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Cancer survivor pens book after surgery while awake

READING: Kathy Cavanagh survived breast cancer and not only lived to write a book about it, but watched the surgery with her own two eyes too.
READING: Kathy Cavanagh survived breast cancer and not only lived to write a book about it, but watched the surgery with her own two eyes too. Vicki Wood

KATHY Cavanagh was faced with the daunting decision: fight cancer with natural remedies or go under the knife wide awake.

She chose the latter.

And now a year later and cancer-free, Kathy's written the appropriately named book, Kathy You're Just Special, about her harrowing battle.

Kathy suffers from the rare chronic pulmonary obstructive disease, which means she is unable to be given general anaesthetic because her lungs will collapse.

Luckily we live in an age where doctors possess a drug straight out of a Men in Black film that erases memory.

Kathy doesn't remember her physical ordeal as such, but the mental scarring is permanent, and that's why she's written her book.

"It's written partly for my own benefit because once you've had cancer, there's a fair bit of psychological damage," she said.

"It's part of the healing process to actually write and to be able to share it with my friends who went along the journey with me.

"And to help other people dealing with cancer."

Kathy said because she was diagnosed on Tuesday, saw the surgeon on Thursday and was in theatre by Monday, the whole ordeal never quite sunk in.

"Because it happened so quickly, I really hadn't processed it," she said.

"When I went back through my notes and started to write it, it was actually quite difficult, but beneficial."

It was important for her to remember her friends who had helped her throughout the experience.

"I had this strong image right from the beginning of the wagons circling like as in American Indians," she said.

"So I dragged as many of my friends in (to the circle) as I could.

"You've got to be my wagon, my support network."

The official book launch will be in Brisbane on September 29, exactly a year after her operation, while the Bribie launch will be at 11.30am on October 2 at Back in Motion Physio. Instead of selling her book, Kathy will give it away to cancer clinics, but the more money she gets, the more books she can give away.

If you would like to donate, you can do so on her PayPal kathycav2015@gmail.com or her BSB: 124001, account number: 22358476, Bank of Queensland.


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