Returned Peace Corps
Volunteers of South Florida
August 22, 2021

by Kiki MutisBeneficiary

A year and a month ago today, I went for a mammogram and sonogram after feeling a bump on my right breast while showering. Five days later, I received the diagnosis of triple-negative ductal carcinoma. What?!!! Breast cancer in the middle of the COIVD pandemic. That was a blessing—one of the many hundreds of gifts I have received in the last 365 days. Just as so many, I worked from home and did not go out.

Today I feel strong, healthy, whole, and complete, just as I am (most days). Thanks to all of you, who demonstrated that most people in the world are good, kind, generous, and caring. The love of friends, family, and strangers carried me through 16 rounds of chemo, the "sacred healing juice." The true meaning of what does not kill you makes you stronger. I had a double mastectomy with reconstruction and was blessed with incredible talented surgeons. How did I recover so quickly? Now I am at the tail end of six months of oral chemo as a precaution. But I am cancer-free!!!

The next step is accepting and starting an invitation to participate in a medical study for a triple-negative cancer vaccine. Few patients qualify, and I did. Vaccines don't scare me. I am grateful for them. I gladly do it to prevent this cancer from coming back and help other women from going tough. It's a two-year study, and I may or may not get the actual vaccine. I will keep you posted. 

In the meantime, I am going back to Pelican Harbor Seabird Station more often, about twice a week public transport or Lyft. Unfortunately, Miami's public transportation system leaves so much to be desired. Though I'm not too fond of exclusive groups, I have joined the most powerful group of women on the Save our Sisters Dragon Boat team. You must be a breast cancer survivor to join, so I truly hope non of my friends ever apply. 

I am so very great full to every one of you.

    Reply to:

    February 5, 2021

    by Kiki MutisBeneficiary

    Warm and loving hellos to all,

    Tomorrow February sixth, marks a month since I had my last chemo treatment. Thank you to all the family and friends that helped me celebrate here in Miami and the far corners of this Earth! It has been glorious not having to go to the hospital for blood work one day and chemo the next. I feel well, strong, positive, and healthy as the chemo was flushed out of my body. After chemo, I had a slew of tests, MRI, CAT scans, sonograms, too many to tell! Doctors want to ensure that everything is ok after twenty weeks of chemo, sixteen sessions. Chemo is harsh on the body.

    I have been preparing mentally and physically for the double mastectomy on February eleventh. I am going for long walks and doing arm and chest exercises. I want to go in strong, so the recovery is more manageable. On Monday, I have the second Covid vaccine and a pre-surgery Covid test. The Doctors and women who have gone through this say that I will not be able to do anything the first two weeks, six weeks for and be under strong pain meds. Balazs will be and has been an extraordinary caretaker. I will be the first surgery on Thursday and spend one night at the hospital. I will have "T-rex arms," keeping my forearms close to my body and not raising my elbow above my chest. I can not pick up anything for six weeks!

    We are excited that my mother and sister will be coming to Miami on the 15th, but unfortunately, Covid will significantly limit what they can do for me.

    Thank you for all your support that has made this journey much easier. Balazs will keep everyone updated.

    With a lot of LOVE and Gratitude


    DECEMBER 26, 2020

    by Kiki Mutis,

    Dear friends and family,

    As this unforgettable year quickly comes to a much-anticipated end, I sit back, meditate, and take a huge deep breath full of gratitude and hope. Thank you!

    On January 6th, I will receive the last of sixteen chemo infusions, a mixture of powerful healing and toxic medicines. I am so grateful the chemo treated me kindly and reduced the cancer tumor with minor side effects. I am grateful to the nurses, doctors, and administrative staff at the Miami Cancer Institute for their professionalism, gentleness, kindness, and smiles during my treatments. Six weeks after my last infusion, in mid-February, doctors will perform a double mastectomy, and hopefully, be able to do reconstruction on the same day. Hopefully, I will not need radiation. I will keep you posted. 

    I am grateful that my diagnosis was during this horrible pandemic that kept me home safe, with a wonderful man. During the entire treatment, I have been able to work for an incredible organization, keeping me busy and distracted as I heal.  

    Soon I will be able to hug once again my loving mother and family that I miss so much, have dinners and cocktails with my friends, travel and personally thank each one of you! Without your great generosity, love, light, and support, each breath I take would not be full of hope for the future and gratitude for life. 

    2021 will be a year that we all welcome with open arms. May each day of this new year bring each one of you and your family health, love, light, and prosperity.  

    With love and gratitude. 



    October 6, 2020

    Hello Dear Friends,

    With a really heavy heart, I share with you that our Kiki, our older sister, friend to many, the woman who has been a monumental influence with the greatest smile on earth, has been diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer.  

    Breast cancer is not common in our family, but after her diagnosis, a genetic test revealed a BARD1 gene mutation that doubles her breast cancer chance.

    As many of us know, Kiki is an incredibly happy and giving person who has dedicated her life to helping others and the environment. She literally put the E in environmentalism. After spending two years in Bolivia as a Peace Corps volunteer, working on soil conservation and reforestation, she says her biggest impact was empowering the girls in her town. At Citizens for a Better South Florida, she worked with underserved children, hiking in the Everglades, growing vegetables at a school garden, teaching them to use power tools, to make things, and to use critical thinking skills. At Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, she taught teachers, homeschoolers, and children with disabilities about the wonders of tropical plants and South Florida's unique flora and fauna. For over a year now, she has been managing Pelican Harbor Seabird Station's operations and volunteer program, enabling this small organization to punch above its weight.  

    As one of her best friends once mentioned, Kiki is a brave and formidable warrior, and deep in our hearts, we know she's going to be okay as her prognosis is excellent. Asking for financial help is very difficult and humbling for her, though, and the cost burden may be the most frustrating and stressful part when she needs to concentrate on healing.  

    We are just beginning this treacherous and challenging journey, five months of chemo treatment, major operation(s), double mastectomy, and reconstruction. Graciously, any amount will help relieve some of the stress, making the process a little more manageable. 

    Although it is hard to know exactly how much this treatment will cost, as unexpected expenses are typical, some we already know.  Her deductible and out-of-pocket expenses will be $8500 each year 2020 and 2021. We are told that there are many hidden expenses and procedures not covered or denied by insurance, healing oncology massages, and possibly unpaid time off work once she uses up all her paid time off.  

    We are so grateful for the immense outreach from breast cancer survivors and our family and friends. As with any person who comes across cancer, we know the journey is not an easy one, but a lot more manageable with friends' help. Kiki wants her journey to push all women to get an annual breast exam and all men to encourage them to get one. Breast cancer is curable if caught early. 

    Please share this link with anyone who might be able to help. 

    All the best with kindness, humility, and all of our hearts,

    The Mutis Family and Balazs

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