Day 176: This Is Not The Outcome We Wanted


December 30th, 2021

32 mins 14 secs

Season 1

Your Hosts

About this Episode

Kristen goes into the operating room hopeful that this milestone is the end of her cancer, but wakes up ten hours later realizing the number of drains in her chest means the worst possible outcome.

The next morning she learns that 11 lymph nodes were removed for testing, which means it’s probably not over and she went through chemo for nothing. Communication missteps, pain control issues, and brain fog added to the challenges of the hospital stay.

While recovering and waiting two long weeks for those biopsy results, Kristen theorizes about what may have caused her cancer and discovers the bright side to chemo not working.


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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.

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.