Wendi Kelley has survived breast cancer for four years. Her recently published book, God (Still) Whispers, recounts her breast cancer struggle with faith, encouragement, and support. Randall, Wendi’s husband, has his own chapter in the book, in which he shares first-hand experiences of a breast cancer journey from the perspective of a spouse.
We were able to discuss God (Still) Whispers with Wendi and hear more about her struggle during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Can you describe your experience with breast cancer treatment?
Wendi Kelley: Actually, I missed a doctor’s appointment where I was supposed to obtain a mammogram, my first checkup ever, and returned the following year to receive my diagnosis. I am from Bowling Green, where I had a few doctor’s appointments prior to seeking a second opinion at the Vanderbilt Breast Center.
What does your book cover?
WK: The opening of my book does relate my story. I believe it’s vital to discuss this since it earned me, so to speak, “street cred.” Then I provide the patient with some useful advice, such as, “Do you have any questions for me?” Well, you’re still trying to comprehend what you’ve just been told, so you don’t even know what to ask, so I give them several pages of questions they may ask immediately after the diagnosis, including questions about surgery, treatment, and rehabilitation.
In the back of the book, I have included the same questions with a space for them to write in their replies at their appointments. I also have a section for those who have a friend or relative battling breast cancer. You want to assist them, so you inquire, “What can I do?” Also, the patient is unaware of this. They are currently considering whether or not to take a shower. Sometimes, they are just trying to get through the next event. Therefore, I provide guidance on how to assist a loved one throughout the process.
In addition, there is a chapter written from the husband’s perspective in my book. It was his suggestion, and I felt it was an excellent suggestion, so I accepted it. Again from his perspective, he offers suggestions for assisting your loved one through the process.
What motivated you to compose this book?
Incongruously, I am not a reader. I dislike reading because I cannot sit still for lengthy periods of time. The idea of writing a book was almost unbearable to me, yet I felt compelled to do so. I debated God for three years. I did not want to do it until he thrashed me to the point that I said, “Okay, I’ll do it, but you have to help me through this.” When I sat down to write, I would ask, “Okay, what are we going to talk about today?” thus I believe this book is exactly what he wanted to say. So I simply wrote what I believed he desired to share with others.
How did Pretty in Pink Boutique impact your breast cancer treatment?
After a mastectomy, a physician can write you a prescription for a fitting bra, as I’ve found through this procedure. Pretty in Pink Boutique assisted me in achieving this. They were sensitive to my fears and helped me be fitted for a bra, which is essential for daily life. They were quite courteous and helpful in providing me with more information, such as a sleeve. I was able to get a few sleeves from them, and they were quite helpful.
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone going through treatment right now?
WK: The majority of us know someone who has breast cancer, and I would recommend that you utilize them as a resource. I wrote God (Still) Whispers as an additional resource. Also, be upfront and honest with your physicians, and ask them questions with the intent of gaining confidence in the care you are receiving.