Day 301: Another Day in the Valley


February 17th, 2022

22 mins 48 secs

Season 1

Your Hosts

About this Episode

Two months after radiation, Kristen’s chest isn’t looking like such a hot mess anymore. But in mental health terms, we’re in the valley now and nobody knows how deep or wide that valley will be.

Kristen learns the hard way what happens if she misses a dose or two of her hormone blockers, and explains what her physical therapist is doing to prevent lymphedema.

We wonder about past decisions like using birth control pills and estradiol patches and theorize about whether some dumb lifestyle choices combined with the traumatic events of 3-4 years ago caused her breast cancer.

The only shoe that gave me relief from pain, these cushy Oofos slides

Stepping on this Sunbeam heating pad was heaven in the morning

Plugging the drain and soaking my feet in Epsom salts while I showered morning and night


Support the Breast Cancer Stories podcast

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.

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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.