Richmond tumor survivor marks Mother’s Day by destroying radiation mask

Richmond tumor survivor marks Mother’s Day by destroying radiation mask
Kathy Chouteau smashes her radiation mask to celebrate her 10-year anniversary of surviving a brain tumor.

Sunday was an extra-meaningful Mother’s Day for Richmond Standard reporter and local mom Kathy Chouteau, who celebrated her 10 year anniversary of surviving a brain tumor in memorable fashion. Joined by her son, Logan, and husband, Zach—and dressed as a Rosie the Riveter—she obliterated her radiation mask and caught it all on video to raise awareness about the health challenge.

At the time of her diagnosis, Chouteau said her son was three months old and she was still finding her way as a mother. Sleepless nights with a newborn and a summer of radiation with her head bolted into position on a table via her radiation mask made for a “challenging time,” she said, adding that she was grateful to see it through “with the love and support of family and friends.”

“The radiation mask was the target of a lot of my frustration for what I was experiencing at the time,” said Chouteau. “When I finished radiation, I considered turning it into a mosaic art piece, but ultimately decided that it deserved to be smashed to pieces,” joked Chouteau. “So I saved it for the right day.”

The right day came Sunday, the anniversary of her meningioma diagnosis and during what also happens to be Brain Tumor Awareness Month. The Pennsylvania-born Chouteau donned boxing gloves and destroyed her radiation mask Rocky Balboa-style while wearing her Rosie the Riveter gear—a nod to her current hometown of Richmond, where the Rosie the Riveter “We Can Do It,” spirit reigns supreme.

In the aftermath of brain tumor radiation—which included eye surgery, balance issues, brain fog and other fallout—Chouteau said that the Rosie mantra was inspirational and helped her “dig in with resolve to overcome the difficult experience.”

Chouteau called destroying her radiation mask “cathartic” and said that, although she’s still on her brain tumor journey, she’s “happy, grateful to be here and living [her] best life.”

Learn more about Chouteau’s brain tumor journey here (search name) and elevate your own awareness about brain tumors here.