Nearly five years after her initial diagnosis, South River High mom Beth Kaufman says cancer is no longer the first thing that crosses her mind when she wakes up in the morning.
“It’s down to about third or fourth,” Kaufman said with a laugh.
Laughing is something Kaufman does a lot of, especially since her breast cancer diagnosis and survival prompted her to pursue her lifelong dream of being a standup comedienne. She’s also hoping her recently published book, Make Mine a Double… Mastectomy That Is will lighten the hearts of women currently battling the disease.
“I hope they will get that if there is a bad situation you can turn it around, and not necessarily make it a good situation, but make it through the situation in ways other than complaining and whining,” Kaufman said.
For Kaufman, that meant making lifelong friends—her “chemomates” she calls them.
“There is a silver lining in there,” she said of the treatments she endured.
Kaufman was diagnosed with stage 3B breast cancer in 2009 after finding lumps in her breast a few months earlier. She later found out that she is a carrier of BRCA2—also know as the breast cancer gene—most common in women of Ashkenazi Jewish decent, like Kaufman. As a result, her sister had a preventative bilateral mastectomy. Kaufman’s teenage daughters, Danie and Peyton, will be tested for the gene later.
Going through countless cancer treatments made Kaufman realize that the small things in life are just that—small.
“In the scheme of things I’m grateful for everyday of my life. I’m grateful I got to take my daughter to college and see her go to prom,” she said.
Going forward, Kaufman will continue to peruse her comedy
career (which includes a humor blog on Patch) and she also hopes to take her
book around and speak to different groups to raise breast cancer awareness.
“I’d like to make younger women aware—do you have a family history, are you going to get checked? What are you going to do?” Kaufman said.
Kaufman plans on donating a portion of the proceeds of her book sales to the University of Maryland Oncology Associates in Glen Burnie, where she received her treatments.
“I’m giving money back to where I was treated, and treated so well,” she said.
Kaufman’s book can be purchased though various online booksellers, or via her website here.