Day 198: Why I Decided to Have Radiation


January 13th, 2022

38 mins 41 secs

Season 1

Your Hosts

About this Episode

Weary and desperate for a break in the relentlessness of breast cancer treatment, Kristen makes the decision whether or not to proceed with radiation.

While the medical team followed a tight protocol during chemo and surgery, suddenly now to receive advice, statistics, or data she has to ask the right person and the right questions to inform her next steps.

Kristen describes the first radiation appointment, which is not a treatment but a team of “nerds” including a physicist who painstakingly measure and permanently mark her body with tiny dot tattoos. Like the laser dance scene from Oceans Twelve, the tattoos ensure the laser beam never misses its mark and only hits the cancer but can’t avoid the bones beneath, which might randomly also cause a broken rib someday.


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Miaderm used in the morning and after radiation treatments.

Aquaphor used at night.

My favorite tank tops.

My favorite bra.

How I stayed hydrated.

Meet Kristen’s doctors: surgical oncologist Dr. Louis Rivera, hematologist and oncologist Dr. Sonia Ali, plastic surgeon Dr. Salvatore Pacella, and radiation oncologists Dr. Anuradha Koka and Dr. Kenneth T. Shimizu.

About Breast Cancer Stories

Breast Cancer Stories follows Kristen Vengler, a 56 year old single empty nester in San Diego, from her diagnosis of hormone positive breast cancer through chemotherapy, mastectomy & breast reconstruction, radiation, and whatever happens after that.

In 2020, Kristen moved from Austin to San Diego to be near family and start her life over after a life-shattering workplace trauma. A few months later she had that terrifying moment in the shower we all hope we never have.

From her breast cancer diagnosis, through chemotherapy, breast reconstruction, and radiation, we experience each new milestone as it happens. This podcast is about what happens when you have breast cancer, told in real time.

Support the show by sharing online, writing a review, or donating at

Host and Executive Producer: Eva Sheie
Co-Host: Kristen Vengler
Editor and Audio Engineer: Daniel Croeser
Theme Music: Them Highs and Lows, Bird of Figment
Production Assistant: Mary Ellen Clarkson
Cover Art Designer: Shawn Hiatt

Breast Cancer Stories is a production of The Axis.