The day I had a coffee interview with Kim Watson I pulled a copy of Lexington Life magazine out of my mailbox to find her face, accompanied by the other four women who make up “The Ta-Tinis,” smack dab on the cover. This group of five came together with the common thread of being diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age—ranging from 26 to 34-years-old at the time of diagnosis.
When I walked into the coffee shop that day I expected someone entirely different than Kim. I had seen Kim before; I knew what she looked like, but to sit across the table from her discussing everything about her experience from the initial phone call to the last chemotherapy treatment—it was hard to believe that a woman with so much radiance had been on Kim’s journey.
She recalled the initial phone call from her doctor. “He asked me if I was by myself… ‘I have cancer, don’t I?’” The treatment was grueling, with reactions varying from nausea to an endless appetite, from extreme exhaustion to an inability to sleep. Refusing defeat, though, Kim insisted on continuing work during treatment.
“Did treatment have an effect on the way you felt about yourself as a woman?” I asked. There comes a time, Kim explained, when you have no breasts, no hair, you’ve gained weight, and you have no energy to exercise or do anything, really. You feel nothing like your former self—you don’t feel like a woman. You try not to take more than one day at a time, but you wonder who will ever want this. After a long journey of treatment, reconstructive surgery, and time, an old you returns—a long lost friend, stronger than before. “One day I looked in the mirror and I didn’t see cancer anymore.”
The Ta-Tinis were formed originally for the support of each other, but realizing the utter lack of support for young women, their support gradually became directed more outwardly to other young women facing the same battle. “It’s an amazing opportunity to take something bad, cancer, and use it to help other women.”
Kim, adorned with a smile, made a comment that revealed precisely what set her apart from other women in a simple yet profound comment: “Most women complain about turning thirty,” she says, “but when you have cancer you celebrate every year.”
For more information about The Ta-Tinis, please visit their website.