By the time doctors diagnosed her cancer, they found 12 tumors total three in her lymph nodes, eight in her liver, and one more in her colon.
Furthermore, due to where these tumors were positioned throughouther body, surgery was out of the question. Chemotherapy, then, become the only viabletreatment.
Convinced and inspired,Walsh decided to take her friend’s advice and run with it. She began dressing in empowering-women-themed costumes for herchemo treatments, snapping photos, and has since become quite the social media hit!
Scroll through our gallery to learn more about why this mom plans tokeep wearing her costumes to chemotherapy.
Right around her 40th birthday, Karen Walsh found herself at the doctor’s office, suffering from stomach cramping.
She’d just had surgery a few months back, so had been attributing her pain to that experience.
But now, something felt really off, and unfortunately, it was. Walsh’s doctor diagnosed her with Stage IV colon cancer.
With tumors in her liver, lymph nodes, and colon, Walsh told the Huffington Post, “Im unfortunately inoperable because of the location of the tumors in my liver, so chemo right now is the only option for me.
Initially, Walsh a successful Broadway actress, wife, and mother of two wasn’t planning to speak publicly about her heath situation.
However, after speaking with a friend who’d survived breast cancer, she soon changed her mind in a big way.
Walsh decided not only would she showcase her chemotherapy on social media, but, as a performer, she would do so in the wayshe knew best in costume.
Since initially opening up about her cancer diagnosis online, she and her friends have dressed up in all sorts of different themed costumes.
They always chose costumeshonoring a strong, female figure fictional or real.
Walsh told the Huffington Post, “I really view this as a coping mechanism for myself.
She continued: “Its really strange to live, you know, just sort of maintaining your cancer.
Without being able to have an operation, I have to just rely on [chemotherapy] until medicine hopefully catches up with cancer a little more.”
She’s hoping, though, to stick around long enough for researchers to develop new treatment methods for her to try instead.
In the meantime, though, she heads to chemo every week in a new getup to keep things exciting, fresh, and fun.
She said: “[There are times] when Im like, Oh god,I have cancer.And I have two young kids, my husbands companys closing, we dont know what were going to do about insurance.
“You know, we have a lot going on in our home thats really stressful.
I think its really important to let that out, but I dont feel the need to sit in it longer than I need to sit in it.
While every themed costume set she and her friends choose is different, they all share that one, same common trope.
Theyare all homages to strong women.
Walsh told the Huffington Post: “The thing I say to everyone when they get a text message is I want it to be empowering, I want there to be forward motion, I want there to be joy or strength.
“I also want this to be something my daughter and son can see.
This mom is keeping up with her cancer as best she can, and raising awareness in the process.
Since choosing to vocalize her diagnosis, her brothers went in for testing and had polyps removed.
She’s also connected with all sorts of different people through social media, and became a volunteer for the American Cancer Society.
However, while she may be getting lots of attention, in her eyes, there is nothing shocking about her actions.
She’s doing all she can to cope with this reality in the hopes of sticking around long enough to see new treatment opportunities unfold.
As Walsh told the Huffington Post, “When people are like, Oh, youre so brave, youre so inspiring, sometimes I dont understand that because I just dont see how else I would handle this.
Ihaveto get through this for my kids… I just dont have any choice if I want to be around to see my kids graduate from college, or get married or whatever they end up doing.
“I want to be around for that, so I need to try everything that I can.
Walsh welcomes this distraction, if it means she’ll get to spend more time with her loved ones.
This woman is doing all she can to brave her chemotherapy regimen, and raise awareness in the process.
What do you think of this mom’s chemotherapy costumes?Let us know in the comments.