Join Y2 Yoga and Carolina Breast Friends in support of Kristin Strawhun, who has breast cancer (TEAM KRISTIN) for a special yoga class on Sunday, October 25th at 2pm.
Participants can take class in Studio, Virtual Live or Zoom.
Donation is $50 in studio and $20 for Virtual Live or Zoom
All proceeds will go to the Carolina Breast Friends of Charlotte.
$50 In-Studio Donation
$20 Virtual At-Home Donation
Hello, all! My name is Kristin, and I am a 43-year-old pulmonary and critical care physician – that basically means I work in an ICU. I am a daughter and a sister and an aunt. I am engaged to be married, and I have (don’t judge!) five dogs. It would be fair to say I am a dog lover, and have rescued five dogs and one cat so far – but I didn’t keep any of those!
I love to hike and one of my biggest accomplishments is hiking/backpacking to Havasu Falls, on the edge of the Grand Canyon. I also love to travel, and in fact I recently got engaged while on a trip to Oktoberfest in Germany. I have practiced medicine in south eastern Ireland and in western Kenya. Oh! And I once treated a woman with a heart attack on an airplane. Unfortunately, I did not get a free ticket out of that one.
I think like most people, I am well aware that cancer is kind of everywhere in our society. In fact, I may be more aware because in my role as a physician I frequently see people with both newly diagnosed cancer and people at the end of their life with cancer. I also know, due to all of the messaging in October every year, that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. It is, after all, the most common cancer in women aside from skin cancer.
But, I was only 42, with no family history, no risk factors, healthy and active. So I thought that breast cancer wasn’t really a big concern of mine. Plus I get annual mammograms. My last normal mammogram was in May 2019. And it was on May 17 of 2020 that I noticed a change in my right breast. I had a mammogram three days later and a diagnosis two days after that. I’m very lucky, it usually doesn’t happen that fast. On May 22 of 2020 I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, and aggressive type of cancer that has a higher mortality than other types. There are no words to explain how I felt over those few days – terrified, despondent, panicked are a few that come to mind.
For me, in addition to the waiting that comes with needing to get appointments and tests scheduled, the hardest part was telling my fiancé, my parents, and my sister about my diagnosis. My mom still doesn’t sleep well at night anymore because she worries about me.
But once you have a plan they say everything gets better. And they’re right. I have an excellent oncologist and have been enrolled in a phase 3 clinical trial in addition to receiving cutting-edge, standard of care. Both my surgeon and my oncologist are trying to cure me, something I did not think would be an option for me initially.
So the plan is chemo, then surgery, then radiation. I am almost finished with chemotherapy now and it has not been easy. A couple of times someone has pointed out how strong I am to be dealing with this. I assure you I am not strong and if I could have passed on this whole thing I would have. You just do what you have to do to survive, and hope that it works.
I am grateful for my amazing support network, a loving fiancé, a good strong and healthy body, and a good life.
But not everybody has the benefits that I have. Not everyone has the support network. Not everyone has an amazing job that lets them work from home. Not everyone has the financial flexibility to change their diet to one that will improve the chances of survival. And I think about those men and women almost every day, and what we as a society and I as an individual need to do to provide them with the same chance for a cure as I have.