Kim Eades // mother // director of sales for @Table301 // lifestyle writer & columnist // girls youth soccer coach // volunteer mentor, tutor & overall champion of education // (multiple) board member extraordinaire // survivor of carcinoid tumor (right lung; diagnosed & cleared post-surgery, 2001)

“I was visiting my mom in FL when I came down with pneumonia…they found a carcinoid tumor in my right lung. It had grown large enough where I had to have 2 of my 3 lobes removed — a ‘partial right lobectomy.’ Luckily it was isolated. I didn’t have chemo, & actually for that reason, I don’t put myself in that ‘cancer’ category; because SO many people had it — & have it — worse. I look at my situation as another surgery & not cancer.

“My mom doesn’t understand that, because honestly, she’s proud to say I’m a survivor — but really it makes me uncomfortable. People can live with one lung, so I wouldn’t say I’m handicapped because of it. But it’s been 15 years, & I feel and see the scars everyday. The memory never leaves you. I can still see the look on my grandma’s face as they wheeled me into the operating room. She was so scared.

“I’m one of 8 kids & to date, & I’m the only one with cancer. It’s ironic; at the time, I was the healthiest of the bunch. My brother Tim climbs mountains all over the world — so he’s the healthier one now! But it just proves that cancer can affect those you least expect.

“My upbringing was unique. Not just because I come from a large family, but because my parents were involved with so many different types of business, that I experienced & witnessed [a lot of] things. They owned motels, so I was put to work at a very young age. Summers were spent cleaning a few dozen motel rooms every day. I’ve been robbed by gunpoint, & was sent to collect rent in areas most 12 year-olds shouldn’t be — my skin has grown thick through the years. Someone at all times has it worse off than you, so you just grin & bear it!

“My brother-in-law [said tonight], ‘your family DNA does not allow you to slow down.’ It’s in our genes! The experience of surviving cancer increased my sense of diligence, & making decisions I’d normally sleep on. I’m now quick to make things happen. Adversity makes you bitter or better. What’s inside of you comes out when life squeezes you. Surround yourself with family, friends & help others with like battles.

“Sticking with a routine is important. The busier you are, the less time you have to feel sorry for yourself…Make the best of it, because life is short.”