Design Spotlight: Corrie Kuipers
Hope y’all don’t mind – in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I thought I’d turn the Design Spotlight on CorrieWeb. Here we go!
(P.S. – On her Hope for Cancer blog today, Rycky Creations is hosting an interview with GCU artist Barbara Schreiber about her battle with breast cancer. Don’t forget to stop by and read this incredible story.
I’m very aware that cancer runs in my family: my grandmother, my mother, my father, and my brother all died of cancer.
When I was six years old (1967), I watched my grandmother die a slow, agonizing death from breast cancer. In those days, cancer was a death sentence. Treatment was brutal – mastectomy and radiation, but not as refined as these days. Had doctors detected her cancer earlier… but in those days, by the time they found her cancer, it had already spread. She died at the age of 67. Today, she’d have had a better chance at survival.
My father, a heavy smoker, was diagnosed with bladder cancer at age 61 (in the 1980s). His cancer was so aggressive, his bladder was removed, and even a heavy dose of radiation couldn’t kill it all. It spread to his colon. He ended up with two colostomy bags, but no remission. He died at age 63. I felt so helpless watching his pain every day, knowing I could do nothing to help him. In this country, he got to take Tylenol – no other pain relief was available.
In 2003, after the holidays, my mother began complaining about having vague pains, a general “not good” feeling. The doctor did some tests. They found something on her pancreas, but it wasn’t clear. More tests at a different hospital said she had an enlarged vein on her pancreas with a weakness that leaked blood, but nothing serious. She wasn’t told she had a cancerous tumor on her pancreas. She received pain killers, they sent her home, and she kept living her life as normal until the morning my sister went over to her apartment, and found her collapsed, unconscious. She was taken to hospital, but nothing could be done. An operation revealed her body was riddled with cancer. She died that night.
My brother Flip got cancer for the second time in 2008. He had previously had cancer in his kidney about five years after my father died. Then, we all urged him to go. and have himself checked out since he didn’t feel good. and had lost a dramatic amount of weight. It turned out to be a tumor in his kidney. They removed the kidney, but no other treatment was necessary since the cancer hadn’t spread.
He continued regular check-ups, and remained healthy until 2008, when one of his check-ups revealed small tumors in his lymph nodes and other places like his intestines, liver, etc. He ultimately died of liver cancer at age 63 after aggressive chemotherapy, and all the modern treatments available. With Flip, I could clearly chart his progress, and witnessed the strange, often devastating effects of chemo on his body.
My niece is currently battling breast cancer. I hope she succeeds. For now, it looks good.
Cancer runs like a red thread through the history of my family, popping up every decade or so to take someone beloved away from us. The cause of finding a cure is very close to me.
When my partner Nene suggested we create greeting cards to support cancer patients, I was all for it.
I wish everyone fighting cancer lots of strength, lots of hope, my warmest wishes, and plenty of encouragement.