Day 175: Healthcare Nonsense and Red Tape


December 1st, 2022

42 mins 4 secs

Season 2

Your Hosts

About this Episode

Natasha is given three options for radiation treatment, but it’s a challenge since everyone has been making decisions for her up to this point. She decides on three and a half weeks of radiation to the breast and the lymph nodes in the armpit.

Down to just 104 pounds, she feels like a scarecrow in her clothes. Hoping to gain 10 pounds by the end of the hormone blocker infusions, she finds high calorie meals, drinks shakes with over 500 calories, and chooses “Pepsi heavy” instead of diet.

Now back to work with a new perspective, she feels guilty about getting upset over her own infusions when some of her patients are on chemo for life and frustrated with the stupidity of the disconnected healthcare system.


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About Breast Cancer Stories

Breast Cancer Stories follows Natasha Curry, a palliative care nurse practitioner at San Francisco General Hospital, through her experience of going from being a nurse to a patient after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Natasha was in Malawi on a Doctors Without Borders mission in 2021 when her husband of 25 years announced in a text message that he was leaving. She returned home, fell into bed for a few weeks, and eventually pulled herself together and went back to work. A few months later when she discovered an almond-sized lump in her armpit, she did everything she tells her patients not to do and dismissed it, or wrote it off as a “fat lump."

Months went by before Natasha finally got a mammogram, but radiology saw nothing in either breast. It was the armpit lump that caught their attention. Next step was an ultrasound, where the lump was clearly visible. One painful biopsy later, Natasha found out she had cancer; in one life-changing moment, the nurse became the patient.

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.