Day 526: The Last Night Before The Last Surgery

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00:27:09

July 8th, 2022

27 mins 9 secs

Season 1

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About this Episode

On the eve of the final reconstructive surgery, which coincides with the 1-year anniversary of her mastectomy, Kristen reflects on how far she’s come and how many things are different from what she expected.

Finally relenting to the damage in her feet, she applies for a handicapped placard and shares her relief over no longer having to schlep across enormous parking lots while protecting her chemo toe and tolerating persistent pain in her feet.

While looking forward to the final surgery and excited about the aesthetic part of the surgery, there’s a lingering sadness over how far she still has left to go to return to “normal.” The process of letting those expectations go continues to be a challenge, mixed with joy and gratitude for the good that has come with so much bad.

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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.

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.

PROUDLY MADE IN AUSTIN, TEXAS