Wings of Hope — Kamala King
Cancer. When that word stands alone it conjures up visions of uneasiness and anxiety. For those who have experienced its effects, it can bring up deep feelings of fear, sadness, or isolation. Our featured four women, however, have sought to redefine what cancer means. When faced with their own cancer diagnoses, these women reached through the darkness of the word “cancer” to find healing and a more constructive path for themselves. To define their journeys they’ve chosen new words that hold a curative power more motivating than they ever imagined — “support,” “appreciation,” “gratitude,” and “advocacy.”
Meet the last of four women who are . . . Emerging from the Darkness of Cancer and Flying into the Light of Hope.
Date of Diagnosis: February 2017
Age Diagnosed: 51 (now 54)
Type Of Cancer: Breast Cancer Stage 0
It was a busy day at work when 51-year-old Kamala King answered the phone from a number she didn’t recognize. She had a feeling it might be her mammogram results. When the voice on the other end of the phone asked, “Are you sitting down?” her suspicions were confirmed. Kamala was diagnosed with Stage 0 breast cancer.
After speaking with her doctors and doing some cancer research of her own, Kamala settled on a plan of action that best suited her needs. “I met with several surgeons and decided to do a single mastectomy and a TRAM flap surgery,” she says. Breastcancer.org explains this type of surgery to be when “an incision is made along your bikini line and an oval section of skin, fat, blood vessels, and muscle is taken from the lower half of your belly, moved up to your chest, and formed into a breast shape.”
Kamala’s procedure was a success. Her surgery, in conjunction with taking a prescribed chemotherapy medication, is keeping Kamala healthy. When she began setting up her initial strategy for combating her diagnosis, she wondered what else she might need. “I remember walking in the park and I said, ‘OK, God, what is it that I need to do because I’m walking this journey now,’” Kamala says. After posing that question in the park, the answers began to fill her mind and heart, and one answer appeared to her as a color — pink.
The urgent need to be of service to others inspired her and a fellow cancer survivor to hold their very first Pink Out two years ago at their church. “Everybody wears pink, and we have [people from] organizations come and speak,” Kamala says. Speakers from nearby churches, combined with different local organizations, join together one day in October to discuss different coping tools and offer encouragement to those touched by cancer. Due to social distancing practices, this year’s Pink Out won’t be held in person, but Kamala’s commitment to the event hasn’t faltered. “We’re still going to have our Pink Out, we’re just going to have it on Zoom.”
From that very first phone call three years ago, Kamala has never once taken her diagnosis sitting down. Sharing her experience and connecting with others going through their own cancer journey has been integral in helping her find peace. “In the end, my journey was there to help other people,” Kamala says. “So that’s what I’ve been doing.”