Overexpressed Asks: A Series Featuring the Voices of MBC

Overexpressed Asks is honored to feature MARY KATZKE. Recently, we connected via Zoom and chatted about living with MBC, mothering, practicing yoga, writing, reading books, and being a part of Living Beyond Breast Cancer.

MARY KATZKE has more than forty years of progressive, nonprofit media creation using documentary film, photography, screenwriting and social media to promote social change through the artistic application of these disciplines. She’s the founder of Affinityfilms, Inc. a nonprofit media production organization. She was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Alaska and Alaska Pacific University; a Mentor/Intern supervisor; a Fulbright Specialist Program Roster as Media Maker; a Rasmuson Individual Artist Fellow in 2004 and 2018. She studied photography at the Santa Fe Photography Institute in 2018 and was a writing fellow at Wellstone Retreat Center in 2019.

Using a metaphor or simile, describe your MBC journey.

My MBC journey is a continual process of discovery like an overseas trip in a 3rd world country where everything is unfamiliar and scary: the language, the climate, the fellow travelers, the tummy troubles, the discomfort, and the expenses.

Using words and phrases, describe what it is like to live with MBC.

Always wondering how to live without thinking about it constantly, balancing between hope and reality, short and long-term plans, practical and emotional decision-making.

What is one word/idea used in describing MBC that you appreciate? In two sentences, describe why.

I love the idea that ‘the time is now’ for everything- enacting dreams, encircling myself with loved ones, spending down my retirement because why not?

What is one MBC word/idea that you would like to see changed? In two sentences, describe why this change is so important.

I would like to see ‘unicorns’ or ‘exceptional survivors’ studied to see what they have in common from genetics to diet to emotional approaches to their disease.

What would you like people to stop saying or doing after they find out you have MBC? Or what would like to say to people who do not know what MBC means?

I do not want to be written off prematurely. I’d like to continue with my normal life as long as possible including working, hiking, girlfriend trips, and so on. Therefore I am not open with average contacts. They have no need to know.

What do you know now that you did not know when you were first diagnosed?

I did not know it can be slow growing and that I could possibly die from something else first!

Watch Mary Katzke’s film: Not So Swell, Living with Lymphedema

Register for LBBC’s Thriving Together: 2023 Conference on Metastatic Breast Cancer.

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