For Breast Cancer Survivor, It’s All About Community

Chiloe Kottke is an emergency room nurse, so when she started to not feel well, she knew to book an appointment with her doctor. Mammogram, ultrasound, biopsy, diagnosis: Invasive ductal carcinoma level 2 of 3.

Two days later, she had a CaringBridge website up and running.

“I knew that I wanted and needed the support and prayers from our family and friends. It’s almost impossible to update friends in a caring and meaningful way with phone calls and emails. Truthfully, it’s therapeutic for me.”

The Importance of Community Support

“It’s been proven that social support, words of encouragement, thoughts and prayers really work.” She continues, “When you’re down and out, you can be very sick, and you just read something and that pops you right out of bed. You feel like you can do that day.”

“It’s amazing what the power of words or statements can do for a person.”

Nothing has been too off-limits for Chiloe as she continues her journey. In part, because of those words that pop her out of bed, because she can have open and honest conversations with her four daughters, and also because the reach of her story—the reach of her community—just keeps unspooling.

“Now I’m in Their Shoes”

It will affect her professional life, she says. “I think having cancer will make me a better nurse. I’m on the patient side now. As the nurse taking care of the patient, you can’t always say, ‘I know what you’re going through.’ Now I’m in their shoes.”

It affects her family life—family across the state follow her updates. Just twenty-four hours after her first post, 400 people were following her writing, lifting her up when she needed it most.

“You can be having the roughest, most challenging day and then someone comments and it’s immeasurable. It could be my mother or it could be someone I didn’t expect. It does amazing things for the mind and body.”

And then there are the other CaringBridge authors who have been there.

“I had a friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago,” Chiloe shares. “It meant so much when I was diagnosed and could go back and look at her site. The unknown is so scary, but I can see what happened to her and it provides that comfort. It removes a little bit of the unknown.”

Start a CaringBridge Website

Are you or a loved one caring for someone on a health journey? If so, start a CaringBridge website, where you can share updates and receive encouragement and support from your community.

Start A Site

  • Theresa

    Hi Chiloe. I really feel uplifted by your story and the comments you have reveived. I was diagnosed with stage 3 left breast cancer in September 2015. My last chemo treatment keeps getting delayed because of gastric infections. Today being Mother’s Day is a blessing. I feel good and I know there is a brightness in going through this. God bless you.

  • Arjun Sharma

    Even though I don’t know u, I loved reading your story. I hear so much strength to keep living your life with your girls and friends. I will add u to my prayer list and keep u close to my heart.

  • Carla

    Hi! I will pray for you.

  • Sherry Baker

    Thank you, Chiloe for sharing. You inspire, and give me courage, to begin my own Caring Bridge website. God bless

  • Kim Johnson

    Praying you continue having incredible strength and this amazing outlook. Thank you for the inspiration. I too am a Stage 2 BCA patient. It’s involving my lymph nodes. I’m going through chemo now. 8 weeks left. Thank you for sharing your journey. Keep kickin butt!

  • sandeep

    this is really emotional !!

  • Barbara

    Even though I don’t know u, I loved reading your story. I hear so much strength to keep living your life with your girls and friends. I will add u to my prayer list and keep u close to my heart.

  • James Hoyt

    I have a nature friend named Pat who survives now for a couple of years after being treated for breast cancer.
    She loves her friends and likes a couple of books.
    They are “Last Child in the Woods” and “The Nature Principle” by Richard Louve.
    My friend credits the books (one for children and the other for adults) for helping to give her the strength
    to survive.
    You can find Richard Louve’s website on google or his facebook.
    Good luck and God’s speed….

  • James R. Epps

    My wife, Jeanie, had to walk the cancer road in 2001. Fourteen years and no signs of any return of cancer. The light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train.

  • Carlyn Moyer

    Thank you,Chiloe, for your sharing! Our family had a granddaughter of nearly two who was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma,Stage 4. Caring Bridge was a gift to our children,the parents of my granddaughter. when it seemed that it was such a dark time. Our granddaughter was one of the lucky ones for whom science caught up. Today she is nearly 7 and clear and full of life. I am thrilled that you are doing so well and you have your values placed correctly–with your family. My prayers are with you. Get stronger and enjoy your life!

  • Shirley

    Chiloe, I will pray for you and your journey. Blessings to you, your husband and your four daughters.
    Love & prayers,