Kristi Craig treats cancer with candor.
Kristi was doing a lot of physical work getting her house ready to sell. So when she felt pain, she didn’t know if it was muscle strain, or something worse.
Kristi’s mom had breast cancer at an early age, so Kristi has always been diligent about annual mammograms. When the pain persisted, she had an ultrasound, which found a mass. Further tests confirmed an aggressive cancer.
“I decided quickly that I wanted a double mastectomy, because my mom died of cancer at 65,” Kristi says. She was scheduled for surgery when Dr. Katya Ericson found a cancerous lymph node. That changed Kristi’s treatment plan: Chemo first, then surgery in 3-4 months. “That knocked the wind out of my sails a bit,” Kristi says.
She’s done four rounds of highly potent chemo and faces 12 rounds of milder chemo, then a mastectomy in winter and reconstructive surgery in spring.
Kristi keeps up her work schedule, with help from colleagues and managers. “I can’t afford to take time off,” she says. “I’m thankful I can work, and have the option to go home early when I can.”
She’s getting better at asking friends and family for help, too. And Kristi’s mischievous sense of humor and upbeat personality keep her going.
“When people 'look normal' you may forget the major struggle going on inside every hour, every day. I'm trying to make the best out of the hand I was dealt because that’s the only choice I have.”
“Push until you can’t push anymore. And be positive. Be thankful every day.”
“For as much as I hate cancer, it's keeping me grateful for what I have, bringing me closer to family and friends, and reminding me to quit worrying about trivial daily matters and concentrate on the value of life experiences and relationships. Really. What else is there?”
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