Knitter finds her tale stitched into new bookEllin Klor seems to be everywhere these days, profiled recently in Newsweek, the San Jose Mercury News, the Washington Post and numerous other print publications. The 58-year-old children’s librarian, who graduated from Davis High in 1968, was a guest on a Fox News morning show recently and is featured in an online video promoting a book. Here’s why:
By: By Jeff Jardine, McClatchy Newspapers
MODESTO, Calif. — Ellin Klor seems to be everywhere these days, profiled recently in Newsweek, the San Jose Mercury News, the Washington Post and numerous other print publications.
The 58-year-old children’s librarian, who graduated from Davis High in 1968, was a guest on a Fox News morning show recently and is featured in an online video promoting a book. Here’s why:
One night in January 2006, she went to teach a knitting class at a friend’s home in Palo Alto, Calif. She arrived late, hurriedly grabbing three bags full of knitting needles, books and yarn from her car. She tripped heading up the front steps and fell, her landing broken in part by the bags of knitting stuff she carried.
No problem. She got up, dusted herself off and went inside. Then she felt a pain in her chest and noticed a bit blood on her sweater. She saw a broken-off piece of a wooden knitting needle protruding from her chest.
Klor kept her cool, resisting the urge to pull the needle out or to allow anyone else to.
“People ask me, ‘How did you stay so calm?,’” Klor said. “You don’t logically think through anything. You just react. I didn’t think it was in my heart. There was no (profuse bleeding). I just did what I had to do.”
They called 911, and she was rushed to Stanford Medical Center, about 10 minutes away. By not trying to remove the needle, she gave the doctors the chance to save her life because the needle had, indeed, penetrated her heart. They operated to remove the needle, and she became among the 20percent of pierced-heart patients who survive long enough to even make it to the hospital.
Less than two weeks after the surgery, though, she returned to the emergency room because of extreme back pain. A CT scan showed a larger-than-normal lymph node beneath her right arm. Further tests showed that Klor, who had beaten breast cancer in 1994, had it again. She had more surgery, followed by chemotherapy, and once again is cancer-free.
Her story is the first told in “The Survivors Club: The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your Life,” a book by Ben Sherwood released recently. Klor’s case represents all the things that need to align for something so potentially lethal to turn into a feel-good story.
Her first battle with breast cancer taught her she could overcome just about any obstacle.
The intrusive knitting needle, which belonged to a friend, was made of wood. Had it been one of her metal needles, it could have gone through her heart instead of snapping off after penetrating her sternum and entering her heart.
She now uses only a flexible needle - a curved gadget that is like a “plastic-coated wire,” she said.
Had she not been injured, the cancer would have gone undetected and could have progressed much further than it did. Instead, doctors were able to attack it aggressively and stop it cold. Again.
Author Sherwood invited Klor to help publicize his book. Hence, her instant celebrity status.
“I’ve enjoyed helping him get the word out,” Klor said. “I’m kind of along for the ride. I have no expectation. I have been a little surprised at everything that’s happened over the last two weeks.”