This weekend, drama students at Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego’s North County will take the stage in “All Shook Up.” For the students – and especially their teacher – it’s a show of strength.
In between classes and rehearsals, the high school’s drama teacher, Katie Wilson, has been battling endometrial cancer. This weekend’s production is also a show of love and laughter.
Wilson was diagnosed with cancer in November 2018. Sudden hemorrhaging during the closing night of the school’s fall production sent Wilson to the emergency room.
“That was the first time I’d ever walked out on a show, ever, as a performer or a director,” Wilson said.
Soon after, Wilson underwent a hysterectomy.
“When I woke up from surgery, the first thing I thought is, ‘I’m alive.’ And the second thought was, ‘I can do a show. I can do that,’” Wilson said.
The principal convinced her to cancel the school’s winter production so she would have more time to recover.
As soon as she was back on her feet, however, she was back at work, undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments in between rehearsals for “All Shook Up.”
“When she went in for radiation, she just said, ‘See ya, guys, I’m getting zapped,’ and she’d be singing ‘Radioactive’ by Imagine Dragons,” said Ben Nash, a senior at Cathedral.
Through it all, Wilson has had a positive attitude.
“Whether it’s her best day or her worst day, she always puts others before herself,” said senior Janna Shakiba.
It hasn’t been easy though, especially after learning recently she will need to undergo more treatments.
"After I did 25 radiation treatments, five weeks of radiation, five weeks of chemo concurrently, we thought that was gonna be it," Wilson told NBC 7. "And then, when they consulted national, they decided since there had been an appearance in a lymph node that they really wanted to do another 12 weeks of chemotherapy, just to be sure."
Despite her disappointment, Wilson remains strong.
After all, the show must go on.
She credits her students and her 4-year-old son, Kevin, for that.
"The treatments are an inconvenience and I get tired, and the side effects aren’t my favorite, but it’s all an investment in my future with my son and my students," she added.