Karen Hagrup

First post: Feb 4, 2022 Latest post: Jun 29, 2022
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. Thank you for visiting. If you need to reach out to someone directly, Karen's daughter Anna welcomes email at anna.d.hirsch@gmail.com.

4 February 2022
Dear Close Friends and Family,

We want to keep you updated on some important news in Karen's life. As you may now know, Karen is on a journey with breast cancer.

Karen is also turning 80 this year and able to look back on a life filled with experiences. This current moment and Karen's future are yet another set of experiences.

In Karen fashion, she is leaning in hard to this moment with curiosity, joy, care, and love for herself and for others.

Please know that Karen is surrounded by care. Her care team, which includes herself, is holding each other and all of us tight in our hearts. All together Karen's community is awake and present and wanting to connect at this time and season in life.

Medical Picture

In January of 2021, Karen went in for a routine mammogram. With further biopsies Karen received a cancer diagnosis. Karen began meeting with oncologist Dr. Nusayba Bagegni in February and shortly after started treatment. 

The diagnosis was triple negative metastatic breast cancer. Dr. Bagegni informed Karen and her life partner BJ that this diagnosis has no cure, but that measures could be taken for palliative care.

To begin, the treatment was immunotherapy and chemotherapy. Karen embarked on multiple cycles of treatment and multiple PET scans were done to track the progression of the cancer. Dr. Bagegni continuously reported back to Karen and BJ what else could be done to slow the cancer and keep Karen comfortable. Karen’s team was successful at slowing the cancer. 

Still in December that year, Karen began experiencing increased pain in her polio leg and right shoulder. The first diagnosis was arthritis. But after another scan, Karen was admitted to the hospital, received increased pain management treatment, and consulted with more oncologists and doctors. An additional treatment of radiation was scheduled and more scans of her neck, brain, and spine were planned.

In a humongous private room, in a new section of Barnes-Jewish Hospital on the 12th floor, with a large window facing north to witness the oncoming weather patterns and the city below, Karen was able to rest and continue her journey.

Personal Story

Over her lifetime, Karen’s world has been rich with meaningful new ways of thinking and exploring life within a rich community of close connections. The past year has been no different. She has been moving through her breast cancer journey in stride with her partner BJ, feeling mutually supported and co-creating care in their St. Louis condominium. She has been in conversation with her movement and polio friends, Larry and Carol, Joan, and David. She has been visited frequently by her daughters. Karen has also explored new foods for the first time in her life, adventured with new accommodations in her home and car, and saw the innovative Beyond Van Gough art show.

Simultaneously, Karen has continued to yearn for more connection with long-standing and enriching thought partners, friends, and family. She has gone through and continues to go through a range of emotions and major shifts in her identity and capacity to live with new challenges and new stages in life. And she has also had the very human experience of pain, fear, and grief jumbled in with curiosity, love, amusement, and wonder. 

She is continuing to hold a strong sense of humor and deep love for life. And she is also doing a great deal of work to accept care and care for others.

She has not stopped working on documenting her story at www.MeetMeInTheMargin.com (http://www.meetmeinthemargin.com) and welcomes you to keep visiting there and sharing your thoughts. It means a lot to her to know that she is part of movement work and making the world better.

How to Connect with Karen

Karen welcomes messages of support. Please put ALL of these messages on CaringBridge. Please also know that she is reading and seeing them all even when she can’t respond right away.

Please note, CaringBridge may request donations. These requests would be coming from CaringBridge, not from Karen. And these donations go to CaringBridge, not to Karen. BJ donates to CaringBridge yearly. CaringBridge is a great resource and we are excited if you choose to donate to them.