Holley Kitchen: What not to say to a woman with metastatic breast cancer

By Kate Hassett

Holley Kitchen: What not to say to a woman with metastatic breast cancer
One woman's poignant video to educate the public about how to speak to those battling terminal illness.

Most of the time, it is difficult to find the words to express your emotions when it comes to easy things, like love or friendship, but expression becomes even harder once the words “terminally ill” are involved.

For Holley Kitchen, the experience of hearing certain words, sayings and ill-expressed ‘apologies’ were enough to finally throw down the gauntlet and let the world know what not to say to someone suffering from stage four, metastatic breast cancer.

The mother-of-two was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer when she was 39 years old. Following treatment, Kitchen was sure she had beaten the disease.

Then, when the cancer reemerged and metastasised into her spine and bones, Kitchen was given 26 months to live.

In the touching video, Kitchen shares her ultimate truths of living with metastatic breast cancer, how every day, she is strong and courageous for her two sons – who she says, need her to be.

“My treatment will never end until my journey on earth is over,” Kitchen says in her video.

Silent, she implores her viewers to rethink the way they communicate with terminally ill people and shares the most common ‘culprits’ of ill-expression.

“You will beat this…”

“But…you look so healthy…”

“You must not have taken care of yourself…”

“You’re too young…”

“Have you tried this cure?”

She ends the video by stating that “sometimes it’s ok to say nothing…”

Her mission is “not to shame anyone, just to educate everyone. Because before I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, I didn’t know any of this.”

Living as what she deems – a “cancer lifer” Kitchen shared her video with the hope of empowering others who are going through this pain to share with their loved ones, so they too can learn.

 

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