Ilene Kaminsky


My life prior to my diagnosis with HR+ breast cancer with bone metastasis became the first steps in a long and difficult life's journey.  My education stressed communications and probably defines one of my strongest attributes. My ability to digest and incorporate hordes of information has helped me to both navigate the incredibly difficult terrain I found myself on and arrive at the help I needed using the quickest route possible. Not only medical but includes financial, professional, and personal. Ask me any question you want about my experience related to MBC and I am happy to share, even very intimate information if it can help someone else. My feeling in this matter: it's incumbent upon me to share of myself because no one else understands quite like others afflicted with similar diagnosis. Also, our support circles now need to expand to include fast new friends, including virtual friends through online support groups. These people have become integral to finding inner peace and integrating them into my world, I would argue, helps improve our quality of life.   

25 years of marketing and communications in the high tech industry allowed me to quickly develop required skills to which I'd not even been exposed prior to landing my first gig as a public relations manager.  The very nature of what my industry set out to do, simply stated, was to change the speed at which the world communicated. That necessitated the use of newly invented tools.  Tools that would vividly engage customers in real time discussions rather than just yell it at them way back when in the age of commercial advertising. We had the awesome job of convincing businesses they could trust us to successfully lead them into the future.  Hence, the unlikely career of an English major began in telecommunications.  Ha!    

Now in the most odd position again, I'm in the peak of my Midlife and instead of the executive's washroom key handed to me, I got a fast port for chemo and other substances to be easily injected into my body - it was installed under my skin just over the offending tit that's got the tumors. Stupid tit.   

So what's life like these days? Lonely, isolated, boring at times, funny, abstinent for periods of time I still cannot even fathom, constipated, painful, sweaty, but HAPPY TO BE ALIVE EVERY DAY.   

A month of my life on the reality show "Living with the Mets," looks like this:  6-8 business days a month dedicated to doctors visits, tests, chemo and drug therapy.   An equivalent number of days spent recovering emotionally and physically from the aforementioned 6-8 days.   10-14 days working on the stores - online and bricks and mortar.   My husband and I spend a lot of time in the same room trying desperately to reinvent our relationship to get as much guilt out of the house and as much joy into the house as possible. It's harder than you might think.    Work on my blog - I write and read and absorb as much media as possible on cancer and related topics so I can regurgitate in some informed manner and help those who aren't strong enough to speak or are too tired to absorb the information required to be as good of a self advocate as we need to be with MBC.    

Crafts and artistry - these days I focus on making jewelry, painted furniture and collage. And a reinvented career selling vintage and antiques for homes and humans on - YeuxDeux and in an antiques cooperative store in San Jose, California.    What I want to do soon or in the best possible time frame as I can?    My life has been dedicated to taking to making something from nothing to solve problems. Now I can do it for people who really need me rather than companies that use me for financial gain. To that end  I have a vision of a true Cancer Survivorship Retreat for MBC and MBC patients and their care givers - providing a fun, safe, spiritual, and restful - fully funded - group setting for 5-7 days within driving distances of major metropolitan areas of the US. I would love to hear ideas from others who want the same thing and find a way to get this going.     

It is my goal to learn to use a sewing machine in the next 6-8 months. I intend to recreate the doctors office gown.   

Spend more time out and star gazing and astronomy nights looking up with my husband - buy a tin can airstream and attach it to a truck and then the three of us (our Simon cat plus us is three) and go wherever that thing can go for as long as I can go.