My crazy journey started on Monday, January 5th 2009. I went to the ER that morning after my husband Shaun dropped off our 2 boys at school!!! Needless to say, I knew what was about to transpire and my poor Shaun didn’t have a clue!!! We got to the hospital and got back into a room and everything was out in the open there!!! We were told that I had breast cancer…stage 4 and it didn’t look good!!! By that time, my parents had come along with my in laws and a few close family friends. It was the ABSOLUTE worst day of my life!!! At that point life seemed very very grim… there were lots of tests being ordered, doctors coming in and out and I had a biopsy taken too!! As the day went on, I was admitted into the hospital and I met my oncologist, Dr. Ellen Gustafson. She is still my oncologist today!!! She patiently sat with me at my bedside and told me that my attitude is 90% of the problem and she was to worry about the other 10% she would fix. So the fight was on… l had and still has the BEST support system EVER!!! As it went… I was in the hospital from Monday till Thursday where I received my first round of chemo and lots of tests and scans!!!
As we barreled through a lot of information.. .tests, scans, treatment I knew and still know that it takes a village and I had everyone behind me including my family who I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for them!!!!! We were all in TEAM KRIS mode and that still holds true today!!! I continued with my treatments and went through my first set of surgeries. I was a wreck with the surgeries because I was the one that was NEVER sick EVER!!! I was blessed with awesome doctors and my results with the surgeries were very positive. Chemo was working and I was having a great response!!! Believe me chemo was not easy and I got every side effect that I could but now looking back 5 1/2 years back, I did it one day at a time!!! I went through a double mastectomy and started reconstruction which didn’t go as smoothly as we hoped…. we had bumps in the road with infections and having to go back in and replace ex panders and start over but I was in great hands I did what I had to do!!! I also knew at this point that my breast cancer was gone, the chemo worked!!! I went through radiation. Doctor got expander back in and we were on a good road!!!! I’ve done well after all of the fills, the drains the appointments and we finally made through reconstruction!!!
I went through pet scans to make sure everything was on track and one of the pet scans showed an area of disease in my mediastinum. Where is that and now what????? I have to say through all of this…l have become a stronger person than I ever thought I was!!!! Well this meant surgery and some pinpoint radiation after to eradicate this little mediastinum node!!! Went through it, not easy, doable and got it!!!! Again with all of great doctors behind me and family and my awesome friends we got through it!!!!!
I went through hormone therapy for a while and we found that therapy wasn’t working for me. Of course because I’m not that “normal” patient and I like go about things the harder way!!! Oh well….here we go again!!! So not knowing at the time more surgeries were on the horizon for me….. l have had 12 surgeries so far to date some more “pleasurable” than others but I’ve done it and I look back and say I would do it all over again if that’s what I needed to do!!!! Again I could net have done all of this without the support, love and many prayers, near and far, from everyone….the Inwood Athletic Club, my family and friends, my doctors who aren’t just doctors but friends to me too!!!!
Recently I had the reoccurrences…my disease has gone into the lining of my left lung and into my left hip and we have managed that through chemotherapy. My doctors have found that my breast cancer responds very well to chemotherapy so chemotherapy it is!!! See I’m not that “normal” patient!!! The fight continues and I continue to do what I need to do!!! I have a life to lead and 2 growing boys to raise…. I live one day at a time with the unending of love of my family and my friends!! I don’t know where I would be without each and every one of them!!!
To end this…l ask for your prayers as I continue this crazy journey and hove another little bump in the road.. l am currently going through whole brain radiation because there was some disease found on my brain… ughhh!!! I can’t believe it??? But all will be good and my prognosis is good and as always I’m in great hands and will fight this just like all the others!!!!!! It is breast cancer that went to the brain and when radiation is over I will continue chemotherapy because from my neck down, I am 94% clean!!!!!!! Hooray!!!!!!!! So that is my story…..I got this and continue to what I love to doll! I am a group exercise instructor at the Inwood Athletic Club and have worked out and taught through EVERYTHING!!!!!! That has made the most difference for me!!!!!!! GO TEAM KRISIIIII
Last year I was blessed to be visited by the Joliet Area Pink Heals Chapter!!! One of the most amazing days of my life!!! I have never felt much love and support from so many people that did not even know me!!!! That meant the world to me and I was treated like a queen!!! It was truly one of the most special days of my life!!! I loved all the hugs and encouragement, the signing of the pint fire truck, the fun pies to follow with everyone!!!!! LOVE!!!!!!!
Our “QUEEN” of Pink Heals Joliet Area Chapter, Kris, passed away at the young age of 46, on March 4, 2015. Her beautiful smile, amazing attitude and loving spirit will live on forever.