Episode 50: Facing Your Mortality and Living with an Uncertain Future

In this episode, we welcome back a previous guest and friend, Katie Coleman. This time, we dive into facing one’s mortality and how to grapple with the uncertainty of living with a cancer diagnosis. We get into pre-diagnosis thoughts on mortality and how perspectives shifted after diagnosis. Katie also sheds light on some of the silver linings of being forced to confront your own mortality: helping you accept the inevitable, prioritizing what’s important, and guiding you to the road of self-discovery.

You can listen to (or watch) the previous episode with Katie here.

About our guest

Katie Coleman is a patient advocate who was diagnosed with a rare stage IV kidney cancer in Dec 2020, at the age of 29. She has shared her diagnosis publicly on social media to spread awareness and to advocate for others with kidney cancer and rare diseases. Since being diagnosed, she has also founded a non-profit, started a podcast and is publishing an upcoming memoir. You can read more about Katie and sign up to be notified when her book launches on her website at www.katiekickscancer.com.

Watch the video of our episode on YouTube

  • 3 minutes:

    “I was initially planning on doing academic medicine and then an opportunity came up for me to practice at a small community-based hosp"That felt like one of the worst things that could ever happen. Through my diagnosis, I've had different prognosis' at different points of time. I'm very thankful for where I'm at currently, and I'm doing really well. But through that process and having to accept and kind of think about my own mortality, some of my mindset around that shifted, which I'm sure we'll get into. My relationship with the thought of being given five years now is very different than it was when I was first diagnosed. But I had to do a lot of that learning on my own. And it's something that I wish more people talked about because it's a very, very hard topic to try to go through on your own and you can get very lost in despair and get yourself stuck in the process, I feel like."ital and it kind of, no pun intended, but it hit home for me. It just felt like a good fit. In addition, I had amazing mentors that I had actually worked with during my training here already. It almost set that example of, you can get really good quality care close to home. You know, there are differences. We don't do clinical trials, but I think it's important for people to be able to get their care even at a local community hospital if it's possible. There is now a lot more collaboration between community-based hospitals and academic centers, even though we're not affiliated with one. I feel so supported by the doctors at Boston, at Rhode Island, you know, and I can call them and we can work together. I think that's also something that's probably changed in some of the ways that oncologists work together.”

  • 17 minutes:

    “If I could take back my cancer diagnosis, I wouldn't. Even if that means I only have two years of life left, I would not take it back still, because I have lived more in the last two and a half years than I lived in the entire 29 that I lived prior to that. And cancer really sucks. And I would probably regret saying that if I wasn't feeling well, I don't really know, but I do know that like where I'm at currently. It's just, it is life changing, but sometimes in all the best ways.”

  • 49 minutes:

    “I noticed that I had a harder time listening to people gossip or hearing just the everyday little nuances to life that happen… it's so hard to explain because I don't pass judgment on anybody in those situations. That is what life is. I think that's just how people live their life and I don't blame anyone for that. I just think that once you've gone through something like cancer that kind of shifts your perspective, it's hard to sometimes sit in those situations because it feels negative or draining for me."

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