Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Missing Laurie Kingston

Yes, I'm still here. But Laurie isn't. Last fall, her brain metastases spread faster than radiation could treat them. I was able to see her a time or two during treatment and while she was in hospital. But she passed away on January 8, 2018, just before I could visit her in hospice.

It is hard to know what to say about Laurie's loss. I feel it in so many ways. Laurie was a my friend. We shared some unusual commonalities. In addition to being bloggers who love needle crafts and curly-haired dogs, we have fourteen-year-olds, very bright ones. We also share metastatic breast cancer and even have the same awesome medical oncologist.

I became aware of Laurie from her blog, "not just about cancer", which introduced me to her book, "not done yet". I reached out to her online and, wonder of wonders, she reached back. Laurie was the first person with metastatic breast cancer (MBC or stage IV breast cancer) that I'd met in person. I was thrilled to meet her and intimidated by the success of her blog and book. There is a lot about Laurie that could be intimidating. She is an amazing writer. But she is, sorry was, such a down to earth person that being with her never was intimidating. She was a nice lady, a mom, a wife, a writer, a friend, and so much more.

I was so lucky to have met Laurie when I did and get a chance to develop our friendship while she was well. And she was well for a long time. She gave a great deal of hope to others with MBC, even after she was diagnosed with lepto-meningeal metastases, which are quite rare and, frankly, scary. Laurie didn't let them scare us. She simply, well it seemed simple to me, got herself into a uniquely small trial of a new therapy approach where Herceptin is introduced directly into the brain to fight these mets. It worked for a long time. Then, like most MBC treatment, it didn't work any more.

All those years that Laurie lived with metastatic breast cancer, she did more than simply live. She wrote, she knit, she raised her boys. And she advocated for change. She was a board member of the Canadian Breast Cancer Network. She was part of a lobby day for greater awareness of MBC and the need for more funding and research.

Laurie Kingston was amazing for the friend she was, but in truth, she needs to be acclaimed for her advocacy while living with this disease. It is no easy feat.

See Laurie's blog for her obituary here.