Cancer survivor ‘a better person’ since diagnosis
"It wasn't all bad" are the sentiments of Kaydia Levien McKoy, a 34-year-old breast cancer survivor who fought the battle for two years before being declared cancer free in 2021 at age 32.
The mother of one was only 30 when she was diagnosed, but said that despite the difficulties she has experienced because of the disease, it has had positive outcomes.
"It was always my dream to become a writer and I wrote a book when I was 12 years old. It was 19 chapters and I wasn't able to get it published. But here I am now, because of my journey I am able to pursue that dream and I am helping other women in several ways through my foundation Heads up for Pink," Levien McKoy said.
She said that she decided to write her book Courage in Bloom not only to tell her story about surviving the disease, but to also let others battling breast cancer know that they can do the same.
"I know I am an inspiration to many women and they liked how my main objective is to spread awareness among our women, especially the younger population. People also seemed interested in how I transitioned from being a cancer fighter into a survivor, and how I advocate for our women while not being afraid to share my story. I was compelled; it was destiny. I want to help other women survive, I want to help save and change lives," she said.
Levien McKoy added that breast cancer has also positively changed her perspective on life and showed her that there is always hope no matter how difficult the situation.
"Another good side to it is that I am - not to say that I was a bad person - but I am a much better person. I am forgiving, more compassionate and I appreciate life even more. I also have a strong bond between my family, my daughter and my husband and I just feel so blessed. This journey has been a major blessing for me. This journey has changed my life. It wasn't all bad coming out of it, there have been a lot of good coming out of it as well," she said.
Still, Levien McKoy continues to face many challenges as a result of the disease, including being a 34-year old struggling with the symptoms of menopause, having to take medication costing $48,000 per month for the next 10 years, as well as spending almost $100,000 on bone treatment every six months. Nonetheless, she expressed gratitude that she encountered this disease.
"I am taking care of myself better. I am having my fruits, my vegetables; those are things I didn't eat before. I didn't like fruits, I didn't like vegetables and I'm taking care of me and I am enjoying life. I try not to short myself of nothing and I just have gratitude because it pulled me closer to God and my family and my daughter. I am grateful for my struggles," Levien McKoy said.