent reconsidering her relationship with her mother, turning it over in her hands like a shell, straining to hear whatever messages might be trapped in its spiral.
This is a book about the difference between travel and life experience, stepping out and stepping up, fathers and mothers. However, mostly it’s about who you admire and why, and how that changes over time. https://www.youtube.com/watch?
In her TEDxTalk, Kelly explores the value of reading, and why we should do more of it. In her down-to-earth, humorous style, she shows us how reading is the foundation upon which we build our vocabulary, which is surprisingly core to who we are, both professionally and personally.
Kelly argues that expanding our working vocabulary through reading leads to occupational success, intellectual development and personal connection. Her hope is that individuals, couples, families, workforces, electorates and communities will read at least 30 minutes a day, exposing us to two million words used in context per year, words that will exponentially impact how we think and connect. https://www.youtube.com/watch?