Monthly Archives: October 2015

On Thursday evenings this fall, I have been attending a gathering of 20 somethings (yes that is the name) at the church where I attend. I figured it might be good to connect with others, meet new people but more importantly reconnect with my faith. Church has been for sometime a very hard place for me to walk into.

Anytime this past year I went to church, I immediately became emotional. I found myself often sitting with tears streaming. Trust me nobody wants to be the girl sitting alone crying at church. I have my theory as to why this happens…. but I think deep down the reason is that if I believed all to be true about the Bible and who God is, then I have to embrace the hard part of my story. I have to believe and trust that it is my story, one shaping me and one that even a “good God” allowed to happen. And truthfully that has been hard. So instead of going, I often forgo church for my bed on Sunday mornings or better yet sitting outside on the back porch.

But back to Thursday. During our small group gathering, I cried. For the first time in a long time, I cried about the past year. (I have become so used to speaking about it I almost never cry). We were talking about the verse where we are reminded that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. How God promises to have his hand on us each step of our days and this brought back a memory. The day my mom and I attended chemo camp and got a tour of the infusion room. We sat with the nurse learned all about the next three months and then she gave us a tour. I remember walking into the room and it was filled with patients, hooked up to IV’s. Some reading, some sitting with family, others sleeping. Most of them much older than I. Wrapped in blankets and often resting their heads back. I remember looking at my mom and we both took a deep breath. In two days I would be sitting there. With an IV. With chemo flushing to my veins. My heart hurt and our fear was evident in our eyes. So why you may ask did that verse make me think of that day? Well the truth is, I cry knowing that in that day, when we walked into the infusion room God walked alongside us. That when I was afraid and when he had every power to change the story, he walked next to me. He never left my side and while I wish at times he would have just rewritten this part of my story, or changed the narrative. He didn’t. But he was there. With his hand on me.

Seven months ago, I had my last round of chemotherapy. My body as I have mentioned has been wrecked because of it. And it is hard. Somedays worse than others. I take a nap nearly every day. I sleep close to nine hours at night and my energy level starts to drop in the early afternoon. Many of you would say that that seems pretty normal given what I have been through. But for the go getter that I am. I absolutely stink at giving myself permission to rest. Naps I have always viewed as a sign of weakness. I was NEVER a napper. And guess what… not only do I nap now. My body craves a nap. My body needs a good nap.

Tomorrow I am flying to California for a work conference and then on to Cincinnati to celebrate Brittany Anderson’s Bachelorette Party. After a weekend in Cinci I will be in Louisville for twenty four hours before heading back to Denver. Then next Friday is my surgery. (Whew). I think I need a nap thinking about it all. I am excited but nervous. Afraid I will be tired. Afraid I won’t be able to keep up. But all in all reminding myself of grace. Granting myself grace for the moment and to only do what I can do.

Hope this find you well on your Monday.

Love Kristina

The picture below I took one day in the infusion room while I was receiving hydration. My body would get really cold so I always covered up with a lot of blankets.

Last Sunday, I completed my third half marathon race. While this race was not a personal record (I finished in 2:14 min), it was a special in that just seven months ago I completed my last round of chemotherapy. This was the second part to my “cancerversary” celebration. (The first one being Skydiving with my roommate two weeks ago). My body has changed and shifted so much in the past year so this was challenging in different ways honoring the journey with each step forward. I had the privilege to raise money for the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation. This foundation seeks to unlock the genetic code behind breast cancer and as a BRCA + woman this research is invaluable. I would like to say a special Thank you to all of you who donated. I was overwhelmed by the support and so excited to have raised over $1500.00 for the foundation.

For the half marathon race, I wore a shirt that I had made honoring each step of my breast cancer journey at each mile. It was encouraging to have others along the course come up alongside me to let them know they were reading my shirt and they were so impressed that I was running. It sure made the course a bit shorter. The icing on the cake was as I approached Mile 9 waiting for me was my Mom, Dad and Sister to cheer me on. My eyes were filled with water  as I ran up to them. It was the best part of the race!

My parents and family came to Denver for the weekend to be present when I shared my story on Thursday of last week, for the 2015 Karens for the Cure Fundraiser. I am working on getting the video of my speech from my aunt so you all can see. If you are interested in hearing I am happy to email you my reading as well.

Needless to say it was an eventful fun weekend with all of my aunts, uncle and family visiting.

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Medical Update: November 6  -I will have my first revision surgery to my breasts. As my implants have settled so has the shape. They are flat around the scars so by undergoing minor fat grating the doctor hopes to restore some of the shape and get me closer to a result that I can feel confident in. I am still struggling to look at them for too long and would much prefer covering up my scars. Prayers are appreciated as this surgery is to be pretty painful.

I recently came out of menopause and hope that as time passes my body will start to normalize itself a bit more. My weight continues to be above normal range and clothes are a constant struggle to fit. Again I have to take deep breaths to remind myself that my body has been through a lot. While the world is pushing diets, or fixes, or “X” number of day challenges, I am trying to trust my body by listening to it well. Feeding it well, resting it well, exercising and drinking a lot of water. Believe it or not your body craves and desires exactly what it needs, just so often we are not so good at listening to it. I know that in order for my hormones to balance the best fuel is rest, good nutrition and exercise.

Speaking of exercise I am looking forward to running shorter distances and begin swimming at the Masters team at my gym. Swimming was a big part of my life in the past so I am hoping to get back into it by joining the master team.

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I would also like to say a special thank you to Lori Knapke, my high school choir teacher who held a fundraiser with her students to raise money for Susan G. Komen of Kentucky. I was privileged to share my story with her class via FaceTime a week ago and encourage them in their fundraising goal. Their efforts raised almost $4,000 dollars. In addition to the fundraiser, they were invited to sing along with Rachel Platten and her song “Fight Song”. I encourage you to listen to their impressive rendition by clicking on the link here:

http://www.wdrb.com/story/30272383/eastern-high-students-to-perform-with-singer-rachel-platten-on-friday#.ViFpucgsNEY.facebook

Below are some pictures of the weekend with my family and my race finish! Thank you again!

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