'All of us fight hard': Komen director back at work after cancer comes back
Posted January 13
Raleigh, N.C. — The head of Komen North Carolina Triangle to the Coast has a unique perspective as we start 2017.
Pam Kohl returns to the office for the first time in a month, now as a two-time cancer patient. She knows the physical and mental toll the disease can take.
"When you go to see the doctor, even when you're well-informed, you don't know everything," Kohl said. "I also struggle with this - you're going to fight, and let's be a fighter, and I'm a survivor. Nobody dies from cancer because they don't fight hard. All of us fight hard."
Kohl was first diagnosed with breast cancer seven years ago. It was caught early and Kohl had a lumpectomy and radiation. She is one of just 5 percent of women who see her type of cancer—estrogen positive—return after that treatment.
In October, she learned her cancer had come back. Then, in December, she had a mastectomy.
"As scary and hard as this is, I know that I'm in a really good place," Kohl said.
"I'm trying to get used to my new body," Kohl said. "It's hard. Getting out of the shower, you know, I loved my shower, but getting out of the shower, there's a big mirror right there."
Kohl is taking this very personal journey public to try to help others.
In fact, she already has.
On social media, an old friend of hers saw the first story WRAL did with her in November where Kohl talked about her second diagnosis and the importance of mammograms.
"She saw the video and she went ahead and had her mammogram," Kohl said. "She realized she was over a month due, and she was diagnosed with breast cancer."
Kohl has learned a lot that she now wants to share, such as how her nerves woke up two weeks after surgery and the importance of leaning on others for support.
"There were times that I needed some babysitting," Kohl said. "For me, you know, friendship and comfort for me. Just come sit with me."
Kohl says the past few weeks have been filled with a lot of fear and a lot of waiting. It took a month for her to get the test results that would determine her treatment moving forward.
Turns out, she will not have to undergo chemotherapy.
Right now, Kohl and the Komen staff are turning their attention to the Race for the Cure. The Triangle race is being bumped up to May 6 to take advantage of the cooler weather.