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.”
Thank You for Strengthening the Community
Every year, more than 35 million people rely on CaringBridge to give and receive strength during a health journey. This would not be possible without compassionate donors like you—thank you. You create peace in a time of chaos, love in a time that can be scary. Together, we’re stronger.