May 2, 2023

Natasha Update: Out, Dang Port!

Natasha Update: Out, Dang Port!

Natasha’s port is out and is huge, resembling a miniature computer mouse. She still believes getting a port was the best decision she’s ever made and now that it’s gone, she can wear her old clothes again.

While she enjoys living alone and is back...

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Natasha’s port is out and is huge, resembling a miniature computer mouse. She still believes getting a port was the best decision she’s ever made and now that it’s gone, she can wear her old clothes again.

While she enjoys living alone and is back at work five days a week, advice from her oncologist has her rethinking her relationship with alcohol.

Fatigue sometimes holds her back, but she still makes the most of life knowing she’s not getting any younger and recurrence will happen someday. On a whim, she decides to take a trip to Saudi Arabia.

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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
Assistant Producer: Hannah Burkhart
Breast Cancer Stories is a production of The Axis.



Kristen (00:03):
I am Kristen Vengler, and our mission with this podcast is to help you and the people who love you through the shock of diagnosis and treatment.

Eva (00:11):
I am Eva Sheie and the incredible woman whose story you're about to hear is a nurse practitioner in San Francisco who has dedicated her life to caring for patients more vulnerable than you can imagine.

Kristen (00:22):
Her name is Natasha.

Kristen (00:25):
This Is a story about what happens when you have breast cancer told in real time.

Kristen (00:32):
So in reviewing, you're done.

Natasha (00:36):
I'm done.

Kristen (00:36):
Your'e Effing done <laugh>. Yeah. With the capital F, F, F.

Natasha (00:40):
For now. I mean, that's all I can say.

Kristen (00:45):
I hear you.

Natasha (00:45):

Kristen (00:46):
Tell me about that. When you say for now, because I remember that's what Dr. Rivera told me, like, you're cancer free until you're not. Right. And so there's a part of you that's still thinking a lot about it.

Natasha (01:01):
Yeah. I mean, I feel, I'm not obsessing about it, actually much less than I thought. I would be at some, you know, thinking of where I was this time last year, I was one miserable human being. Yeah. I was around about maybe cycle two then cycle two and three. I almost gave up. I couldn't,

Kristen (01:22):
I remember. I was was just thinking that when you said that because it's on my notes to ask about a year ago, because in my mind I was like, oh, that was right around three when she was, everything was upside, I mean, not that anything was right side up for the past year and two months, you know.

Natasha (01:43):
But there's, you know, partly because of the work I do, you know, I, you know, I'm a a palliative care nurse practitioner and a lot of my patients are oncology patients. And I will see patients, you know, and I of, I will always read the chart before I see a new patient and I'll see, you know, originally diagnosed 2011 with stage one h e r two positive cancer for remission. And it's recurred in 2023. And when I was having the sort of the final hugs from my oncologist and the nurse practitioners that I'd worked with, it was very interesting. The, the surgical nurse practitioner was like, you're done. You don't need me anymore. And chances of recurrence is really, really low. But the oncologist wasn't quite so really, really low, you know? She was like, this is the plan. This is how we monitor you.

Natasha (02:35):
And it was, it was very interesting because I, I sort of started asking some of the questions that I didn't ask at the beginning of like, what is the, you know, the risk of recurrence? You know? And she's like, well, you know, HER2 can be more aggressive. But you had a great response to treatment. And for those of you may be listening for the first time who haven't followed the full story. I was, by the time I got to, so I had chemo before surgery and by the time I got to surgery, there was no evidence of cancer in the lymph node or in the mass that was in my breast. Um, which was remarkable. So, yay for chemo. I mean, I know a lot of people think of it as poison and it's this terrible thing that we do to ourselves. And it's rough.

Natasha (03:17):
It's no picnic. But one of the new things that I now say to patients of mine who were worried about it, I can say, you know, when it works, it really works well. So my oncologist was like, I was like, so, you know what's, first of all, you know, here's my, like I'm getting my mammogram and follow up mammograms and you know, I brought up the fact that mine, like a lot of people, the tumor never ever showed up on a mammogram. And I said, really, I don't feel reassured by having repeat mammograms because it didn't show up in a mammogram. So they're actually agreeing to switch off mammogram/MRI. I

Kristen (03:57):
I love it.

Natasha (03:57):
Yeah. Which I'm really happy with. But then when I spoke to my oncologist, I said, you know, if this recurs, is it going to recur in the other breast? And she said, no, very unlikely it's going to recur in the bone or in the brain or somewhere else. So in a way,

Kristen (04:12):
Put it in the other breast <laugh>, keep it out of my bones, keep it out of my brain.

Natasha (04:16):
The mammogram and the, the, the MRI is that to make me feel better? Cuz it's not really gonna catch a recurrence.

Kristen (04:26):
Mm, it could. So your plan of care, what does that look like? Okay, so you said that your oncologist isn't as optimistic and

Natasha (04:37):
She wasn't pessimistic. She just wasn't as, she was much more realistic. She was like, it's a slim chance of recurrence, but I'm not going to say never, because if it were to recur, you would come back to me and be angry. And I, I accept that.

Kristen (04:53):

Natasha (04:54):
So my first mammogram is coming up, I think in April. It's coming up, no, may, mid-May. And then she wants an MRI three months after that. So I think we're doing a every three month,

Kristen (05:10):

Natasha (05:10):
Something. Yeah.

Kristen (05:13):
Well the mammogram. So they did a, for some reason. I'll tell you that a mammogram within implants is no fucking picnic.

Natasha (05:21):
Right. Oh. And I'm imagining a mammogram with a surgical boob is no picnic either. No. I mean, I can, no, it's been a long time and I still can't really sleep on my front.

Kristen (05:32):
Isn't that crazy?

Natasha (05:33):

Kristen (05:34):
Yeah. And it's from, is it from the scar?

Natasha (05:38):
Um, I think it's just from like somebody having their hands inside my boob and pulling pieces out. You know, it's, I mean it's still, you know, it's still a kind of lumping, strange looking thing. It's not a normal looking boob. You know, it had a mass taken out from it and a mass taken out from under my arm. And I think it's just, it's still, it's still healing. And you know, my oncologist was like, yeah, it can be a few years and it's still numb. I still have huge numb areas. which is, feels so strange when you run your fingers over a numb area, <laugh>, it feels very odd.

Kristen (06:11):
Totally <laugh>. Yeah. So do you see your radiation oncologist anymore?

Natasha (06:17):

Kristen (06:18):
Okay. Do you see your surgeon anymore?

Natasha (06:21):

Kristen (06:22):
So your only check is with your oncologist?

Natasha (06:28):
I think so. I mean, I'm assuming, I'm not sure. I mean, I know I have the imaging, but I don't know. That's a great question. I actually don't know. Yeah. I'll have to find out what my human follow up is. I was more thinking of the scans than the people.

Kristen (06:47):
Well, and because they do a, they do an exam each time.

Natasha (06:51):
Mm-hmm. <affirmative>

Kristen (06:52):
And, you know, push around and all that. Yeah. And they also ask, are you having this kind of pain? Are you having this issue, this issue, this issue? And then they'll do an analysis and say, you're very healthy and they'll look at blood work and all that. And so

Natasha (07:04):
The one thing that was interesting for me, so when I was talking with the, the oncologist, I was really curious if there's any real evidence that lifestyle changes can help with prevention. Like there's a lot of, you know, you can hear a lot of folk tales and a lot of sort of al alternative approaches. But I was like, you know, as a nurse scientist tell me what's out there. And the two things that she gave me, she's like, you really need to get more exercise in your life. And I said, well, you know what's like, what is exercise like, do I have to put on like spandex and run up? Like help me define it. Do I need to join a gym? Like, what are we talking about? And she's like, well, you probably get more exercise than you think you do because my, my job is pretty active. She's like, but you might have to start being really intentional about exercise. She's like, and we're not talking about weight loss. She's like, it's just there's something magical about exercise that we don't entirely understand. And then the second thing that she brought up, she's like, and there's, you know, the big link between breast cancer and alcohol. And she said, you know, it's like basically you should limit yourself to a maximum of three alcoholic drinks a week. And probably one of my post work cocktails has three shots in it.

Kristen (08:29):
Right <laugh>. Right.

Natasha (08:31):
So that's the one I took on. Exercise is a little harder cuz I'm still tired and I don't get home from work until, you know, six and I can make a million in excuses why not.

Kristen (08:40):

Natasha (08:40):
But you know, I, I knew there was a, there was a, a link with alcohol, but I have it broken down of like three drinks a week. Make that your maximum was, was kind of a, a wake up call. So I'm, I'm, I'm really working on that.

Kristen (08:59):
I think one of the things that you and I talked about was, um, oh, it was a, there was a test that you had done and it was about the glucose like they had put to see if the cancer cells swam toward the glucose and you think about alcohol, it's all sugar.

Natasha (09:15):
Well, so my oncologist actually broke it down differently rather than it being sugar. She said alcohol is poison, so why would you put that in your body? And it was, you know, she's like, think about what we use it for scientifically, if your hands are dirty, you use an alcohol. Like we clean things with alcohol swabs. I mean, it's not, obviously it's not the alcohol we're having in a glass of wine, but she's like, you know, that that stuff is really toxic. And I don't know, I, I'm not, I don't like the blaming ourselves for getting cancer.

Kristen (09:56):
I agree.

Natasha (09:56):
Yeah. At all. What I've been told is, you know, the, the what gives you breast cancer is having boobs. You know, <laugh>

Kristen (10:04):
Being born <laugh>,

Natasha (10:06):
There you go. Being born. Yeah. And, you know, it's, it's kind of, you know, it's a, it's a disease of aging, you know? I mean, some people are unfortunate to enough to get it very early, but a lot of us get it in our fifties. Yeah. You know, and genetically we all got eaten by wooly mammoths at 32, so,

Kristen (10:23):
Right. <laugh>,

Natasha (10:24):
You know. Right. <laugh>

Kristen (10:25):
So the cancer never showed up. <laugh>

Natasha (10:26):
Right. Exactly. Or there was no mammograms. I mean, I don't think my grandmother ever went for a mammogram. She wouldn't have shown her boobs to a stranger in a million years. <laugh>

Kristen (10:37):
That's amazing.

Natasha (10:37):
Let alone a self breast exam.

Kristen (10:39):
Right, right.

Natasha (10:40):
So, you know.

Kristen (10:41):
Well, and you know, with the alcohol piece, I think if people wanna drink, let 'em drink, you know?

Natasha (10:47):

Kristen (10:48):
I have a friend who had breast cancer twice and she drinks like a fish. And I'm fearful for her about it, you know, but I, what am I gonna say? Right. You know, it's not my, it's not my judgment to make. It's my choice personally. But I think that's so interesting. So like intentional exercise and, you know, I just kind of think of it as a movement.

Natasha (11:12):
Yeah. She was like, you don't have to pay $250 a month to Equinox and make your life miserable. But she's like, you know, walk to the shops rather than driving. If you have to drive park at the far end of the car park and walk further. She's like, just, you know, the 10,000 steps are kind of a bit of a marketing ploy. She's like, but, but set something intentional, which I thought was, was interesting.

Kristen (11:38):
What I, someone had told me was 30 minutes of movement, you know, aside from walking to and from brushing my teeth or the kitchen <laugh>. Right. 30 minutes of intentional movement per day. And that could be in five minute increments. It could be in 10 minute increments. It could be walking upstairs versus walking downstairs, versus an elevator. I'll take an elevator up and take them, take the stairs down. So have you been able to make those changes? Are you working on 'em or like,

Natasha (12:14):
I mean, I'm still sort of celebrating having finished, which for me, celebrating involves cocktails and wine. But it's, you know, somebody actually asked me at work the other day, if it recurred, would I do chemo again? And I I didn't have an immediate answer. I mean, yes, probably, of course I would. But, you know, just, I mean, when was my surgery? June? I mean, in a way like July. Yeah. I've almost been cancer free for almost a year, which is remarkable, you know, and as they said, you know, the, the recurrences are concerning in the first couple of years.

Kristen (12:51):
Yeah. Okay. So we've talked about, it's been like a year ago right now. You were in, you hadn't figured out, oh, I can go get like hydration, I can go, you know, you guys can change my meds.

Natasha (13:05):

Kristen (13:05):
For those of you who, who have not listened to all of Natasha's story, it is beautifully done by Natasha. Well documented, and I highly suggest it. But you would know that if you have, since, you know, there are those of you who've forgotten, she had the first, first few rounds just took her out and then finally she got some meds that, that put her in the right place and got some answers to, to some of the problems. And was a little, was able to be more knowledge, had the knowledge to be more proactive.

Natasha (13:40):
Yeah. I was being stubbornly independent and thinking I could manage everything myself as I lay

Kristen (13:46):
You were just blaiming everybody else girl. You just, you just took the hit. <laugh>

Natasha (13:49):
I know. As I lay in bed, getting sicker and sicker, probably closer and closer to some kind of kidney failure as I got more and more dehydrated and threw up more and lost more weight and slept more and ate less. And it was just, it was miserable. Um, so don't do that. <laugh> people in podcast world don't do that.

Kristen (14:06):
How's your weight?

Natasha (14:07):
So I have gained eight pounds, which is not quite as much as I wanted, but my, I'm pulling out my normal clothes again.

Kristen (14:14):

Natasha (14:15):
Which is great. Yeah. And I, I feel like I don't look quite so disgusting as I did.

Kristen (14:20):
You look good.

Natasha (14:21):
Thank you. I feel great. I'm, I'm tired though. I'm still very tired. Yeah. And I, I actually just finished my infusions four weeks ago, so I had the port out really quite quickly after the infusion.

Kristen (14:43):
Yeah. That's a question that I had is that, was there a reason that they waited at all after the infusion to take it off and take it out? Excuse me? Because when you said you were having your port taken out, I was like, wait a minute. She finished that a few weeks ago and my brain was like, why wouldn't they have just taken it out like that day, the next day?

Natasha (15:06):
So I think there were two reasons. First was probably scheduling, but secondly the two hormone blockers that I was getting can, they never did with me, but can impact your platelet count, which means that you're at higher risk of bleeding. And so they actually wanted to wait 30 days until after the last chemo. And mine was 28 days. And, and they still did a, a blood draw to check if my platelets were strong, if I had enough platelets for clotting.

Kristen (15:34):
Totally makes sense.

Natasha (15:34):

Kristen (15:35):
Okay. So that, that answers that question.

Natasha (15:40):
But, you know, I'd sort of got into a habit of, you know, going to bed really quite early, like seven and eight o'clock. But I just gave myself permission. I'm like, who cares? You know, it's like rather that than like tearing up the bars until 3:00 AM That's probably <laugh>. You know, and it's sort of, it's interesting, my, I could sleep for England as we say. Like I'm, I love sleeping, but now it's like my life is kind of switched to being a much more of an early morning person, which if family's listening yet that has actually happened. You know, it's like I'd rather go to bed early and get up early. It's a change that's happened. And I,

Kristen (16:15):
I've noticed that, that I've still about kind of a year ahead of you differently, you know, and I've, I've noticed that I would say five out of seven nights I'm asleep before nine, in bed much earlier. Did you end up getting another roommate?

Natasha (16:33):
No, I've been enjoying living alone and I'm having a remodeled job done on my bathroom. And the parents of a friend of mine who just had a baby, her parents came to stay. So I've had people around, but I might, you know, when I get back from my trip, we'll see, I just,

Kristen (16:49):
I was just curious.

Natasha (16:50):
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Kristen (16:51):
So I'm glad you're remodeling your bathroom. That's amazing.

Natasha (16:53):

Kristen (16:54):
<laugh>. That's awesome. Is that the one that had the broken sink?

Natasha (16:57):

Kristen (16:58):
Okay, good. Okay. <laugh>, because I know we were talked about you possibly selling it just so you didn't have to have it fixed.

Natasha (17:02):

Kristen (17:03):
So I'm glad that's included in the plan.

Natasha (17:05):
Yeah. Yeah.

Kristen (17:07):
Talk to me about work. How's that going? Is it

Natasha (17:10):
Work is ,work's good. I mean, I'm now, you know, I'm back full five days a week. I'm not sort of taking time off for, I mean they were so understanding with me of like mid chemo. I would sometimes take a day off or, you know, they're always like, if you just don't feel up to it, just don't come in. And you know, I'm, I have some great people I work with and it, you know, sort of, for example, I took all day yesterday off when I got my port removed, even though I didn't really need to, but I just thought I'd spoil myself with a day off. And when I got in today at work, there was a cake on my desk and a big sign saying Welcome to the Portless Party or something <laugh>. And somebody actually putting on a little post-it, you know, orthodox I work with saying, um, this makes it real. And I thought that was really understanding.

Kristen (18:01):
So do you feel like everything's finished or has it set in yet that you're kind of done and you don't have to go next month?

Natasha (18:11):
No it hasn't. No, not yet. Because really it's only been, you know, I mean it was three, four weeks ago. I had my last infusion yesterday I had my port removed. I'm still actually meeting with the psychiatry oncologist. Which has been helpful.

Kristen (18:31):
Well that's good.

Natasha (18:32):
Yeah. So I, you know, it's like, and now it's, I think it, it will have to end at a certain point cuz some my issues have less to do with my diagnosis and more to do with like, everyday life and stressors. And it's um, you know, I don't think that's what they get paid for. But he's been a, he's been an interesting sort of checkpoint cuz my sort of depression around my diagnosis just took me to bed for weeks and weeks on end. And so he's my, you know, he's my checkpoint of like, really how much are you sleeping? It's like when you go to bed at seven, is it because you're tired or because you're avoiding reality? You know? And I think it's been a mixture of both. But now I think it's because I wake up at six, so, you know, it's, and it's nice to be in bed when it's all snuggly with the cat and,

Kristen (19:21):
Well, heck yeah. And it's been cold and it's been, the rain has been a little much.

Natasha (19:25):
Yeah, it has. I mean, we've had the worst weather. Yes.

Kristen (19:30):
Okay. So I don't even wanna ask this question.

Natasha (19:35):
Go on, do it.

Kristen (19:36):
There's two, but I'm not gonna ask about the guys. It's like, I don't know why I'm emotional about asking this question. What have you learned the past year? I, I have shivers right now. No, I know because like, I don't wanna ask that question because if somebody asked me that, I would've just broken down and I don't wanna put you in that position, but I'm gonna ask it.

Natasha (20:02):
I mean, I think I still, up until my diagnosis and even maybe even still now, had the childlike, rather than saying childish, like feeling that I was different than everybody else. That I was somehow immortal and invincible. And this was stuff that happened to other people, you know. And as you know, in the space of 18 months, I lost a 25 year of marriage and I got cancer. And I've realized that like life is, is a really incredible gift. And it's going to come to an end because just as you were talking just now, like I think I, my relationship, like, I can't believe I'm about to say this, but I do think this, and this is almost like season three. Natasha just opens it up. But I feel like this cancer will end my life. I expect it will recur. I'm not spending hours awake worrying about it. I just, like, I expect it will probably in my mid seventies and, and I want to be okay with the life I've lived when that happens. And I don't know, I mean the trip I'm doing next week is I'm going to Saudi Arabia.

Kristen (21:35):
I know <laugh> <laugh>, I'm like girl <laugh>, I think of Bali girl. I mean,

Natasha (21:42):
I know. And it's, it's a place I've wanted to go for decades. I have a thing from the Middle East. It's gonna be the weirdest place I've ever been. There's a lots of reasons why we probably shouldn't support tourism in Saudi, but the fact that they've even opened the country up to tourism to me is a huge change. It's very expensive. The flight's expensive, everything. But I was just like, I don't care. Like if I, you know, I'm not getting younger and I'm probably not gonna get much healthier. I mean, I'd like to be less tired. English people are weird. Like as a kid, if I got a chocolate Easter egg or an Easter bunny or an Easter rabbit, I would, no day would be special enough for me to eat that thing. So I would leave it on my shelf for years until it was white and moldy and get thrown away because it was such a special thing. I have, you know, I have shoes that I absolutely adore that there's never been a special enough occasion to wear them. And I want to stop that. Like I want to, I want to wear them,

Kristen (22:51):
Today's a good day to do it. Right.

Natasha (22:53):
Even if I'm doing gardening and you know,

Kristen (22:55):
It's like those dilemmas.

Natasha (22:57):
Not quite <laugh>, but you know, it's like there's, don't wait for the special moment to do special things, I think is what I've learned. You know, I was, it's huge, you know, the type of person, like I never used my vacation time at work because nothing was special enough to take those precious days. I'm taking two weeks and I'm so happy about it. So

Kristen (23:22):
It was a surprise that your marriage ended, but that there were issues. You know, the, and it just guys kind of, you guys just kind of cruise through 'em, right?

Natasha (23:30):

Kristen (23:31):
Do you feel like you are able to live your best life now the way you want to because you don't have that? Or do you feel like maybe you were already doing it? I mean, I don't, I dunno, how to ask that the right way.

Natasha (23:45):
I mean, no, I mean it, I get dangerously hooked on Netflix, reality dating shows, <laugh>, which talk about how you're not complete without another human being in your life. And I can believe that crap for a while. But nights like tonight where, you know, I came home from work, the pets are here, and being adorable. The cat's sitting there waiting for food, you know, I'm gonna order some sushi, watch a movie, go to bed when I want. I feel like I don't buy the, I'm incomplete as a single woman. Um, like who else is gonna go to Saudi with me for two weeks? <laugh> Like, no, nobody like, you know, the first question, everybody else is like, why my fatigue level is still keeping me from living the best life, but I'm gonna get there.

Kristen (24:41):
Yeah. And I don't even mean like best, but I mean like a better, no, like

Natasha (24:45):
There's more integrity.

Kristen (24:47):
 Yeah, well and on your terms.

Natasha (24:49):
Right. And I'm not compromising. I mean, it sounds selfish and maybe it is, but I don't care. Like if I can't be selfish living alone, then it's kind of stupid. Yeah. I mean like, I'm spending money on having the bathroom redone in the middle of going to Saudi, you know, in the middle of, and it's like, and I, I don't care.

Kristen (25:09):
You can't take it with you.

Natasha (25:10):
No. And it's a little tiny bathroom and it started off, yes, the sink blocked and I thought I would have to sell the house <laugh>. Then I, I wear contacts and I had an eye exam and they told me my contacts were dirty and they said, how much do you wash your hands before you put your contacts in? And I was like, actually I have a hot tap and a cold tap in my bedroom bathroom sink. And it's, there's no mixing so it's either freezing cold or scolding hot. So it's really hard to wash my hands properly. So it started with a conversation with somebody about switching the, the tap out to have a mixer tap to now the bathroom is down to wooden, whatever it's called, the studs. And there's no ceiling and there's no bath and there's no toilet and there's no sink and there's no nothing cuz it's all brand new. And it's, you know, along with my sort of, you know, middle East passion, it's gonna be mosaic and a travertine sink and it's a tiny little bathroom and, but it's my bathroom.

Kristen (26:07):
Right. Yeah. I love it. You should do it the way that you wanna, that you wanna do it.

Natasha (26:13):
Yeah. And I think that kind of started off with getting this monstrous dog that, you know, if I was still married, I, you know, I wanted a dog throughout my marriage and I was told no. And so the first thing I do, I get diagnosed with cancer and go and get 110 pound dog. And it's also what's interesting, it's forcing me to ask to, to know what I don't know and ask for help, which I've never done in the past. And like, I'm sort of talking more practical help. Like, we've had, like you were mentioning this unbelievable weather winds that were just like trees blowing here, there and everywhere. Something random blew off the roof. I've no idea what it is. It's a piece of metal, you know. And I got very nervous through those storms that something tragic would happen to the house. Like a tree would come crashing through the window. And you know, I talked to another friend who's a homeowner and she's like, if that happens, people can fix things for you. Right. You know, you don't have to sell the house when the sink blocks <laugh>. You know, there's a whole slew of people who can fix things.

Kristen (27:10):
I'd totally be there with you though.

Natasha (27:11):
You know, and it's, yes, I'm talking practical, but I'm also talking emotional. Like now I'm, I feel okay saying to people, thank you for the party invitation, but I'm, and I'll, you know, I love you, but I'm not coming to your party tonight cuz I just don't wanna be with a big group of drunk couples. You know, and Yeah. Or you know, on the flip side, just saying to people like, my dad's not doing too well right now. And just sort of reaching out and saying, Hey, I need, I don't wanna be on my own tonight.

Kristen (27:40):
Yeah, perfect.

Natasha (27:41):
And that's new because you don't have to do that when you have a partner because they're supposed to be there and

Kristen (27:48):
Well, you know, I'm always here.

Natasha (27:50):
Yeah. Do you wanna come to Saudi <laugh>?

Kristen (27:54):
Sure. <laugh>. I can't take the time off actually.

Natasha (27:58):

Kristen (27:59):
I, no, I actually am. I would totally come with you. If I had time to do it, I totally would do it.

Natasha (28:05):
You know, it, it's a gift to myself for getting through. I turned 60 this year. I didn't die of cancer.

Kristen (28:12):
I know. I'm just, I'm super proud of you. And I, I feel like, I don't know, I feel like a mom or something like that, but I just like, you're still standing. You know, and you're done.

Natasha (28:24):

Kristen (28:25):
Did they at least have a bell for you?

Natasha (28:28):
No. <laugh>. No, I just walked off. I told the, you know, the nurse who was giving me the chemo, I was like, well that's, this is my last one. She's like, oh, congratulations. But there was nothing.

Kristen (28:39):
Hang on a second. Hang on.

Natasha (28:44):
Aww. We're gonna end this one in tears. I think. <laugh>,

Kristen (28:47):
I've got a bell. I should send you one and you should ring it.

Natasha (28:59):
Oh, thank you.

Kristen (29:00):
So this is Natasha finishing everything. I love you so much.

Eva (29:11):
Thank you for listening to Breast Cancer Stories, to continue telling this story and helping others. We need your help. All podcasts require resources and we have a team of people who produce it. There's costs involved and it takes time.

Kristen (29:26):
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Eva (29:41):
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Kristen (29:50):
You'll get notes and thoughts from me related to each episode, and links to the most useful resources for all the breast cancer things. So if you have chemo brain, you'll be able to just go read your email, find anything we talked about on the podcast without having to remember it.

Eva (30:04):
The link to sign up is in your show notes and on the newsletter page at breast cancer stories

Kristen (30:10):
We promise not to annoy you with too many emails.

Eva (30:15):
Thanks for listening to Breast Cancer Stories. If you're facing a breast cancer diagnosis and you want to tell your story on the podcast, send an email to I'm Eva Sheie, your host and executive producer. Production support for the show comes from Mary Ellen Clarkson and our engineer is Daniel Croeser. Breast Cancer Stories is a production of The Axis, the